A while ago a young man wrote to this website Â…
My name Herbert Anderson in Uganda....
I thank God that for sometime i have been searching on the internet links for the Youths Internatationally
That was over a year ago (2009). Now we have heard an update from a youth who is now truly a youth leader. Herbert writes on January 30, 2011
Jessie Marquiz shares that her eleven month mission trip got off to a rocky start.
"I was very nervous at the beginning and said to myself, 'I can't do this'." She had to leave the comforts of New York and "surrender my life" to God. Jessi's resolution was simple ... yet profound.
"I want to know God's heart and to have his heart inside of me".
For more on Ms. Marquez' World Race, please click: Jessi Marquez
Big Creek Mission and 30 Hour Famine Story... see below
El Salvador 2009 Mission Trip
including: Morena and Friends
Santa, Santa, Santa
Twenty youth and adults (primarily youth) worked in the La Paz province of El Salvador in July/August 2009. There were four goals for the group:
- Provide medical attention, vitamin pills and prescriptive medication to impoverished families, who rarely see a doctor. Approximately 1,400 people were so treated.
- Take time to meet with younger children, while their parents are being treated. Events included dancing and story telling. Art projects were completed and children appreciated the love of all who spent time with them.
Smiles and laughter are the same in all languages.
- Create and paint two murals on outside walls with the help of local youth. These depicted the hopes of a better life for the residents and countered some of the negative graffiti in the neighborhoods.
- Work with young people, primarily teenagers, to teach them English by sharing Biblical stories in Spanish and then teaching English phrases that depicted particular messages in the stories. The story of King Saul, his son Jonathen and David was featured on day one of the classes. Day two told the story of Paul and Silas and the slave girl freed from her visionary tasks. Day three examined which of the several individuals in the stories truly had faith in Dios (God) and who depended upon mismo (himself/herself).
With that said as an introduction let me share a poem, written by one of the teenage workers, Stephanie Castlen. It is entitled,
"Believing is the First Step to Faith"…
As the pavement turns to dirt roads
Old shoes walk many miles,
And hope always appears.
Believing is the first step to faith.
As sweat glistens on one’s cheek,
When medicine is handed.
A healthy child has become.
Believing is the first step to faith.
Patty cakes and sing song tunes
Fill the air with laughter and joy.
A child’s smile can make the world go round.
Believing is the first step to faith.
Colors and brushes hit the wall’
Splattering joy and happiness
A mural of children and Romero show us love
Believing is the first step to faith.
Children sit in plastic chairs.
Jumping with excitement and ready to learn.
English and Spanish are combined with God’s love
It is shone through.
Believing is the first step to faith.
Although these words are few
It is the first step for generosity and happiness.
We can help share
But only if we believe and have faith.
[Used by permission of Stephanie Castlen]
Lastly, here are some thoughts of the Salvadoran students about what they enjoyed and learned.
“La actividad que me gusto mas fue el juego que hicimos el primerdia cuando teniamos qhe dejarnos caaer de espaldas y otra persona tenia que sostenernos. Al princepio tuve un poco de miedo y dude sobre si lanzarme o no!
Pero dije porque no hacerlo? Y lo hice confie en ese persona y me senti muy bien. Fue uno de los huegos que mas me gusto!
[ The activity we did the first day, the game that we did when we have to hold the person when falling backwards. At first I was scared and I had doubts if I should do it or not but I did have trust . To learn trust in the person felt very good. It was the game I liked the most.]
Y aprendi que Dios me ama siempre apazar de mis virtudes y defectos porque el lo perdona todo si nosotros nos arrepentimos de Corazon. Y que no importa si no podemos verle claramente, porque el siempre esta ahi junto a mi! En un bebe en un anciano en cualquier lugar el siempre esta junto a mi y junto a todos porque todos somos sus hijos y nos ama a todos por igual sin importer idioma o color.
[I learned that God always loves me in spite of my strengths and weaknesses because he forgives everything if we repent from the heart. It doesn’t matter if we cannot see him. He will always be with us. With the baby and with the older person in whatever place he is always with us and with everyone because we are all his children. He loves us all equally regardless of our language or of our color. ] Mayensi, age 19
A mi me gustaron todas las actividades porque todas ablavan de Dios. Y me gustaron porque uno mucho participacion y confacto con las demas personas. [I liked all of the activities because we prayed to God and there was a lot of participation and contact with other people.]
