Tag Archives: #MissionWeeks

Solo No More

by Susan Markloff, Mission Weeks Assistant Director for Christian Endeavor U.S.A.

Every year at Mission Weeks, we strive to choose a theme that is relevant to youth, and can be an easy reminder for both campers and staff of what the Lord will teach us during our time at camp. My dad, Paul Markloff, is the one who has had the great insight into our themes the last two years. He likes to talk about how he came up with Solo No More, because it was in a place where Jesus can sometimes be absent from our minds.

In August of 2018, we as a family found ourselves in San Diego, California for World Christian Endeavor’s convention. By the end of it all, we decided to head north and join my brother and his family in Disneyland for a day to unwind from the marathon to California. While walking around Tomorrowland, there were posters and banners advertising the new Han Solo movie, the word “Solo” plastered everywhere.

As we traversed the crowds, my dad honed in on the word “solo” and began to think about how contrary that is for a Christian. We aren’t solo. We’re anything but solo. When we become believers in Jesus and saved by Grace, we instantly are brought into the family of God, adopted and rescued. For the rest of our lives, we have a defender, helper, healer, Almighty God at our side through all of life’s trials and tribulations. My dad turned to me and said, “Hey, what do you think of ‘Solo No More’ for our camp theme next year?”

We chose Romans 8:38-39 as our theme verses; “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Take a look at what’s referenced there in the “Things that can’t take us away from Jesus” category. It’s a stream of consciousness kind of list, where the Paul starts listing things only to go, “Y’know what, it’s pretty much everything in all of creation. None of it can take you away from God’s love. Not even death.” Mic drop.

This is such a comfort! Do you know how often I mess up and cave to sin? Daily! Whether it’s my actions, my words, or my thoughts, it’s a good day if I’ve only sinned once. And none of the days behind me or before me (that will undoubtedly be littered with my failures in life), none of those could make God not love me because of my faith in Jesus. Does that mean I’m going to skate through life because God “has” to forgive me?

Not a million years.

I refuse to let Satan get the better of me and just sit there and wallow in my sin. As though my sin were a muddy puddle, I won’t continue to let the mud and grime soak into my clothing and skin when I fall down. Instead I will quickly get back to my feet and run to my Father for help. And I know that He will receive me with open arms and swat Satan away like the bug that he is.

We all have this blessed assurance, and I cannot wait to explore the theme of Solo No More at Mission Weeks this year.

This Thing is GLOBAL!

by Joshua Good

This Thing is GLOBAL!

As I walked into the game room, the pungent odor of sweat and the roar of enthusiastic conversation hit my nose, ears & eyes. All the classic signs of a youth group retreat. Yep, I was in the right place! A short while later, those same 50+ students piled into the dining hall, and after prayer they eagerly began tucking into their dinner. It was such a joy to see the “Winter WOW” retreat in action. It included students & leaders from four different PA churches and they were obviously having a fantastic time!

But how would they respond to me, the big, bald, bearded stranger? And more importantly, what would they think of the things I was going to share with them as they ate? It can be an intimidating prospect to interrupt teenagers while they’re eating!

But I went for it with gusto and began sharing with them that, even though I didn’t know them personally, I believed that God had placed incredible spiritual potential inside each and every one of them. And because of that, one of the most important things they could do during their youth group years was to tap into those gifts, talents & abilities – allowing them to be unleashed! In doing that, God would do incredible Kingdom work through them, they would develop a deep and lasting faith, and God would be glorified in the process.

Then I got practical, sharing two ways that C.E. partners with churches to unlock that God-given potential in students.

MISSION WEEKS

Three students who attended Mission Weeks in the past got up & shared their thoughts. They spoke not only to the fun of doing construction projects & being with their youth groups, but especially about the heart change that God was able to do in them as they served. Mission Weeks are structured to encourage student engagement, and that has paid huge dividends in the lives of these three!

PRAYER WEEK

Then I held up one of the jankiest posters I’ve ever made…a mess of taped-together printouts on a poorly cut cardboard backdrop. (A number of the teen girls offered afterwards to help me with my poster-designing for next year…an offer which I will absolutely take them up onl!) After we had a good laugh at the poster, I explained what it meant. At the top it said “Awe & Wonder” in English. Then it had that same “Awe & Wonder” logo in nine other languages. This is where I had the chance to blow their minds.

The “Awe & Wonder” worship service that a number of those students were planning & going to lead was actually part of a global celebration! Little did they know that they were joining other young people from multiple nations around the world in focusing on the awe & wonder of God that very weekend. This was the kick-off of C.E.’s global Prayer Week; a time to focus even more deeply on seeking God and praying for His Kingdom to be built GLOBALLY.

