David McClean guides us expertly through the events of Wednesday. We talked about acceptance today, and reinforced it with a lads and girls night, with pampering and football for them both. We spent the earlier part of the day at the swimming pool.
Please keep us in your prayers, especially that the week continues to get better and better and we can really impact the lives of these kids with our friendship and more importantly the Good News of Jesus.
It's Eleanor's turn to fill us in on what's been happening today. Our session was about the choices we make - how we have the control to make positive choices, even in bad situations. We watched the clip of Derek Redmond at the 1992 Olympics, and how when he made the hard,choice to carry on, when he could have given up - his father came on the track to ensure he finished the race...
We also did a 'lottery' game where one person won a prize, but then the reality was everyone won - reminding us of the fact, that when we choose to follow God, there is no lottery over whether He accepts us or not!
Today Rebecca leads us through the days activities, which cover more preparation for the children arriving tomorrow. Today was a good day as we got to run through the program, get familiar with the activities and resources and tweak what needed done.
Watch the video below to get a sense of how it all went, and remember to keep us in your prayers, specifically for:
The kids safe arrival
For them to settle in quickly
A smooth start to the program
And that they all make friends with each other as they are from different children's homes.
Today the team ended up in Hlisnko, Czech Republic via terminal 2 in Dublin from our starting point in Londonderry! We started at 5am, and now we are all settling down to bed for the night at 9.30pm local time. We are one hour ahead.
Mellissa Andrews has vlogged (video logged) for us tonight and gives us a little overview of what has gone on, and what you can pray for! Take a look here:
Tonight as I lie on my couch watching TV, thinking about my day, I think I have been fairly productive. I went to New Horizon this morning, then into the office, worked on some stuff for a youth week I am speaking at next week. I got home about 9.30pm and then finished a room I had been painting, got the furniture in and sorted - looked good. I stuck some chips in the oven, ate my tea and then lay on the couch till now. It's currently about 2am.
However, all throughout today I kept thinking about the Christians in Iraq who are facing untold persecution because the refuse to convert to Islam. I can not imagine the fear they have, or what they are going through. They are showing people like me what it truly costs to follow Christ. As I preoccupy myself with trying to get the best clips for my talk next week, and convince myself this is cutting edge Christian leadership - I am reminded just what the frontline of Christian living looks like.
I believe my Bible, and I believe it when it tells me that God is near those who suffer for the sake of being called a Christian.
[quote align="center" color="#999999"]14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. (...) 16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.1 Peter 4[/quote]
Tonight we Christians should be praying for our brothers and sisters and this Sunday in church every congregation should be praying for these Christians in their intercessions. I would seriously encourage you to ask your minister to add them to the prayers on the way into church on Sunday.
It is our burden as fellow Christians to remember those who face persecution for the sake of Christ, but here's the thing, and I can't be the only one thinking it: While I know God's heart is inclined towards His suffering people in Iraq, I do find myself wondering what He thinks about the people of Palestine in Gaza.
I may be simple on this issue - I have no political tendencies here, but I figure my job on earth is clear. It's to love the oppressed, the poor, the widows, the homeless and orphans (James 1.27). Not because of who they are - but because this is Christ at work in me, through me. What He does in them, with them, through them is up to Him.
I believe there is a Biblical imperative upon Christians to help our brothers and sisters in the faith first (Acts 6) - but then we must also help others, no matter who they are - remember the parable of the good Samaritan? (Luke 10.25) Our help may result in them turning to Christ, it may not - but that is not our battle to fight - that is never our battle to fight. Ours is to love, respond practically, bring healing where we can, speak light into darkness, commit to prayer, give financially - in other words clear the way for the Holy Spirit to do His work. That is always our job...
Once we begin putting conditions on how and who we respond to, then I figure we weaken the message of the Cross - and we start to put a price on Grace. This may have no bearing on how they respond, but surely it will have consequences about the sort of people/ disciples we become.
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Hi my name is David Boyd from lovely Carrickfinn in Co Donegal (for anybody who doesn't know where that is or hasn't had the honour of being in Carrickfinn, it is as far west as you can go in Donegal next stop America) see if you can find it, its heaven. I am 24 years old.
My main interest is anything to do with being outdoors I love being outside, summer, winter, rain, snow. Suppose that goes with my job if you haven't worked it out yet I am a farmer. My other interests are fishing and youth weekends as being with young people on youth weekends remind me we can have fun and still worship God.
Last year I had the honour of going to the Czech Republic as part of last years team so when the opportunity came up to go back this year I couldn't miss it.
My hopes for the team are that every one will have a great time and enjoy themselves. We all get to know each other better and get to know God better and deepen our faith with Him.
Last year I had the fear that we would get lost or the people we are working would find my accent hard to understand but after being there last year these are no longer my fears and I look forward to going away this year with no fears.
Since we started meeting as group I have learnt that there is more to life than work and even though it might be hard work to some people understanding God’s word isn’t that hard.
My name is Rebecca and I am 17 years old. I am studying my a levels in physics, maths and chemistry. My hobbies are hockey, swimming and art.
Looking back at last year's team really encouraged me to go on the trip this year through the work that they did, the friendships that where made and the difference that it made in their own individual faith and journeys.
I wanted to go on this team as I wanted to develop my faith with God and to work with other people in his name. Also I wanted to work with the children in the Czech Republic and help deepen their understanding of God and to even begin on their own spiritual journeys.
I hope that when we arrive we will make a good connection with the children and we will have lots of fun with them. I also hope that through the work we do that we inspire the children to allow God into their lives or if he is already there, to strengthen their faith.
I ask anyone reading this to pray that we achieve our fundraising target, we work well with the other volunteers or leaders and translators and further our faith with God.
So far in the team I have made new friends and learned about new passages in the bible:-)
My name is Olivia I am 16 and I will be doing my AS exams next year. Thats me in the picture to the left there, with my best friend in the whole world - Kathryn. She's coming on the team too. She's 50% awe and 50% some! = 100% AWESOME!
I applied for team this year because I thought that it would be an amazing opportunity to get out and meet the children and grow closer to God.
The thing I am looking forward to most is bonding with the team and meeting all the children and watching as they meet or grow closer to God through what we do.
I would really like our team to be prayed for so we can arrive safely and have the children's hearts opened to God and so we make bonds with each of them.