Aprende a mar a las demas personas sean como sean si ser buenas y son malas. Tambien aprendi a saber que Dios me amo porque aunque aveces me equinolo el me perdona. Eso aprendi a ser muy comprensivo.
[I learned that there are people who are good and some who are bad. Also I learned that that God loves me because he pardons me and I learned to be very understanding.] Moreno, age 14
Me gusto mucho la dinamica en la cual nos separaron en dos grupos y nos dieron una frase para o la dijeramos a nuestros companeros del grupo, Y la frase se modifico al final. Es una dinamica muy Buena porque nos ayuda a saber escuchar a las demas y no modificar lo que nos dicen. Y en realidad me gustaron todas las actividades realizados. Me diverti y apprendi mucho.
[I liked the dynamic when we separated in two groups and we said a phrase to the companions in the group; the phrase changed at the end. The dynamic was very good because we learned that we had to listen to the others and not to change what was said to us. I really liked all of the activities. It was a lot of fun.]
Yo apprendi q. hay q. tener confianzo en uno mismo en los demas y sobre todo en el amor de Dios hacia nosotros. Estas actividades son muy buenas porque nos ayudas a comprendar y la querer nos mucho mas como seres humanol y sobre todo amor de Dios.
[ I learned to have trust in myself and others and especially in the love of God. The activities were very good because they gave us an understanding how to love each other much more ……. because of the love of God.] Esther, age 19
Smiles are the same in all languages.
This is an annual event. Are you interested? Write to Timferguson@christianyouthgroup.org or to Mountgote@aol.com.
Thirty Hour Famine ... Jose Carlos, Christian Artist of Mexico City and Tim Ferguson of Deer Park, N.Y. share the story of the Recruiter ...
... God recruits in special ways (through special people - if the young man said nothing neither would the young lady ... they are both God's successful recruiters)...
“From the Thirty Hour Famine I learned that minorities in South America deserve a second chance and more opportunities.” Arindam, 14
“The famine taught me about the strength the needy have to survive” Dan, 17
The Amazon River basin is an amazing area of the world and the youth of the Deer Park Presbyterian Church spent the weekend of March 6-7, 2009 studying it while raising money by fasting during the Thirty Hour Famine. This was the thirteenth consecutive year the youth group has participated.
Fourteen young people raised over $4,500.00 in this year's famine. Almost ninety per cent of active church members supported the youth by contributing money to their effort. In addition, during our Saturday afternoon food drive at local supermarkets, individuals donated money and, more importantly, food to be donated to local soup kitchens and pantries, which are in significant need of donations due to the recession that we are experiencing.
Here is what some members of the group shared:
• “One of the main things I experienced during the famine was the kindness of people. While doing the food drive, we, of course, meet people who want nothing to do with us but others come out and donate bags upon bags of food.”
• “The food drive reminds me every year how many good and generous people there are – and how generosity can be passed from person to person. The work one youth does brings out the best in others”. Frank, Assistant Youth Leader
Prior to the drive we did several of the activities in this year’s Tribe Game. One activity, Hide and Seek was modified as follows:
Youth had been separated into teams representing the countries of Peru, Columbia, Brazil and Bolivia. After describing the beauty of the four countries, the uniqueness of their wildlife and plant life, we also looked at the poverty and the struggles of their people.
Prior to Hide and Seek, we discussed the instability of the region. In this area of the world, governments, both local and national, come and go and sometimes it is hard to determine who is your friend, your ally, and who is not. Our version of Hide and Seek was created to demonstrate this instability and what it feels to be a part of it.
The Game: Hide and Seek
• With the youth present on their “country teams”, we randomly picked which country would be paired with which country. For example, it could be youth from Peru and Brazil against youth from Columbia and Bolivia. One individual from each pair of countries was chosen to be “it”.
• Youth, who were not “it”, were given one minute to hide. Once the minute was up, the two youth, who were “it”, had two minutes to find those hiding, who were members of the other team. If they found a member of their own team, they said and did nothing. When your hiding place was found by the person from the other team, you were taken to jail. No running away from the searchers was allowed.