The Spirit of God is actively moving. His presence was evident in the way those students responded to the things I shared, in the passion of the 11th grader who led worship during the evening session that followed, and in the freedom of the prayers students offered at the close of that session.

The Kingdom of God is being built globally. Giving students a tangible way see and participate in that is one of the most exciting aspects of the Christian Endeavor movement!

Interested in participating in C.E. Prayer Week? Check out the Prayer Devotional Guide here:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/k9xmj31964auly5/DEVOTIONAL%20GUIDE.pdf?dl=0

 

More Amazing Service in New Castle PA

Week 3 of Christian Endeavor Mission Weeks was AMAZING!

This week was amazing. We had such a big group here this week in New Castle and the community was so excited to see us. Five churches served with us this week and each one was so unique and fun to have with us! Our five churches were; Central Schwenkfelder Church Lansdale, Chapel Church Red Lion, Sanctuary UMC North Wales, St. Mark’s UMC Mount Joy, and St. Peter’s UMC, Emerald. We were able to get so much work done on a bunch of different sites this week because we ended up with a total of about 105 people here including staff which was so cool!

This week was a bit different than the last two weeks because of so many different factors. Not only are we in a different place this week and we have more people here, but our work sites were a bit different. This week was used as an outreach to this community. Prior to our being here, our speakers for the week, Pastor Chuck and Pastor Brett, went out into the community to ask homeowners what we could do for them. This gave us a lot of work sites and a ton of work to get done!

Each day we had a different number of sites and groups were getting work done so incredibly quickly that we were able to move some groups after only one day (and sometimes less) of work! It was so awesome to see these groups divide and conquer so well! St. Mark’s and St Peter’s were our smaller churches for the week so they stayed together. But since our other three groups were a bit larger, we were able to split them into groups and send them to multiple sites. We had three groups from Chapel Church, two from Sanctuary and four from Central Schwenkfelder!

With so many groups and so many sites, it was difficult to keep track of who was where and what was being done there, but some of our highlights were:

Central Schwenkfelder had a group at Ms. Lopez’s house and they did a bunch of painting indoors and out with her. It was such a pleasure for them and the staff to get to know her and her three birds, two dogs and cat! CSC also had teams working at a group of three houses all on the same road. They were cutting down trees, helping in the destruction of one house and the building of one right next door. They did such an amazing job working together and ministering to the construction workers in the area!

Sanctuary killed it this week as well! One of their groups moved to two or three different sites throughout the week and got so much work done so well at each home they were at! The other group from Sanctuary was working on a similar project as what BBC and Hopeland had done at the King home in weeks one and two! The washer and dryer in the home was leaking and causing the floor to rot. Sanctuary went in and moved the washer and dryer and pulled back the carpet so that they could replace the floor underneath. They also replaced the steps into the home that were no longer safe to use. The group also developed an awesome relationship with their homeowner that we think will last even after camp!

Chapel Church was so amazing this week as they were at so many different sites it was hard to keep track of them! They got so much amazing work done at so many different homes and it was so cool to see them work together on so many different projects. Towards the end of the week they worked on clearing out trees and weeds from a home that was being taken over by them. They were so patient with this job. Initially they had placed some of the branches outside of the property line and they had to move it uphill to get it back on the property which took a lot of work. But they did a great job and kept a positive energy the whole time!

St Peter’s had a lot of work to get done this week. They had a lot of paint to scrape from their homeowner’s porch and replace some trim then repaint it. They did such an amazing job and worked so well together! We were so honored to have them here and they were so excited and enthusiastic all week long! They told us how excited they were to get the opportunity to meet the entire family of homeowners! They told us that this is something that they haven’t had the chance to do in the past and they were so excited to get the chance to do that this year!

St. Mark’s was at our farthest site this week. Melody’s home was all the way out in Mercer, PA which is about half an hour from where we were staying at the Sankey Center in New Castle. They did so much work for Melody this week and it was awesome! They started in the front yard by scraping, sanding and painting the front porch purple! Then they moved out back and the hard work began. Some of the group worked on doing the same thing to the back porch, some group members were replacing a wall that had rotted out and one group was working on setting up a platform for a shed that was on uneven ground. They did an amazing job at Melody’s and it was such an honor to watch them work so hard!

Pastor Brett and Pastor Chuck were awesome this week. They took turns speaking this week and touched our hearts with God’s word every night! So many lives were changed this week and we had such an amazing week, it was hard to see everyone leave! We are so excited to come back to New Castle again next week as a summer staff, and the see what God has planned for Mission Weeks 2019!

