MainKids Camp Out 2016: Part 2

June 23, 2016

By Dolores Rader, Minister to Children

Camp Out is coming to a close and we are filled with sadness to leave our
friends and this beautiful, beautiful place! It has been such an amazing
camp filled with God’s presence at every turn. Here are a few highlights
from me and then highlights from the boys!

Since worship is our central theme to Camp Out, we have one worship
service each day we are here. On Tuesday, Rachel Moore was our preacher
for our midday service and the girls lead in every aspect of the service
from tolling the hour to singing “Little Lamb” as the offertory anthem to
praying, reading scripture, and ushering. On Wednesday, Suzann Herrmann
and the boys led the evening service at the water. Suzann preached on
looking up and finding God wherever we are. The boys sang Amazing Grace
and ended the service with a joyful “I’ll Fly Away”. As is our tradition,
on the morning we leave, we will have our final Camp Out worship service
outside at the giant cross here at Artesian Lakes. Anna Rader is our
preacher and the camp counselors lead in worship. All of our worship was
based in Psalm 92 this year.

MKCampout2016FWe played at the playground, played capture the flag, hiked, swam, flew
down the slides into the lake, and shopped at the gift shop for candy and
souvenirs. In between all of the fun, we talked about and practiced
different disciplines for personal worship. Amanda Villasenor talked to
us about what the Bible says about personal time with the Lord and how
she practices journaling. We made our own journals and journaled
throughout camp. Emily Westerburg talked to us about the importance of
devotion time and how she and Mr. Trey do this together and separately.
We also talked about ways to ask for prayer from our friends and ways we
can pray when we can’t find the words and when we only want to share our
thoughts with God. We made teeny, tiny prayer boxes, lit candles, and
prayed for each other.

MKCampout2016E

And now highlights from the boys:

I loved everything about this camp. My favorite parts though were playing
with my friends, swimming, free time, and seeing wildlife. –TrevorMcLaughlin

I love camp because we can have fun. My favorite part in camp is the
slides and seeing wildlife. -Ulysses Paredes

I liked naming the wildlife. That is my favorite thing. -Cody Sawyer

I love swimming with my friends and spending time with my friends. For
swimming, I love the slide! -William Fowler

My favorite thing here to do is Circle Time and free time. -Timothy Kutz

Quiet time is my favorite time at camp. -Marco Campos

My favorite part about MainKids Camp Out is hanging out with my church
friends. I love playing tag, swim, and do a bunch of other stuff. -Lee
Fowler


MainKids Camp Out 2016

June 23, 2016

MKCampout2016DBy Dolores Rader, Minister to Children

Our fourth and fifth graders are at a point in their lives when they are ready to exercise their gifts of leadership and to dig deeper into the practices of corporate and personal worship. Camp Out at Artesian Lakes is the perfect place to safely and boldly lean into these two ideas. Below is a sentence or two from each of the 9 4th and 5th grade girls on what their favorite aspect of Camp Out is, but before you read on to their favorites, let me briefly share some of my favorites.

I love that we bring high school youth to serve as the perfect role models to the children in how we lead with a servant’s heart. They work REALLY hard and at the same time swim and play games establishing relationships to ease the transition to the Youth Group, sing songs around a campfire introducing them to Youth music and traditions, and sit side by side in worship praising and praying together.

One of my other favorite elements of Camp Out is our tradition of “Circle Time”. Every child, youth and adult gets the opportunity to sit in the middle of a big circle surrounded by all the rest of us, where we each, one by one, sisters and brothers, boys and girls, best friends and new friends, offer a sincere blessing which begins “What I like about you is…”. It is a beautiful gift of affirmation to receive and a empowering gift to give. This tradition is life giving and life transforming.

I could on and on about all of my other aspects of Camp Out, but for now hear straight from the kids and counselors themselves…

 

My fav part of camp is riding the horses. It’s fun. #horses

Gillian Tinsley

I love to ride things mainly horses, and Lily G. Hot coco in my mouth is the best! J Playing games in circle time is great!

Isabella Campos

MKCampout2016A

During camp, everyone has a secret helper. Their secret helper is extra nice to them and pushes them in the right direction.