• When the two minutes were up, those who were “it” and those not found stood on a separate side of the room from those in jail. Teams were once again chosen randomly. This part of the game led to discussion. For instance, the searching youth on the Brazil team, in round one, could have found many members of the Columbia team while being “it”. Yet since we chose the teams randomly in round two there was a one in three chance that Brazil would be paired with Columbia in the coming round and, thus, start out at a disadvantage. All the searcher’s work was lost because the people he/she captured and took to jail were now his/her teammates. We spent some time talking about this before round two.
• Since we didn’t want youth to stay in jail for the game, the following rule was created. Once the new teams were chosen, each could release members in jail to hide again but there was a price to pay. For every member released, the team forfeited fifteen seconds of search time in the upcoming round. For example, if one team released two team members, while the second team released three, there was still a minute for all youth to hide but the person who was “it” on team one would have one and a half minutes to search while the second team’s searcher would only have a minute and fifteen seconds to find those hiding from team one.
• After every round new pairs of teams were randomly chosen and, after playing six rounds, we announced there would be one more round to play after the upcoming round. Peru and Columbia opposed Bolivia and Peru. The searcher for Peru found all the members of the Bolivian team while few other youth were found. By the luck of the draw in the final round the Peruvian leader drew Bolivia as his partner. By the time he bailed his newfound members out of jail, his searcher had half the time to search as the opposing team and the team lost the final, ultimate round. It ended up being a perfect example of what some people in the Amazon River basin must feel when the powers to be realign themselves constantly.
We concluded our famine with two thoughts from scripture. I asked the youth, “Was Jesus ever truly hungry?” After some discussion, one mentioned the time he was tempted by the devil to change a rock to bread. We then stressed that our God, because He became human, understands hunger and other needs of the poor people of the Amazon as well as our own needs.
Turning to Jeremiah 29: 11-13 we read, “I alone know the plans I have for you, plans to bring you prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future you hoped for… You will seek me and find me because you will seek me with all of your heart.” We reminded our youth the God made this promise to the people of Israel when they were in captivity in Babylon and, when they turned to him with all of their heart, he touched the heart of their captor to release them. Similarly he will meet the needs of the impoverished people of the Amazon, through efforts like the 30 Hour Famine.
If you would like to know more about our 30 Hour Famine or how to do one on your own, please write to: TimFerguson@christianyouthgroup.org
Here are links to: Thirty Hour Famine 2008
More ideas, like Hide and Seek, for youth to continue Spiritual Growth while having fun and making friends... click: From the Mountaintop
Christian Youth Program Challenge
Did you know? If the population of China walked past you, 8 abreast, the line would never end because of the rate of reproduction. This is the future Christian mission challenge of world wide Christian youth leaders.
See what the Christian teens in Deer Park, N.Y. are doing through World Vision for one nine year old child in China.
Click: Christian Youth Challenge: Lu Lu
Big Creek Mission
Good Morning, Tim:
We are back home and TIRED!, but such a good tired. We cleaned wall of chalkboards, lockers, wiring, baseboards and other sundry items that are part of a school. Removed remaining desks, left over books, shelves and trash; preparing for the next crew that will be prepping wall and floors for repairs, new tire, and painting. Some of the showers have been installed in the renovated bathrooms! I had a wonderful time spending time with our young people and some from other churches that I have formed relationships with over the last couple of years! Some are already planning for their return for summer missions! How often do you get to here a sophomore or junior in high school talk about how awesome this Big Creek Mission has been in the past and that they don't want to miss this year!?
We had a group from Thomasville, NC join us this weekend and they already have their youth signed up for a week in July! They drove 5 1/2 hours to work on the building. One of the young men I was talking to yesterday as they prepared for the trip home that just being in the school and the anticipation of what God was doing and what could be done through the facility gave him cold chills!
I have been and will continue to pray for your group during their fasting. I think this is a very selfless act that I'm not sure I could do. I pray that God will give you and your group the endurance to finish the race, the rest that is needed, and the grace to reach others for Christ.
Rocky Branch Missionary is a small church with 100-135 on Sunday am. We watch for where God is working and join him there.
Vicki Buchanan, Walland, Tennessee
Editor's Note: Thank you for sharing with us, Vicki. I am so pleased to hear about the efforts of your young people. God is working in Tennessee and we look forward to hearing more from you.
If anyone wishes to write to Vicki, please send your message to TimFerguson@christianyouthgroup.org and it will be posted on this website. Vicki will be notified of the posting.