Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Meet the Crew: Ericka

Ericka is one of those crew members that I would be lost without. She is great about doing whatever is needed without any direction. She is as good in the kitchen as she is on the playground - and that's saying something because she's really, really good on the playground. I'm pretty sure she could put these trips together herself and lead them and she may well do that one day. Ericka is planning to be a teacher and the kids on the Reservation love her mightily. She always has two or three of them attached to her the whole week we are on the Rez. To watch her interact with the kids is to see her putting her giftedness into action.

How many years have you gone to the Rez with us?

This year will be my fourth trip to the reservation. So, I have been three times already.

What is something specific people can pray for you about?

People can pray that I am physically, mentally, and spiritually ready for the trip. I have found that the trip is often challenging in ways that I can' learn it.

What is the thing about the trips that has changed you and made you want to go back.

I feel that going on the mission trip allows my relationship with God to grow in a different way each time that I take this adventure on. I have also developed a great passion for the children, people, and relationships that are built on the trip (both within the crew and with the people living on the Rez). I have kept going back because I feel that it is something God has led me to do both for me and the children.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Meet the Crew: Amber

I wasn't going to include myself in this but I've been reminded that if I'm going to do this to the crew that I'd better be willing too.

How many years have you gone to the Rez?

This will be my 5th year being a team coordinator. I first went to the Rez with a church in Indiana and have been a couple of times on my own without a crew.

What is the thing about it that has changed you and made you want to go back?

I grew up in a church in Indiana that was very mission-minded and then attended Anderson College which also offered mission trips several times a year. I finally got to go on my first mission trip back in the early 90's. Seeing how other people in other parts of the world live always changes you ... it breaks your heart and you are just never the same. It becomes harder to justify spending lots of money on yourself - not that there is anything wrong with that, but you learn that there is more joy in giving to someone else in need than in spending it on self.

I also have never been able to find a way around the passage of scripture in Matt. 25 where Jesus has some strong things to say about how we treat the poor. I take it that he meant exactly what he said and so I figure its a good idea for me to be involved in helping the poor. In doing that, I've learned that I have a lot to learn - they often have a better handle on spiritual matters than I do and I am usually the one that is "helped".

I also wanted for our church to become more mission minded and creating opportunities for people to experience a mission trip is the best way I know of to do that. I think it is vital to the health of the church to be reaching out to people who are different than us and who have been given less in this life than we have. That kind of experience makes us better people and makes the church a better church.

What is something specific people can pray for you about?

Pray that I will be obedient to Jesus and have a good attitude. I am not the best person for this job of organizing mission trips but I am willing to do it because I feel it is important and because I know its not about "me" being comfortable in the position I am in. Leading these trips challenges me in every area of weakness that I have and I don't always handle it well.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Team Member Spotlight: Brandon

I have decided to spotlight each team member and post a bit about them on the blog so that people can see who is going, give them a chance to share something about their experience with the mission trips, and let folks know how they can be praying for each individual team member.

I get to start with Brandon simply because he got his stuff in first - which is a first, I think. Just kidding ya Brandon.

Brandon is easy for me to write about because I've known him his whole life. He is the same age as my youngest son and I have come to consider him as one of my own. There is not a lot I wouldn't do for this guy.

Everyone who knows Brandon is very familiar with his winning personality. Honestly, to know him is to love him. He's friendly, funny, very talented (my rock star), and has come to love God with all his heart. Is he perfect? Nope, but I must say that I'm impressed with what I see in him as I've watched his relationship with Jesus develop into an honest, real, and increasingly meaningful relationship that is very evident to those around him. I am very proud to call him "my other son".

While his personality is the thing that probably stands out the most about him, something people may not immediately realize is that Brandon is a deep thinker, especially when it comes to spiritual matters. I've been amazed at his wisdom on more than one occasion. I am also impressed with Brandon's ability to bond with the kids at Pine Ridge. I've watched him grow closer to some of the kids there over the years and have seen that he is indeed having an impact on them for Christ. Last year especially Brandon was able to develop some friendships with a few of the boys on the rez that he will be able to build on in the future.

How many years have you been going to the Rez with us?

I've been 3 times to the rez.

What is it about these trips that has changed you and made you want to keep going back?

The reason I really wanna go back is because of the friendships I formed. I wanna keep those going and hopefully bring God into some peoples life.

What is something specific that people can pray for you about?

Something people can pray for me about is the cost of the trip.

* This spotlight isn't intended to be a plea for sponsors and Brandon certianly didn't ask me to mention this, but if you would like to sponsor Brandon I'm sure he would be very appreciative.