Sunday, July 5, 2015

We're on our Way!

(Written on July 4th)

We said goodbye today.

I’m writing in the car as we make our way back to Boise. There were a lot of tears.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. First, I have to tell you what we did last night! Instead of our usual family time, where we study a book about the church, we decided to have a debrief. We talked about the trip: things we liked, things we didn’t, things to keep in the future (yes, the whole team is convinced there will be future trips… more on that later) things to change, high-points, low-points, the whole sha-bang (sp?). 

We said our goodbyes to some last night, and then hit the sack. This morning most of the team went rafting with the Smids. Pastor Jim, Clint, and I went golfing, and Denise rode along. Don’t ask how we played… I’m blaming my knee injury for my score.

As for the rafters, they had a wonderful time on the river. They said it was hot and the water was low, so they got a lot of chances to swim, which is the best part.

We got back and cleaned up the church, said goodbye, cried a little more, then hit the road. This will probably be the last blog post of the trip, so if you’re coming to the airport, we’ll see you at IAH at 4:50 pm tomorrow!

Thank you all for praying for us. God did some awesome things, and I know the team can’t wait to share them with you. The idea was suggested of a post-trip dinner. I’ll post again with details if this happens. Until then, all I can think to say is the advice that Paul gave to the church in Philippi. “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

(Written on July 5th)

We ended up getting to the hotel at around 10:30, and getting to bed around midnight. We got up at 4 this morning to be at the airport for our flight. Needless to say, we’re all exhausted. We should be coming into Houston at around 5!

Friday, July 3, 2015

A bit of a Delay...

We’ve had a jam-packed last two days. My apologies for neglecting the post for yesterday. During VBS, I was needed to play the part of “the angel” in the bible story, and so my usual time to write the blog post was not available. I never got any free time to make it happen.

During VBS the last two days we learned the story of the crucifixion and the resurrection. A few of the kids responded well. One of them said very matter-of-factly, “If 500 other people saw it, I think I’d believe too.” I couldn’t agree with him more.

After VBS yesterday, Sarah, a raft guide who has been taking the week off to help us out with VBS, treated us to a float in the eddy by her and her husband’s rafting shop. It is a pretty swift rapid that takes you down about a hundred yards, then shoots you back upstream. We had a great time doing that to unwind from a hard days work.

After coming back, the power went out all over town. It didn’t come back on until around midnight last night. We had to eat and shower in the dark.

The field night, however, was spectacular. We heard testimonies from our Erin Williams, and Megan and Sarah from Riggins. It’s very cool to hear the stories of kids who were attending VBS when we started this and who are now practically part of the team.

We had a lot of fun on the field with a DIY slip n slide. We took a large black tarp and sprayed water on it with some baby shampoo and had some fun slipping and sliding. Zach Richard and I got to where we were doing some tricks on the slip and slide. We did one where I went and when I got to the end of the track, he jumped over me and went the other way. We then decided to try one where we both go at the same time and he would jump over me in the middle…. It really didn’t work. You can see it on this youtube video! (I promise, we’re both fine. This incident actually didn’t

Today we had a parent event at the end of VBS. We played a slideshow of pictures, which I am working on uploading to youtube now. The kids performed the songs they’ve been learning, and Walley, Pastor Jim’s ventriloquism dummy, made an appearance.

After VBS today, we cleaned up the sanctuary and took down the decorations. It’s back to normal up there and that’s a little bittersweet.

After that, pastor Jim took us on a trip up to heaven’s gate, where we could see the seven devils. Those are all points on mountains around here. The kids got some great pictures. I was unable to make it up the mountain, as I hurt my knee yesterday. Prayer for some minor injuries all around would be appreciated.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Nathan is a Funny Guy...


What happened yesterday you ask? Well…

We started off the day with VBS and made a point of praying together as a group. This simple act gave us a noticeably increased unity. Everyone could tell. That was incredible. During VBS, the kids learned the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000. Benjamin and Nathan performed a magic trick where they made a basket magically fill up with cereal and goldfish, and then explained that while that was a trick, Jesus did it for real.

I was also very pleased with the canvasing that happened yesterday. We had two teams walk the town in the heat and give it their best effort. Erin Hoover’s team went further than any canvasing team has ever gone (literally… they got to the other end of the town where the rafting companies are set up!) They went so far, actually, that I had to go and pick them up because it was too hot for them to make that walk a second time.

A few of our students went to do a service project of preparing a welcome home for Kay Peyton, a woman returning home after battling cancer for 5 months down in Houston. She has not beaten the disease yet, and so we are praying for her like crazy. The team went and cleaned her house thoroughly and decorated her from fence with yellow ribbon to welcome her and her husband home.

After all of that we had some delicious lasagna then headed up to the field. We had Joshua and Hannah share their testimonies and they both did superb jobs. Hannah actually isn’t part of our Texas team, but a teen from here in Riggins. We met her 6 years ago, and now she’s 17 years old and sharing her own faith with our team!

The interview today is with Nathan:

Stephen: What do you think of the trip so far?

Nathan: It’s good.

Stephen: Do you have a favorite kid at VBS?

Nathan: probably the consensus is that Jaxon or Rayden are the coolest kids. They are pretty hilarious. Jaxson runs like Mario.
Stephen: Rec night?

