Montreat Youth Conference – Day 4

Montreat Youth Conference – Day 4

 

Today was our free afternoon, but not before we enjoyed keynote and small groups.  Talking with the young people about what they enjoyed during the day, many pointed to time with their small groups and even the keynote and worship service.

 

During worship, the preacher made a good point that we need to own our stories and know our stories.  How did we get here in our lives?  What choices did we make to get us to this point?  We need to own up to our mistakes and celebrate our successes.

 

During the afternoon, we were joined by four Montreat Alumni and they helped us as we purchased items for our Thrift Store Throw Down.  Each youth purchased an item of clothing for someone else and that person should wear it on Friday.  This is always a wonderful way to bring our group closer together with laughter!

Montreat Youth Conference – Day 3

Montreat Youth Conference – Day 3

 

This was our second full day and it did not disappoint!  Our morning began with the standard energizers, singing, and then we had a wonderful keynote.  During the keynote, they showed different videos and talked about different voices, including those we disagree with.  One video showed events from Charlottesville, VA in the wake of the protests last year.  The video showed white supremacists carrying torches and chanting and then the next clip showed clergy from different denominations the next morning linked in arms and praying for peace, even while some of the people from the previous night hurled insults at them.

 

Small group was another high point for many of our youth, as they enjoyed the discussions and debates they had about various Scripture passages.

 

During our back home time, we had lively discussions about how our faith should influence our political decisions.  Everyone seemed to really get into the discussion, sharing their views and listening to other people’s opinions.  It was one of my personal highlights of the day.  That and seeing a bear right outside the house I am staying in.  I was walking back from lunch at the other house and the bear was sitting next to the trail and we just stared at each other for a bit before he scurried off into the woods.  My heart was definitely working well at that point!

 

All of our students and adults are having a great time at Montreat, stretching their faith and asking questions.  I am proud of our group and glad Sardis supports this opportunity for our young people to attend this life changing conference!

 

— Adrian Martin

Montreat Youth Conference – Day 2

Montreat Youth Conference – Day 2

 

The first full day at Montreat is complete this year!  In the morning, we usually begin with energizers, a dance type activity set to a popular song.  The recreation leaders did a great job explaining why we do energizers: it is a way to break down walls around each of us as we look silly together.  They do not require any skills or dance moves and everyone can participate.  We are one in the Body of Christ!

 

Today’s theme was Lifting God’s Voice, and we focused on two Scripture passages.  The first was from Luke and it was about Jesus coming home to Nazareth to preach and at first, receiving a great welcome because he was the home town hero.  After he spoke in the temple and told them they will not receive any special treatment, they wanted to throw Jesus off the side of a cliff (Luke 4:16-30).

 

The second passage that we discussed was the valley of dry bones from Ezekiel.  We discussed how we need the Breath of God to fill us to become truly alive.

 

In our back home group, everyone shared something that has meant a lot to them that happened in the day and a lot of people shared how they high for the day was their small group, which is a huge part of the conference.

 

We are excited to be here and ready to face tomorrow and learn how we can continue to lift every voice!

 

 

Montreat Youth Conference – Day 1

Montreat Youth Conference – Day 1

 

It is always great to drive through the gate into Montreat!  It feels like I am coming home, having spent more hears in my life attending a Montreat conference than not.

 

Today, we brought 25 youth and several adults to spend a week at the conference, growing in our faith and learning what it means to “Life Every Voice.”  Does that mean I need to life the voice of the person I disagree with?  What about the loud jerk a couple desks over from me?  What about the racist?  What about those who are powerless to life their own voices?

 

This week, we will explore all of this and more.  Tonight, as the first part of the conference, we were introduced to all of the leadership and heard their plan for the week.  I am excited to be on this journey with these amazing young people.

 

Please pray for us that we are open to the message that will be delivered to us.  Pray that we have the courage to lift our own voices.  Pray for the leadership as they embark on this wonderful week God has laid out for us!

Charlotte Mission Adventure – Day 2

Charlotte Mission Adventure – Day 2

 

In case you did not know this, it was hot out there today.  I mean, really hot.  Really, really hot.

 

We began our day picking up trash at James Boyce Park and we were joined by our Senior Pastor Joe B. Martin.  It was great to serve side by side with middle school students and our pastor!

 

After a brief lunch, we traveled to Rama Road Elementary School to help make the campus a better and more welcoming place for the students.  We painted some benches and did some weeding and yard work.  That’s when we realized how hot is actually was out there!

 

I am very proud of our middle school students for the work they are doing.  Even though it was hot, they kept going.  Even though everyone just wanted to sit in the shade and pretend we were not on a mission trip, they kept doing the work that was asked of them.

 

In the evening, we played laser tag, where we learned one of our girls is a sharp shooter.  We had a good devotion about helping the “least of these” and then thankfully, off to bed.

 

Tomorrow is our last day of our Charlotte Mission Adventure.  And it looks like it might be another hot one out there!

MS Charlotte Mission Adventure — Day 1

Middle School Charlotte Mission Adventure – Day 1

 

Boy, sometimes I forget how much energy middle school students have!  They came in this morning bouncing around and ready for a good time!  We tried to funnel that energy into a wonderful project at the Nature Museum at Discovery Point and they did a great job!  We spread mulch, raked leaves, removed old timber, hammered rebar nails into the ground if we could not pull them out, set stumps in the ground as an obstacle course for smaller children, and helped create a sand pit.  All this in a three hour window!  They were awesome!  Fourteen youth made the jobs go easy and quick!

 

We then spent the afternoon cleaning out the stream that the Youth Ministry has adopted along Sardis Road.  Our section begins at the greenway and runs parallel to Sardis Road and we stopped at Sardis Road North with six full trash bags.  It is unfortunate what people are throwing away but I am proud of our young people for walking in the water to clean it all up!

 

We had a pizza dinner (it is a youth ministry event, after all!) and then traveled to David Abercrombie’s home for the last Slip and Slide!  Those that had never done it had a blast and those that knew what to expect helped everyone enjoy it more!  After the energy finally ran out of the middle school students, we returned to the church for a devotion about God’s creation before heading to bed.

 

Please be in prayer for us as we continue to work in Charlotte, making a difference right here at home!

St. Louis Mission Trip — Day 7

Today was one of my favorite days of the trip. We started by going to a food pantry and there was an efficient assembly line and I put rice in the boxes. It was kind of fun. They were playing some good tunes and we were dancing. After lunch we went to another center which was to help people of all ages in that community that are in poverty. I worked with elementary schoolers in a literacy based summer camp and it was really fun. We put roller skates and helped the children ride around. The kids loved us and I enjoyed spending time with them. We also scooped ice-cream and toppings for the kids. It was a change of pace for the kids not asking for a generous amount of a certain topping, we had limited supplies and they rarely complained when I sprinkled a little spoonful of Oreos. We went to the zoo after that and we saw so many cool animals. It was sad though because many of the animals were cooped up. We came back to the house for the dinner and had a really fun dance party with s’mores. The day as a whole was very rewarding and fun.

–Gracie Bartel