It’s been ten days today since we returned from our mission trip to Baltimore.  I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on our week.  God was so good to us!  Baltimore was certainly one of the best mission trips I have had the opportunity to take.  Our group was one of the best groups with which I have worked.  I don’t have the space or time to tell you everything we did, but I’ll try to give you some “snapshots” of our time away.

Friday, July 3

Lots of riding and driving.  Lots.  Did I say it was a lot?  We left Owensboro about 6:30 a.m. or so that morning, and we arrived in Baltimore about 9:15 p.m.  A very uneventful drive, but lots of it.

Saturday, July 4

Sea of people waiting to watch the fireworks in front of the Capitol

Sea of people waiting to watch the fireworks in front of the Capitol

The pastor of FBC Brooklyn had warned us that the Fourth of July holiday would not be a particularly good day to try to do outreach in the community because most people would have their own plans for the day.  So, we decided that since we were so close to Washington DC, and since some of our group had never been to DC, we would take the holiday to do some sight-seeing.  We were able to end the day with a most wonderful memory – watching the fireworks between the Capitol and the Washington Monument.  They were spectacular!

Sunday, July 5

We helped lead in the morning worship service at FBC Brooklyn, our host church.  Bro. Tom, our student minister, led the worship, and Chris preached the morning message from Romans 12:1-8 – “As a man thinks, so he is.  Our minds must inform our hearts.”

Monday, July 6

Feeding lunch to the children of the community

Feeding lunch to the children of the community

On Monday, we held a Backyard Bible Club for about 30 of the children of the community around FBC Brooklyn.  A lot of these kids just sort of showed up on their own and left on their own.  In the morning, Bro. Tom and our college students led the BBC, and Chris shared the gospel with them.  We ate hot dogs, chips, and cookies, and then played carnival-type games with the kids.  We had a great time sharing Jesus with them and playing with them!
On Monday evening, we shared a meal with the young adults of the church and community.  They come from varied walks of life and various levels of church involvement and backgrounds, but we learned that we are all very much the same regardless of our perceived differences.
 
Tuesday, July 7
 
On Tuesday, we spent the day with the teenagers of the church and community.  Many of these teens do not have parents who attend church with them.  They come to church on their own many times, and for many reasons – a safe place to be, friendships, people who love and care for them.  This day was an interesting time for our group to be “mentors for a day” to younger youth who come from very different backgrounds.
 
Wednesday, July 8
 
On Wednesday, we were back at the church with Backyard Bible Club and a time to share the gospel in the morning, and water day in the afternoon.
Water day

Water day

In the evening, we held a cookout for members of FBC Brooklyn and for others who live in the community.  We fed about 90 people that evening (thanks to Lenny, Austin, and Drew for grilling the meat!), and then participated in a joint worship service.  Chris brought the message that night from John 3:22-30 – “He must increase and I must decrease.”  A good reminder that this week was not about us but all about Jesus.

Thursday, July 9

Eating in our small kitchen

Eating in our small kitchen

The greater part of the day on Thursday was spent packing and cleaning up so that we could leave early on Friday morning.  Twenty-one members of our team lived for one week in a large house owned by the church.  This house has five rooms that we used as bedrooms, two bathrooms (yes, only two!), and a small kitchen.  A great tribute to our team is how we made this tight living arrangement work so well all week long!

On Thursday evening, we held a worship service for the youth of FBC Brooklyn, led by Bro. Tom and our youth worship team.  I enjoyed seeing everyone use their talents all week, from singing and playing instruments to working with children to helping with the shopping and cooking!

Friday, July 10

By 6:15 a.m. we were back on the road again.  And again.  And again.  We pulled into Yellow Creek’s parking lot around 6:30 p.m. that evening, and you have never seen a group of people more glad to be home!

Final Thoughts

We had a wonderful week.  Our relationships with one another were strengthened as we made memories that will last a lifetime.  Our faith was challenged as we learned to be flexible in carrying out God’s plans, even if that means laying our own plans aside.  We learned the importance and the urgency of sharing the gospel with the nations – including in our own nation.  We pray that the seeds we planted will bloom to maturity as others come along to water them and to harvest them.

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