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Luv Em Up Summertime Fun

On Saturday the Luv Em Up Ministries had a BBQ and games at the shore of a small lake hidden away in Lakeside.
Luv Em Up is a ministry that serves the needs of those both mentally and physically challenged, through sharing Jesus in worship and targeted preaching, while doing so in a loving family setting.
On the shores of the lake they cooked up burgers, dogs and all the fixings required for a cookout, everyone left filled to the brim with good food. The food line and activities were manned by a slew of Volunteers and worship leaders who had an excellent time of service.
 They had win a soft drink ring toss and water activities, but the by far favorite game was the pie in the face of two of the leaders in Luv Em Up, and the find the gum at the bottom of a whip cream pie. Their laughter filled the lakeside as they covered each other with whip cream
All of the fun was rounded off with excellent preaching and worship, worship with exuberant participation under the trees and warm sunshine.
Luv Em Up is a ministry that can always use volunteers to enable them to but on events for these awesome children of GOD. They are good events to bring your children to as they can experience ministry in action and be part of a family in a Do Something culture.
As Jesus so eloquently stated, “If you have done it to the least of these you have done it unto me.”

Dog Sunday at the Rock

On Sunday the barks of dogs, small, medium and large filled Rock Park as the Chula Vista Animal Care Facility offered dogs for adoption.
Children and adults met, bonded and went home together as dogs were offered free to loving families. There is nothing like a dog and a child bonding and loving each other.
you can see more photos on our facebook page
A boy and his dog…classic.

Let’s “Do Something” at Station 19

I have attempted to show in these few photos the elements of Saturday morning; not only the labor of love but the fun and laughter as well.
I just wanted the viewer to see all the people involved in making the day a success as the Rock strove to show their love and appreciation for the heroes who serve our community.

I like this one, a kind of abstract of the life of the Station

Striking a pose in front of Station 19.  I know it’s not the best compositionally, with one girl in the sun and the  brother with sunlight on his face. I should have rearranged them but I was being photographically lazy(we dont recommend being lazy, but the reality is mistakes happen and photography is a craft you constantly have to hone).
Deputy Chief Lorraine Hutchinson with Pastor Gary.  She gave a very nice and appreciative thank you speech to the Rock Peeps.
These photos were my attempt to show some work but also to be ascetically interesting. With each one I used a flash so that their faces and work was not dark and unusable from the back light and to save detail while retaining the blue of the sky. I liked the composition, with him looking trough the ladder down at me.
Wanted to show the fun and laughter had by all…Stepping away from her brush to take out a punching bag. A quick capture of some of the rockers being sprayed with water in a moment of fun and laughter…
It was a good day of service and I chance to but action behind our words of love, to live our faith.


Chick-Fil-A Military Appreciation Night | Sports Arena

On the 25th chick-fil-la, along with local sponsors held their Annual Military Appreciation Night. A way to say thank you from grateful businesses for the sacrifice and service of love these warriors and their families, past and present, give so unselfishly to their country.

Throughout the afternoon and evening spouses and children of deployed loved ones, families of returned military personal and individual military members and veterans filed through for a free meal and a big thank you from volunteers and Chick-fil-la workers, and a big cow.

Among those that passed through was a military child only a few months old and new born children in strollers hidden behind a blanket as they slept. On the other end of the spectrum was a 98 year old veteran of WWII, Korea, and Vietnam.

The children had an awesome time with the cow and watching the Crew play on barrel drums, playing and laughing. It was a good time had by all.

you can see more photos from Chick-Fil-A’s Military Appreciation Night HERE


Wednesday in Oaxaca

We went to San Baltazar to take portraits of kids and families and it was awesome, Hermano Jose’s favorite little girl was there and she is a character. A real sweetheart, she’s the little girl at top of MISSION Focused page you have seen her adorn the opening page.

The village totally old school, a step back in time as most of the indigenous people live in these types of villages.

The Church gate was locked and we hung around near a home next to the Church where they came out and gave us great tamales’, not like American tamales which are mostly two pound s of corn and a sliver of filing. While these tamales were just the opposites, thin corn shells and lots of filling.

We watched the slaying of the chicken and the plucking and the preparation of tamales on or with ancient cooking utensils and the steaming of said tamales in an old pot over an open flame on the ground. They even allowed us to prepare tamale ourselves. It was more than cool.

Terry


Oaxaca Day 7

Day seven left me in the deepest contemplation of my week in Oaxaca. I took me back to times in my life when I was faced with the question of how much would I give up for Jesus. Have I counted the cost of discipleship? I think I have but I wonder if that is really true, it is easy and I guess noble to say yes I am.

Remains of 1st Christian church in San Jeronimo Tlacochahuaya, Oaxaca

Today we passed through a village that’s name is unpronounceable ( sahn he-RO-nee-mo tlah-ko-chah-WAH-yah ) let alone spell able on the way to Santa Cruz, a rustic village that will take you back to the 19th Century. While passing through that town we came upon an old burned out Church and were told that it was the first Christian Church in Oaxaca, the Catholic church burned it down with the Pastor inside.  I thought of stories I heard as a Short-term Missionary about a Chinese Pastor who would preach the gospel, get thrown in prison get released and told not to preach and went promptly back to sharing the Gospel and get thrown back in prison and that was a hard labor prison. I believe he served about 20 years, a year or two at a time.