Elaina Mays

The absolute best thing about camp out is the opportunity to watch each and every child be authentically and completely themselves! We have the BEST kids!!

Amanda Villasenor

I love the outside space at Artesian Lakes. Our house is huge, and I love how big our living room is. #lake

Lily Gribble

MKCampout2016B

I loved the pool another favorite is the slide and finally the store the best of all the three!

Kiran Harper

One thing that I love about Camp Out is swimming. I also love the Gratitude Cafe. I also love circle time.

Lily Durden

The absolute best part of camp is quiet time when all my friends come in my room and we have a snack party and talk. It is nice being new to the church and getting to know everybody. I love circle time a lot. I also enjoy swimming.

Jessie Horton

One thing I like so far in camp is hanging with my friends. Another thing I like about camp so far is Gratitude Café. The last thing I like so far in camp is the swimming and the alligators.

Kayden Nickel

 

One of the many things I love about Main Kids Camp Out is Gratitude Café. First thing in the morning, everybody in the house gathers to make crazy drinks – topped with sprinkles and whipped cream, and talk about the many blessings for which we are grateful. Gratitude Café allows us to really reflect on the joys in our life, from tangible objects to our friendships and opportunities. This daily morning ritual fills our hearts with thanksgiving and prepares us for the day.

Anna Rader

MKCampout2016C

My favorite things about Camp Out are:

-Swimming in the lake

-Circle time outside

-Free time

Rachel Kee

My favorite thing about Camp Out every summer is watching the development of every child’s leadership skills! I have especially loved so far this week seeing both the fourth and fifth graders be and grow into incredibly mature and thoughtful members of our church family, and I am so excited for the future of the youth group and the church in the hands of such open-minded and knowledgeable Christians. The respect and care for which each and every child treats their peers and counselors and their unrelenting curiosity and joy has made Camp Out this summer an unparalleled experience!

Elysa Tulek


Peru Mission Trip Summer 2016 Day 5

June 16, 2016

By Brian Chambers

On our first mission trip to Peru our group was able to visit La Plaza de Armas, the beautiful area within Lima containing the Presidential Palace, Congress, and the Cathedral of Lima. Though we could walk around the cathedral’s impressive exterior, we were previously unable to enter.

PeruDay5.JPGHowever, this time around our small group was fortunate enough to be allowed to enter into this awe-inspiring building. Enormous sculptures of meticulously crafted wood and stone adorned several inlets within the main chamber of the cathedral, great care taken to perfect even the smallest aspects of the artwork. Our tour guide, Marta, took us into the crypt below the altar. Once in the crypt our music minister, Carey Cannon, lined up the youth choir and we proceeded to sing “Esto Les Digo”. The sound of the music echoed through the catacombs, enhancing our voices. Other visitors to the cathedral came down the narrow stairs leading to the crypt, some with cameras in hand, to listen. The entire experience was extremely moving and unforgettable!

Brian Chambers is beginning his Freshman Year at Texas A&M this Fall. He was active in band, but this week is helping in the Discovery (science, art, gardening) and Recreation Classes at OSA. He is the son of Mark and Jeannie, and the brother of Suzanne.


Peru Mission Trip Summer 2016 Day 3

June 14, 2016

By Isabella Baar-Hill

As a member of the music and dance team on the mission trip to Peru, I teach the kids songs and dances to perform for their parents and friends at the end of the week. Breaking through the language barrier, we learned specific Spanish words that are often used in teaching music and dance. During our second full day in Peru at OSA, we presented the children with the theme of Cultural Exchange; we worked from American & Texan perspectives so the kids got a taste of our culture. During dance, we played many rounds of musical chairs (a game I’ve quickly learned they LOVE). We only played English music because that’s what we know and brought with us. While others led the game, I played and stopped the music, watching the kids from the side lines. I began to notice that the kids were quietly singing and humming along to our English songs, words they couldn’t have known. I realized these kids were subconsciously, and joyfully learning our culture in ways we had not planned.PeruSummerBlogDay3During the music classes, Carey took time to teach and translate words we could use in common enabling us to bond with them in a unique way. I was reminded of how excited the kids were two years ago when I came when they would ask how to say things in English and I’d attempt to teach them. This was a new and eye opening experience because I was accustomed to being their student, struggling to learn Spanish. Their willingness to overcome our foreign language and pronunciations with attitudes of joy is a gift I will carry home with me. Their openness to a new culture despite the struggle is inspiring. Every moment I spend with these kids who show such eagerness to learn despite failure, makes me strive more and more to be like them.

