2016 Mission Team Log
Sunday, July 17, after commissioning in the early service, we got on the road to Matagorda after Sunday School. The drive was safe and uneventful – we all arrived in Matagorda Sunday evening. Our team this year is quite a bit smaller than in past years. We didn’t have enough adults to fill all of the leadership rolls. Last year we trained Matagorda youth as leaders, and some have also come and trained at Camp Crestview as leaders. Uncertainty loomed, but Our God is good and He is big!!
First Baptist Church Matagorda has been without a full time pastor for just over a year. A bi-vocational associate / interim pastor and his wife have been holding things together. When we started our ministry here, we noted the lack of adult leadership and participation in the church, and the desperate state the children were in. The time without a pastor is taking its toll, on an already difficult situation.
Each day starts out with hot breakfast for all children, youth, and adults. We enjoy lunch altogether, and send the campers home with lunch bags full of snacks and fruit. New this year – the Matagorda youth are joining us for team dinner and devotionals in the evening.
On Monday, we drove the bus to pick up children from Matagorda and surrounding communities. We had 19 campers and 7 youth helpers. Two adults came at different times to lend a helping hand. After camp, one of the children that we met 6 years ago, (now a Senior in HS) came to let us know that his dad was coaching youth soccer program at a recently restored field nearby, and we were invited. This proved to be a great time of fellowship and encouragement both within our team and between our team and the community!! AND a great opportunity to invite more kids to join us.
Tuesday, 25 campers, 11 youth helpers, and 3 adult helpers. Another great day of camp. It has been amazing to see the quick growth in leadership skills among the youth we brought with us, and the youth here in Matagorda. We had a visit from Pastor Dan and Pastor Robert during the day. We showed them around town ad introduced them the campers and helpers. One of the Mothers / adult helpers talked to the local school and hosted an open gym for us after camp. Open gym and another night at soccer – great fellowship and bridge building.
… we are typing this as children are coming in today, Wednesday … and there are many new faces in the breakfast line!! Praise God. Today is decision day. His mercies are new every morning!!
Wednesday camp – gospel presentation and decision
Wednesday after camp – Beach evangelism and distribute Frisbees w/ the gospel on them
Thursday camp – lessons and distribution of quilts, toys, t-shirts
Thursday after camp – family dinner w/ kids song presentation, gospel presentation in English and Spanish and testimonies
Friday camp – lessons followed by ice cream party and movie for all!
Picking up from where we left off…
Wednesday was another great day at camp. Our attendance was, as I alluded to in the last post, higher than it had been to date. And what a great day for it – clear Gospel presentations several times throughout the day. Testimonies shared by our adult leaders, and children and youth from Matagorda.
We had several first time commitments to Christ (PRAISE GOD!!) and MANY others commit to continue to grow closer to Him, while others still were vocal about having questions and wanting to know more about exactly what this all means. God is so good, and faithful all the time – patient and loving with each of us where we are.
After camp Wednesday – we went to the beach to hand out Frisbees (slipdisc.com) with a gospel message on them and talk to people about the Lord. BUT … we found a few surprises…. not many people are at the beach on a Wednesday afternoon…. especially when met with the signs pictured below …. but we found a few. We also made a great time of sharing testimonies within our group. Teaching our children how to, and clearly share how Jesus has impacted their lives, and His good news. One of our adults had a great time of sharing with one of the Matagorda teenagers who had been quietly, but faithfully serving with us. He later asked for his own Bible for continued growth after we left.
Thursday after camp we hosted ‘family dinner’ at the church and the children performed their camp songs. Many parents, friends, and neighbors came to join us. (We FILLED the fellowship hall and two classrooms!) Maria, from our team, shared her testimony in both Spanish and English. Many were moved by this! What joy the kids and youth workers had picking out their very own quilts made my our Crestview quilting club. To see the teenagers and children’s faces lit with excitement and their arms wrapped tightly around the quilts, reluctant to set them down …. no words ….
Friday we rounded out the week by following camp with an ice cream party and movie for the campers. One of our adults had a great time of sharing and heartfelt discussion with an adult here. They looked together at God’s plans and purposes and faithful love – even when life does not go as we plan, hope, or intend. Many tears were shed – but there joy in the LORD and that joy was made real between those two ladies. A few of the families from the community bound together to prepare and serve US a wonderful dinner of smoked meats and Spanish rice and Beans. Delicious!!
Saturday – after sleeping in a bit 😉 we made our way to the beach again. Today we found more people to talk and share with. Many Frisbees were given out and the Name of God was exalted on Matagorda beach today!!
Summary: This has been an amazing week of lives transformed, minds renewed, and hearts revived. The afternoons of open gym, and soccer and evenings with the youth leaders from here have been exceedingly fruitful.
We have been blessed beyond measure, the community has been impacted for the Kingdom, and we now prepare to leave here – encouraged about the future of Matagorda.