Above: A group photo of our lovely kitchen staff for Week 3 in New Castle, PA.

Amazing Times Continued during 2nd Week in WV

This is Ally, Mission Weeks worship coordinator, coming to you from Week 2 of C.E. Mission Weeks, which was a huge success. We had a ton of fun as we grew closer to God and got a ton of work done around the community. This week we had two groups with us: Bible Baptist Church (BBC), Breinigsville and Faith EC, Temple. It was such a pleasure to have them with us and we got so much done this week!

BBC was our bigger group this week. We sent them over to Mr. Grey’s house one day so they could finish up Hopeland’s awesome work from Week One. They started by getting the trim finished on the outer windows and getting the inside painted. They also finished installing carpet. We were so impressed with them as they finished everything that needed to be done there by the end of the day Tuesday!

Faith EC went to the same house in Boomer that Honey Brook was at during Week One. They did an amazing job. The jungle that HBC had tackled in the front yard Week 1 also continued into the backyard and Faith EC started to get that cut down. They also worked sanding and staining the floors upstairs. It took them a lot of hard work and teamwork but by Thursday when I went out to give them popsicles, things were looking so great!

Above: A camper scrapes paint from the porch ceiling.

Above: Our videographer Nathan captures a camper hard at work painting the siding at the house in Boomer, West Virginia.

Above: Camper poses for a fun picture.

BBC’s second job for the week was to go to the King home to replace a few floors that had been rotting out and were unsafe to walk on. They crushed that job so quickly and got it done by the end of the day Thursday, and on Friday we all had such a blast.

Both groups went to Boomer to tackle what needed to be finished there and the way the two groups worked together was so incredible. I got the opportunity to drive out to the site for the morning and they had been working so hard and they had all bonded so well together during the week that it became hard to tell which camper came from which church. If someone had come in on Friday to observe, they would have thought that it was only one church there for the week.

God did some amazing work in the camper’s lives this week as well. Doc Maddison was our speaker for this week again and he did amazing as always. We were so happy to have him with us for another week! All of the campers had great reviews of his messages. We all loved his object lessons and we learned a lot from him. Friday night at our decision service we were so lucky to have such an amazing response and so many campers commit to living 24/7 for Christ.

Above: Two campers attempt to unravel a frozen t-shirt before the other in a pre-session game.

Overall, we had an amazing week and it was such a pleasure to have each and every one of the campers in Oak Hill with us for the week. We as a staff have so many stories to take away and we really enjoyed this week and we hope that every camper felt the same! God is doing some amazing work in Oak Hill and we are so excited to see what he has planned for our third and final week in New Castle, PA!

First C.E. Mission Weeks a success in WV

The first of three C.E. Missions Weeks for 2018 is in the books. We were joined in Oak Hill, West Virginia by three churches: Honey Brook Presbyterian, Grace Community Church Willow Street, and Hopeland United Methodist Church Lititz. With forty-five total volunteers, a lot of progress was made at the four job sites.

Grace Community Church started their week at a local residence’s house where they painted the front porch and stained the back deck. For the second half of the week, they worked at another house, tearing up rotted flooring and replacing it with new flooring. They also worked on the exterior of the house, replacing trim and mowing the lawn.

Above: Grace Community students paint the porch at their first site of the week

Above: Two paint splattered campers from Grace Community pose for a picture

Honey Brook Presbyterian spent their week at an unoccupied house, preparing it for the next owners. On their first day, they removed the jungle of weeds from the front yard. The rest of the week included weeding and replanting the garden, replacing trim around the windows, and fixing the drop ceiling and backsplash in the kitchen.

Above: Honey Brook student works to remove roots from the front yard after it has been cleared

Above: Honey Brook students cut trim for the windows

Above: Honey Brook students in the final process of removing weeds from the front yard

Above: Honey Brook students take a picture with staff members Ally and Jonathan

Hopeland United Methodist spent their week working at another local residence’s house, installing new drywall in multiple rooms, painting, replacing trim on the exterior, tearing out and replacing installation, and removing old carpet.

Above: Hopeland students carry old carpet from home

Above: Hopeland camper sands drywall

Above: Hopeland campers work on framing windows

When campers were not working or enjoying popsicles on their job sites, they could be found back at the school, hanging out in the lounge, shopping in the camp store, playing in the gym, or worshipping during nightly group sessions.

Leading the nightly sessions was Doc Maddison, an opera singer and teacher from New Jersey with a heart for Jesus. In his messages, he explored this summer’s theme of “Upward, Inward, and Outward”.

From newly formed friendships between campers, to the all the hard work done by all of our churches, the first Missions Week 2018 was a success!