Nathan: It’s fun. I’ve had a headache most nights, but throwing around a Frisbee with all the Rigginites is pretty good. It takes a lot of pressure off of the situation.

Stephen: Any last words for people at home, things to pray for, or stories to tell?

Nathan: Yes.

(Nathan’s a funny guy.)

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Let the games begin!

I made a momentous decision. We’re going to do morning time blog posts from now on. Nights are a constant fight against time.

Yesterday was day one of VBS! We had a wonderful time. We had 44 kids register. And our team really stepped up to the plate.

If you don’t know, the theme of VBS is “Agency D3.” It’s a secret agency and we are command central, trying to find the evidence for Jesus! Director of the agency, Clint, made an announcement that a mole is in our midst! We’ve got someone hacking into the system and trying to steal all of the cookies for snack.

The bible story was Jesus’s baptism. Josh and Nathan did a good job of teaching the story.

If you could pray for the kids coming to VBS, that the gospel would penetrate their hearts. Also, pray for a little more focus on their part. The team was working pretty hard to keep them on point.

After VBS we went canvasing, walking around the town to meet people and invite them to the field night, and made a trip back out to shorts bar to see if there was anyone there to bring along.

I use the term “we” loosely, because I used the opportunity to sleep. From what I understand, it was very good.

Field night was awesome. “We” decided to change our usual format to have a little more of a discussion time than a preaching time. (this time “we” is in quotes because it was my decision on the spot and I sprung it on everyone at the last minute.) The students are still sharing their testimonies, but I realized that all of the Riggins people who came to the field night, about 9, were Christians! That allowed us to have a time of encouragement and discipleship instead of evangelism. This was an interesting twist, and a few of the students from Riggins are going to share THEIR testimonies! This kind of a twist is very awesome to see.

Today we’ll have a little interview with Caleb to see what he thinks of things…

Stephen: What do you think of the trip so far?

Caleb: So far, I think it’s been incredible, just because even though we started off not as prepared as we thought we were, God still came through. The studies have been very illuminating, helping me to see the church in a different way… not as an activity, but as an actual body, an actual physical presence.

Stephen: Do you have a favorite kid at VBS?

Caleb: Probably Mackenzie. She is the most…. She’s very intelligent for a little girl, and I respect that. She is hilarious and super cute. When you’re sitting on the ground playing legos with her, it’s fun to see what she comes up with. She made a dungeon and showed me where “all the bodies are, that couldn’t get out!” We thought, let’s not cross you.
Stephen: Rec night?

Caleb: So far we have some good responses to the change in direction at what Rec night is gonna be. Now that we’ve given them the reigns and said, “hey where do you wanna go with your learning?” Before they would just say like, “Oh yeah, that’s a good story, I can kind of sympathize,” and go on their merry way. But now that we’ve given them the reigns it gives them something to really think about because it’s something personal. It’s about their life as well.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Busy Days, Busy Nights

Howdy All!

I apologize for not getting the blog post up last night… we had a BUSY day! It was non-stop, and that’s not a figure of speech.

For starters, we ran the church service. I preached (Yes mother, we did record it like you asked), Josh, Jared, Caleb, and Erin led the praise music, and everyone did a fantastic job of pitching in to make the service as good as it could be. I believe it was.

After that we went straight to the church picnic, and it was HOT. Boise had a record high of 110 degrees yesterday, and it got up to 108 here in Riggins. The heat aside, the picnic was a success. We played Ultimate Frisbee and Volleyball, squirted each other with water guns, and ate some wonderful food. It was a good time of fellowship and community that can only be experienced in the church body.

We were at the picnic for about two hours, and then came back to the church to decorate for VBS. We hung up posters, and tarps, and edited videos, and music. We prepped crafts, and practiced dances, etc. etc. etc. There’s a picture of Caleb and Erin this morning before VBS started at the bottom of the post. The kids are very excited.

We continued working on VBS Decorations until an event for dinner. We went across the street to the Assemblies of God church and heard a missions presentation from a very nice young man named Dustin Rinker. He is about to start working as a Chi Alpha missionary in Helena Montana on a college campus. He was raising support and they church invited our team to the fund-raiser dinner. If you’d like to hear about what he does and possibly donate to his work, you can email him at . Tell him that Stephen Curto, the guy from the Texas VBS team in Riggins, gave you his info. Based on what I heard and saw of him, I trust it to be a worthy mission to donate to. Helping to give college kids the answers for their faith is of paramount importance.

Also, at Dustin’s event, we finally got to sample some Idaho Potatoes as a team. The dinner was a baked-potato bar. It’s odd, but I think this is the first time in 7 years of coming to Idaho that the team has had potatoes as the main course!

After the dinner, we came back to the church and headed off for showers. After showers we had our family time, where we sing praises together, and discuss a book that we are reading called “What is the Church?” by R.C. Sproul. Please pray for those discussions that they would be fruitful and engaging, and that the students would be honestly searching for the truth and not just saying what they want us to hear.

After family time some of us finally made it to bed, but some of us had finishing touches to put on VBS.

Needless to say, after a day like that we were all exhausted. Please pray for energy levels here and that we will find time and make time to rest. It’s not good that we are already as tired as we are.
Other than that, thank you for reading!

P.S. Photo credit of the service goes to Tamara Martin today!