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Fundraising February and Rockin’ out March

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The months of February and March have focused mainly on fundraising for our extreme summer retreat.  The Sunday before Valentine’s Day, we planned a spaghetti dinner at the church.  We decided to serve salad, spaghetti, bread, and desserts.  Mary Asbury decorated the tables and supplied the room with a nice ambiance for everyone to enjoy.  We had people come in, grab a drink, and have a seat.  Then the teens waited on tables and served everyone their food.  We had several fun games lined up to entertain the guests.  We did a mock version of “The Dating Game.”  Cristal was our bachorlette, while Heath, Thorne, and Brad were the bachelors.  The guys tried to disguise their voices, but by their answers it was pretty obvious who said what.  It was good for a few laughs though.  We also played “The Newleywed Game.”  We had three couples come up and answer questions about their spouse.  Of course, we had to choose the pastor and his wife as one of the couples.  This game ended up providing more than enough laughs to keep everyone entertained.   The teens, parents, and volunteers did a fabulous job setting up this fundraiser from beginning to end.  We were thankful and surprised of the generosity of those who donated.

                We did get a nice snowfall for President’s Day.  So several of the teens gathered together and went sleigh riding and snowboarding.  I think a few of them tried to do some extreme tricks on the sleds and snowboards, judging by some of their pictures.  So, two ways were added to our list. 

                The first Sunday of March, we organized another fundraiser.  We held a Rock a thon at the church.  We didn’t go all night; we set it for a four hour time period.  Everyone was asked to get sponsors to donate per hour or a set amount.  During this time we rocked while we did worship.  Whitney brought her guitar and sang, Heath played the bongos, and everyone else joined in.  We also shared our testimonies with each other, prayed, and played some games.  Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and we raised a good amount of money.

                One Saturday toward the end of March, we decided to go roller skating.  How could I not put that on our list of ways?  Some of the youth hadn’t skated in a while, so it took some time to redevelop skate legs, along with some nice falls. 

                God is showing me so much through leading this group.  I see great teamwork among the kids, devotion, determination and willingness to serve.  Who knows what will happen next.

 
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Posted by on April 9, 2012 in Writing

 

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January Ways

             January days in West Virginia are usually sprinkled with snow days throughout the month.  But this year there has only been a few snowfalls and they haven’t lasted for long.  I thought that many of our ways for youth this month would have included skiing, sledding, and other typical winter activities, but was proven otherwise.  Most of what we did this month consisted of using the resources available to us.  We started out the first weekend of the month using scooters to travel up and down the halls in the church.  I didn’t realize that going up and down the halls on a scooter would take so much energy, and I did a typical wipeout on one lap because I was trying to get the wheels off the ground for a split second.  I got them off the ground long enough to touch the ground myself with my shoulder, Whitney got to experience my embarrassing feat. 

            Since the weather had been so atypical I planned for the youth to go on a zip line in Sophia, a town south of Beckley.  The zip line is a half mile long with a 300 foot descent.  God’s sense of humor shined through that day because I reserved probably the coldest day of the month to do this.  But, we loaded up the van and headed to our destination, each bundled with plenty of clothing to try and keep us warm on our quick ride.  When we arrived, the instructors geared us up and gave us a quick overview of what we would be doing and what to expect.  The instructors drove us to the top of the hill where the starting platform was.  I was with the first group that was dropped off, so we waited as the truck went to get the second group.  One of the teens admitted that he was very fearful of heights.  He almost backed out, but several of the other teens convinced him to take the leap.  I admitted to him that my biggest fear is heights, so I told him that if I could do it he could too. When it was time for me to conquer my fear, I took a deep breath, quickly looked at the line I was going to attach myself to and hung on for dear life.  Halfway through I began to feel at ease and enjoyed the ride.  It’s hard to take a leap into something when you don’t know if you’ll make it through or not, but when you take that leap and make it to the end, you are glad you did it.  Everyone seemed to enjoy their ride, we all had a good time and we seemed to entertain the instructors as well.  They said we were one of the funniest groups they had ever had. 

            Last Sunday, the teens decided to run a mile around the church.  They each took a few laps around until they totaled a mile together.  This weekend, the youth went to support other fellow youth in a wrestling competition that was held on Saturday.  After cheering them on, we decided to go on College Avenue in Bluefield and bounce basketballs for a mile.  We started at my house and bounced the balls to my husband and my shop in Bluefield.  That consisted of 1.3 miles.  We turned some heads, cars slowed down and people gawked.  I guess it was a bit odd to see several people bounce basketballs down the sidewalk. 

            This month was fun and I keep telling the youth that this is going to be an epic year.  January is only the beginning, there are many things ahead of us and I’m very excited for whatever is to come.