Isabella Baar-Hill completed her Junior Year at Houston Christian High School. She is the daughter of J Hill and Hillevi Baar.


Peru Mission Trip Summer 2016 Day 2

June 14, 2016

By Drew Barkley

Day one of VBS. We’ve spent weeks preparing songs, dances, crafts, games, stories, etc. all for today. For my team, recreation, we had thought about the games we wanted to play with the kids and how the games could relate to the daily scripture and theme. We even prepared back up games in case we had to call an audible, or had extra time at the end.

This is not my first Peru trip, and certainly not my first time leading a group of kids, even in a foreign language. Each time I’m working with kids whether it’s at VBS, here in Collique, or working at a camp, I always try to have everything prepared and ready to go for day one. However, I seem to forget that no matter how much I prepare ahead of time, I will NEVER know what to expect each day.

PeruSummerBlogDay2As the OSA kids came in for the morning session, I found myself thinking, “Am I REALLY ready for this?” For me, I’ve had enough experience to know that the answer is “no”. Yet knowing that I’m not really ready doesn’t stress me out or worry me. I’ve learned that as long as I keep a positive attitude and a willing spirit, I can help and serve wherever and however I’m needed. So today I feel like I did just about everything: told bible stories, led games, ate deformed PB&Js, and learned how to assemble a wooden penguin (which was a lot harder than we expected). To some, my day of running around being a leader, an interpreter, and a teacher sounds chaotic and exhausting. Truthfully, days like today are why I come on trips like these. I get to have an abundance of such diverse experiences all in one day. It’s my hope that our youth continue to dive into to the work we have started this week and find the same joy I do in working with the people of Collique. 

Drew Barkley is a recent graduate of Emory University, fluent in Spanish, and is leading our Bible Story and Recreation rotations with VBS at OSA. This is his third trip to OSA, and first as an adult chaperone.


Peru Mission Trip Summer 2016 Day 1

June 12, 2016

By Anna Rader

Today, we got the opportunity to visit OSA’s new church, Luz de Esperanza, and meet some of their youth as well as participate in their worship service. As returning youth, we saw some familiar faces and encountered new ones as we passed through confused faces and broken translations with silly games, from finger jousting to Gigantes, Magos, y Duendes. Sharing some of our own youth group game traditions, we got to know the other youth and break the ice. After these games, we sang for them in both Hebrew and Spanish and listened to a heartwarming story told by Kevin and translated into Spanish by Dennis. As we worshipped together, we realized that while we may speak different languages, sing different songs, or pray in different ways, we all worship the same God. Our faith unites people from Houston, Rome, Collique, and many other cities around the world, which is a very comforting and humbling feeling.perusummer2016Day1.jpg

Anna Rader is a recent graduate of Manvel High School. In the Fall she will be attend William & Mary.


How Can I Find God…Reflections by Greg Funderburk

June 20, 2014

One of my favorite things to do on summer vacation used to be hitting an amusement park. I loved the roller coasters that looped and corkscrewed and turned me upside down. The forces and the the velocity-charged changes in perspective was the attraction. However, my age and the accompanying fact that the function of my inner ear balance mechanism is apparently fossilizing keeps me from riding these coasters 5 or 6 times in a row like I used to growing up.

Nevertheless, I do still enjoy being turned upside down by a writer, theologian, dramatist, or artist who dramatically changes my perspective. As together we read through our summer congregational book, How Can I Find God, I wanted to point out the perspective-changing offering of Stanley Hauerwas which appears roughly half way through the book, on page 75 and 76. Hauerwas, is a Christian ethicist, author, and professor at the Divinity School of Duke University where our own Amy Grizzle-Kane studied with him. He turns the book’s central question around writing that “God is not easily found because we cannot ‘find’ that which is so near to us as our next breath…”

He asks if perhaps the better question therefore is, “What do I do now that God has found me?”

