We had to get to the church a little earlier this morning… unfortunate but not altogether unpleasant.  I must say our OBers were troopers and arrived on time, ready to do their hour with God and ready themselves for the day ahead of us… and let me tell you… it was a doozy… but a good sort of doozy… so DON’T WORRY.  I know you were… I could see it in your eyes.  After all of our students arrived at the church, we loaded them on the bus as they were still doing their hour with God and started making our way towards Big Grace where we would meet the other teams for a sound check for tomorrow’s services we will be running together tomorrow.  It was nice to see the other teams and to come together to work towards the common goal of sharing the Gospel of Christ as one unit.
After the sound check, we had the opportunity to sound check a duet of “I Am Not Ashamed”  by Aaron Keys that will be performed by Luke and Ian tomorrow!  We’re so so so so stoked for God to be glorified tomorrow through these guys talents!  Pray for them as they prepare and let the Holy Spirit remind them that tomorrow their voices will be lifted in praise to no one but the Creator of the universe and the one who makes us unashamed as new creations in Him!  I may cry tomorrow… we’ll see… probably… It’s such a sweet thing to see your kids praising God with the talents and gifts He has layed upon them.  And that goes for all these students!  God has blessed them ALL in such rich ways that seeing those gifts given back to the Lord is not only beautiful… it’s AWESOME!
After the sound check, TK went over the debriefing that needed to be done with all three teams concerning what the students should and might expect when they go home on Tuesday.  It was a great reminder and informative as to what these students will encounter in their church, high schools, colleges, and families when they return back to the world outside of the little “OB bubble” they have been in for two months.  It’s a scary thing for sure… and exciting.  But what we need to remember is that the God who is here and real to us now is the same God that stands by us at home.  I was reading in Acts today that God literally stood with Paul through all of his missionary journeys.  LITERALLY!  These students need not expect anything less from the God who has revealed Himself to them this summer.  They can grab hold of that promise and claim it as their own!
After debriefing… we went to lunch at this little place called Cain’s.  I had never had it before… but again… it was deli-icious!  Thanks so much to Cody and Ashton who went ahead to get all of it ready and ordered for us so we could go straight from the restaurant to Encounter church; a church plant off of Grace Church Powell.  Once there, we met with the pastor of the plant, Sean, and he briefed us on the ministry we would be doing in a low income area around Columbus.  We went door to door asking people to come to the park program (aka… front lawn/parking lot program) that we would be doing.  GOD PROVIDED SUCH AN AMAZING MINISTRY TODAY!  I saw first hand the awesome workings of the Holy Spirit today and the awesome work He is able to do through those who are faithful and love Him enough to obey and carry out His commandments.  Several people came to the Lord today and the encouragement for us as believers and other believers there abounded!  We couldn’t have asked for a more successful last day of community ministry!  God just used His own time table… it’s incredible the way He works and never stops working!  Be sure to ask your OBers about today at Encounter when they come home!  You will hear some INCREDIBLE things from them about God’s glory and saving grace!
After our program, we made our way back to Sean’s house and met his wife Melissa and his kid’s  Sean filled us in a little bit more about the condition of Encounter church right now and opened the field to any questions the kids may of had but specifically about full time vocational ministry.  It was so awesome to hear from such a Godly couple that is following whole heatedly the calling God has for them and their family.  Even their fifth grade twin girls just finished up leading a two month Bible study out of their home with girls from their school!  How awesome is that!  So encouraging!
After dinner with the family and questions, we got a chance to shower at the local YMCA. got ice cream at UDF and then made our way back to the church.  The students filled out self evaluation forms about how they felt their summers have gone which will be used on Monday in their end of tour evaluations from us leaders.  Pray for us as we need discernment and wisdom to speak to the hearts of these kids before they leave and we place them in the Lord’s hands!  It’s bitter sweet for sure.

This little boy was very hot, but very interested!

Becca C. and her new friend.

Kaira dancing.

Amy getting to know a new friend.

Tori visiting.

Andrew J. sharing the cross illustration.

Kristina sharing the gospel with some sisters.

Emma talking with two boys.

Some of our girls getting to know Melissa Spoelstra.

Colin asking Sean Spoelstra some questions about church planting.

Crazy bus rides.

Andrew M. hanging out with our team mascot.

Preston’s handmade creation.