 
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Posted by on January 30, 2012 in Youth

 

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“A December to Remember”

                As we continue on to 80 ways, (see previous blogs), we started out the first Saturday in December with wagons to participate in a local Christmas parade. We had three wagons for eager teenagers to ride and about sixty treat bags made up to throw into the crowd. It seemed like forever waiting for the parade to start. So we were goofing off quite a bit with the wagons and each other. Finally, the parade started to move and we rolled up the road and over the bridge onto Main Street. The teens and adults involved threw out the treat bags to onlookers and grinned with their Christmas hats fit nicely upon their heads. The crowd laughed, commented, and smiled at the teens riding in the little red wagons.
                 The next day we planned to go to Kmart with wrapped gifts to give to strangers in the store. Each person was told to think and pray about who they were to give a gift to and what kind of gift they needed to give. Our original plan was to go into the store and put a teenager in a shopping cart and have another push the cart. With our group that would be about five shopping carts. When we arrived and asked the manager for permission to do this, he told us we couldn’t because of liability reasons, but we were allowed to pass the gifts out as long as we didn’t solicit. We were somewhat disappointed we couldn’t use the carts but understood the reasoning; we thanked the manager and strolled throughout the store. I was very proud of the consideration the teens were giving in handing out the gifts. They took their time looking for the person they felt they needed to give gifts to and when they found who they thought it was, they approached the person with a smile, said Merry Christmas and handed them the gift. People reacted in various ways, some were delighted to receive the gift, others acted surprised, some seemed confused, and some were trying to figure out what the catch was or didn’t want to accept the gift. To me this spoke volumes; people react to the gift of Jesus and salvation the same way. After everyone passed out their gift, we left the store and went to have ice cream so we could discuss what had happened and to socialize.

            Tia, one of the other youth leaders that helps us out, scheduled the group to visit one of the local nursing homes. We went to sing Christmas carols and the staff allowed us to roll around in wheelchairs afterwards, to count as one of our eighty ways. When we first arrived we went into one of the main lobbies where a group of elderly people were playing bingo. Tia announced to the room who we were and that we were there to sing to them. Josh, one of the teens, brought his guitar to play as the rest of the group sang. We let Josh play a solo before we started and then the group began to sing. It was a rough start on singing because of nerves and no one wanted to sing very loud. But, as we went on, it became somewhat easier. Some of the people in the crowd were joining along and singing too. After we sang several songs in the main lobby, we moved room to room to some of the bedridden residents. It did my heart good to see the reaction of the residents as we sang, some teared up, some sang along, and others smiled. Afterwards we went down one of the empty halls and borrowed some wheelchairs for a quick spin up and down the hall.
                December became a month to remember. I really felt the spirit of Christmas this year because of the participation with the teens. Giving to the community, reaching out to others with time and talent, and making other people smile is a real treat to the soul. As we embark on a New Year, I’m excited about what may lie ahead for this group.

 
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Posted by on December 26, 2011 in Youth

 

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A Challenging Journey

I’ve been issued a challenge and it involves the teen youth group my husband and I are leading.  It is very exciting for me to be a part of this and see what the group can accomplish this year.  The challenge is to find eighty ways of transportation and do them in our home state of West Virginia.  The challenge began on November 6, 2011 and will end November 6, 2012. The idea came from our pastor who recently saw a show on History channel called, “Around the world in 80 ways.”  He thought it would be exciting and interesting for us to take the challenge and apply it to our area.  Besides, the name of the youth group is Extreme Voice.   Why would this have anything to do with a church youth group?  What purpose would it serve, other than getting to do some really cool things?  First, Jesus used many modes of transportation to get from one place to another.  He walked, went by boat, or by donkey.   Next, He traveled throughout Galilee encountering people, teaching them, healing them and showing love to them.  It didn’t matter how they lived, who they were, or whatever shortcomings they had, he reached out to them.  Everywhere he went, excitement ensued.  He led an extreme life.

Why should the Christian walk be boring?  Why would we want to put Christianity in a box?  There are many things to experience and many people to encounter along the way.  How can you meet people if you stay in a place that many people feel unwelcomed to come into?  Sure, people came to Jesus, but He also went to people, sought them out of the crowd, listened and loved them.

Every way we try on this challenge doesn’t mean that we will encounter someone every time.  But, I’m sure there is something we will gain from each experience that will teach us something about ourselves, community, or teamwork.

The first way we marked off our list was a hike at a local park.  We decided to geocache  while we hiked, since my husband and I knew several cache’s were hidden there.  Our hike ended up being almost three miles.  It led us on a path around the whole length of the lake.  We handed the group the GPS and let them lead the way to the hidden cache.  They did excellent finding the cache and working together.  We followed the hike up with a lesson on following God’s direction in your life.  We left the park by car, (2nd way) and finished the day off gathering together for ice cream at the local drive in.

The teens are excited, I’m excited, and so are the other leaders involved.  It’s going to be an interesting year!  I’ll continue to share the ways we make it through the state as they unfold.

 

 
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Posted by on November 16, 2011 in Travels

 

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