He goes on to teach that one can fully discover that God has already found them by seeking out a person who is an adept follower of Christ, writing that such apprenticeships are readily available by simply going and getting involved at a local church. So, even as you are away this summer, stay close to your church home and your co-followers of Christ. And if you are nearby this summer,  come to church, where you will discover how near God already is as you worship each Sunday. As Professor Hauerwas puts it, “…nothing can be more important than simply turning up and placing one’s self amidst people who are praying to and praising the One know as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”

Stay Close.


How can I find God? Insights by Amy Grizzle Kane, Minister to Adults

June 9, 2014

Sister Helen Prejean answers the question in our summer book, How Can I Find God? and writes how she finds God in the faces of the poor and struggling people of the world.  She has spent a lifetime serving the least of these and her service has evolved into a special passion for persons on death row and in prison and their families.  Guilty or not guilty, it’s not for her to say.  It’s her calling to love no matter what. 

I have read her book, Dead Man Walking, and I have heard her speak here in Houston.  She is truly a phenomenal woman of God’s grace and strength.  I think sometimes our temptation is to almost immediately say, “well, I could never do that, so how will I find God if that’s how she did it?”

As we read through this book this summer, we might all have moments where we say, “Well, I’ve never experienced God that way” and it’s important to remember that’s ok.

Even Sister Prejean says, “I can’t function if I don’t have that sense of being at the center of myself and in the soul of my soul, so that I am truly operating from the inside out.”

She reminds us that each of us is created in the image of God and each of us has a gift and a passion that God gives us.  Perhaps in finding that and staying true to who each of us is as a child of God (operating from the inside out) is part of the journey of “finding” our God, who is, actually, always present.

Do you find you have a sense of wholeness, a centeredness in God, when you operate from the inside out?  What does that mean to you?


A Saturday Well Spent: Discovery Day, October 6!

October 2, 2012

ImageBy Kyle Barsch

Kelly and I had the privilege of participating in Discovery Day back in April 2012. To be honest, I wasn’t sure exactly why I should attend. Did I have a spiritual gift, or how would I actually use one if I did? I could not have been more wrong.

The entire experience was eye opening, and I got far more out of the day than I could have imagined. I would urge everyone to attend if you haven’t previously had the opportunity. It’s an excellent time to learn more about yourself, your gifts, and how you can make an impact at South Main while growing the Kingdom.

For us, it was a great opportunity for discussion and fellowship with our church family.

A Saturday well spent!

 

Kyle and Kelly Barsch are South Main Members who teach Financial Peace University and Preschool Sunday School. They are proud parents of Eileen (3) and newborn baby Evan.


Meet Nely

August 16, 2012

ImageNely has a son, Ribaldo, in the Operacion San Andres’ secondary program. For work, Nely owns a little store inside of her house in Collique, where she sells all sorts of goodies including food, drinks, necessities, and office supplies. She has owned the store for about five years, but has just recently taken out a loan from her brother in order to grow her store. Just in the past couple of months she has been able to fill up her store with all that is shown in the picture. Nely got involved with OSA through a friend and is grateful for all that OSA has done for her son.

What does she need?
Since the growth of her business, Nely has lost control with the administration and organization of her inventory. She wants to learn how to administer her business so that she can see the profit she is making in order to care for her expenses, including paying back her loan to her brother and providing necessities for her family. Nely is a very hard worker and believes if she can do the basic organizing needed for her business, growth will occur. OSA is working to help her organize her store by showing her how to write down her inventory, find her profit, and invest back into her store so that it may grow.

How can we help?
Although Nely does not currently need any loans, encouragement for the hard work she is putting into her store is essential. Pray that she has the integrity and perseverance to continue to write down her inventory, find her revenues and expenses, and with discipline, find her profit. Nely is the only employee of her store, but to know that people around the world care for her and are working with her through prayer to grow her business could be one of the best ways to help grow her store. If you would like to send a letter through email to encourage Nely and remind her that she is not alone in working in her business, please send it to kabbring@operacionsanandres.orgOSA believes that this is the best way to maximize Nely’s talents and skills as a store owner. By encouraging her with prayer, you will be investing in the economic improvement of her family’s life.