Monday, June 6, 2011

Ocean City, MD, Week 1

Just a few updates on what has been going on in Ocean City since the team arrived on Wednesday.

After a long day of travelling on Wednesday, we had orientation from Wednesday night through Friday morning. A lot of it was going over rules and expectations for the summer, but we also had times of prayer and asking God to prepare us for the work we will be doing. We met our team that is working with Ocean City Baptist Church and the travelling team that will be going around the area doing VBS in various churches throughout the summer. Our team consists of 6 girls and 2 guys, mostly from TN, NC, GA, MS, and one from the UK.

Wednesday afternoon we had some time to go out to the beach for a while and see the Ocean City boardwalk (only a block from the church)--incredible! There is so much beach here, much different from Tybee where there isn't much beach room at high tide. There are also a TON of seagulls. Seriously. The boardwalk is a three mile strip of shops, arcades, and food shops with ice cream, popcorn, french fries, you name it.

Ocean City Baptist Church. --

Thursday morning we split into groups and walked along the boardwalk praying over the city, over the people we saw, over the teams, over our ministries, and just over our time here, that the Lord would prepare us to do His work and that He would open hearts to receive Him here in this city.

Beautiful sunset behind some buildings seen from the boardwalk.

Thursday afternoon we passed out fliers to the international student workers advertising free meals at local churches. The international students come from all over--Ireland, Russia, Scotland, Lithuania, Moldova, etc. to work for the summer. There is an incredible opportunity to reach out to them through the ministry of the church with events like free meals and coffee hour, which will happen on Friday evenings.

Friday afternoon we went around to the 4 campgrounds in the area and Friday night we were assigned to which campground we will be working in for the duration of the summer. Saturday we cleaned up at the church and prepared for campground worship the next morning. We had time to visit the beach and enjoy the boardwalk again, so that was nice.

Sunday morning we split up at our various campgrounds and helped with worship. We do a brief 45 minute service for the campers with a couple of songs, a time of prayer, and a time of reading through the Word and discussing it. My partner, Chrissy, and I were grateful to have a local pastor lead the music and the preaching, so we were just there as support and help and to remind the campers of the kids' programs we would be leading during the week. After the service was done Chrissy and I went to OCBC to help with the nursery and then attended the 10:00 service in the morning. Great time of worship there, and a very welcoming group of people at the church. Sunday night the team attended the 7:00 service--again, a great time of worship and fellowship.

Also on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings we went to meet the greyhound bus at the station bringing in international students for the work program. We greet them and give them a welcome gift from the city and invite them to the international dinners at OCBC on Monday nights.

This morning (Monday) we were at our various campgrounds again. Michelle and I had 6 kids at Castaways campground. ( We did a program much like VBS, only the curriculum is more flexible and less planned out in advance with videos like VBS is. We did crafts, music, snacks, games, and a Bible story with the kids and I think they had a good time. We are expecting the numbers to increase as word gets around. As more kids come, we can invite the parents to the other ministries that will begin next week, including parents' night out (Monday nights--the parents can leave the children at the church for a minimum fee from 6-10pm and have a free night) and family night (Sunday nights for Castaways campground--fun for the whole family!).

We had time to relax today before the international dinner began at 6. In 2 hours 165 students came through for a free meal. I was very touched by this event tonight. The numbers last year started around 80 on the first night and by the end of the summer they were serving 400-500 students on average. We invite the students to come back on Friday evenings for coffee hour, when we can have more time to talk with them and build relationships that way. I had the privilege of meeting 2 students from Kazakhstan and one student from Russia who is a Christian. We had good conversations. The rest of the time I was serving drinks, but I was very burdened by all of the students coming through. Lately I've been reading an autobiography of George Muller (thanks, Debbi) and his words encourage me greatly regarding prayer... Already the Lord is drawing me closer to Him, and teaching me to lean on Him in every moment, believing that He is good and all powerful to answer prayers in a mighty way as we seek His will. Standing in line I began to pray for each student that grabbed a drink, asking God to use the ministry in some way to show His love to them. I asked Him to open their hearts to Him and to understand the joy of knowing who He is. It is amazing what can happen when we pray and let God do the work instead of going into a situation with our own agenda already planned out... Thank You Lord for being patient with me when I am so slow to learn these things!

Yesterday was a hard day for me... homesick and wondering how we are ever going to keep this pace all summer. I thank God for creating unity in this team and encouraging us through each other as we seek Him for our strength. I have been blessed with a wonderful group to work alongside this summer. I am also extremely thankful for those at home that send me encouraging words and let me know they are praying. I mean it when I say I can feel those prayers--reading the Muller biography makes me more aware of the power of prayer and 1)makes me appreciate those prayers all the more and 2) encourages me to pray more often and will more faith than before. Praise the Lord, and thank you all for every prayer on behalf of the team here and the work being done in Ocean City. The Lord is great!

It's going to be a busy and tough summer at times, but it's also going to be great. I'm excited about what God is going to teach me and about what He will accomplish through this team of amazing people who just want to love and follow Him. We are so grateful for the opportunity to be here.

Thanks for praying. Love ya'll.


p.s. Due to past experiences and safety of children and international students, we are not allowed to post any pictures of anyone other than our team. So that is why I've posted these pictures here. Enjoy!
On the beach Saturday afternoon.

Ashley and I acting touristy on the boardwalk.
Cooking together builds team unity--and good memories! :)

1 comment:

  1. Great testimony so far! Thanks so much for sharing the awesome things God is already doing through you and the team! We miss you back here in Macon and are praying for you and everyone you are working with. Looking forward to hearing more! God Bless!