While in Russia we were told that instant conversions were rare. Back in the day when someone came to the Lord he or she may lose their job, decent housing, their kids denied upper education, maybe prison, or even death…before they decided to follow Jesus they counted the cost and were not uncommitted.

I had a Careers Pastor who continually challenged us to count the cost, take up our cross and follow our Lord. In America there is not much cost for me or rather it is easy to ignore. And I must confess that I am guilty of being a noncommitted or even at times an undercover Christian.  As I looked at that Church and we drove away I thought of a young man in Africa who became a Christian and his Muslim master nailed him to a cross, he was rescued and serves faithfully to this day.

I can name many other modern day martyrs who have counted the cost and were found faithful, and I ask have I counted the cost and am I willing to pay the cost. I hope that when that day comes GOD will be able to say of me well done thou good and faithful servant.

Terry


The Lord’s Day in Mexico

This is day six and my second blog… I don’t like writing blogs, no doubt stemming from the fact that I type slowly with two fingers, but I have been told it is a necessity in the computer age…

But I do have a thought to share something that amazes me, something I see often in third world cultures, and that is the amazing worship and commitment to the Lord I see as people come to small buildings with corrugated roofs that are warm, very warm in the sun and noisy in the rain.

Sunday I had the opportunity, no privilege, to attend two services at different Churches.  The first was at La Unica Esperanza and in the evening their sister Church at San Baltazar. Though it is the same Pastor serving each one, Pastor Americo, the two churches could not be more different.

At La Unica Esperanza the worshippers were much more expressive in their worship, by raising their hands in praise or placing one hand over their heart and the other wiping away a tear of love and thanks-giving. It was the type of worship I saw at a Charismatic Catholic Church in Oaxaca. The other Church which I think I can say was one with a more indigenous congregation was more stoic or reserved. That is not to say that the depth of worship and love for the Lord GOD was less, it was not but the expression of love was different. Both left one with a sense of being with a people who loved Jesus and had a sense of adoration for the Lord.

At San Baltazar they worshipped, then the people in the congregation shared testimonies and the guest Pastor preached.  After he preached they took an offering and then Pastor Americo preached. That’s like a Pastor from another state preaching at the Rock and then after the offering Pastor Miles preaching… a double dose.

Before the Pastor preached the children got up and went to Sunday school. The Sunday school was a 8 x 12 block building with one bare light bulb to provide a very dim illumination for the study. But to look at the adults and kids there it was as if they were in the Chrystal Cathedral.

Pastor John Maxwell once said, “It is not what happens to you, it is what happens in you that makes the difference.” And in the hearts of these brothers and sisters GOD reigns supreme. In San Baltazar outwardly they were dirt poor, they had a one room church and across the way they had a very small room for the kids. But in their hearts they were rich in love for our Lord. You could see that it was not their outward experience that impacted their lives but rather it was what GOD did in them that made them the kind of worshipper they are.

It is inspiring and humbling.

Terry


Oaxaca Day 1

Our landing in Oaxaca was uneventful and we arrived at Casa Arnel about 8:30am, had a nice breakfast, with awesomely sweet orange juice from fresh squeezed from local oranges. We washed up… I cold showered then we proceeded to the center of town near our hotel, visited some lovely Churches. Churches that had a sense of worship and where it was nice to spend a moment with GOD. I know some may have a problem with icons and so do I. But I ignored them and worshiped an awesome GOD, and sat in amazement as I considered my wonderful Savior and Lord, our Messiah Jesus.

I observed the Stations of the Cross and meditated on how very much our Savior suffered so that we who know Him have passed from death to life, Jesus paid a debt that He did not owe, one we could not pay.

We did have some trials hit our group, Jimmy got pick pocketed and lost some important stuff, but I’ll let him elaborate on his blog.I got left behind a couple of times, of course Bro Joe and Jimmy did not agree with my assessment but I’ll stick to my left behind story. One great thing that came of it is I could go to Churches and other sights and relax as I unhurriedly took in the sights and sounds of Oaxaca. Enjoyed children laughing, playing, either hiding or mugging for the Mission Focused Paparazzi, people praying, and merchants hawking their wares on the city streets.

Pray for James and I’ll talk at you later.

Terry


A Heart Matter…

Well the tourist stuff came to an end and yesterday (July 19th) the real reason for being here has begun; the children and the relationships we build with them that are both horizontal and vertical, the fun stuff.


Not that I didn’t have fun at Chichen Itza


and Dzibil Chalyon, it was awesome to see and photograph such monuments to the Civilizations of the Americas that rivaled Egypt, Greece, Rome, and so many others. As I look at them I think they are dead, remembered only because they are the weathered stone of mans past and fleeting glory, but what really last is what is done for GOD. And the real treasure of Mexico is not the archeological treasure that resides in stone and undisturbed earth, but the treasure that resides in the 52 hearts of each of those children that are here this week; the eternal treasure of a repentant and surrendered heart that our Lord GOD paid such an unimaginable price for.



I started to write this blog about all the fun I am having here and I I think of one little girl, Cesia, who captured my heart, I didn’t do anything but she just loved me, with that innocent love that can only come from the soul of a chil d.



The words I say next are as much or even more for me than anyone else, but my prayer is for the Lords conviction if this applies to any of you who read this.


But after I sat down to write this the Lord blocked out all the fluff stuff that I was going to write, you know the kind that Christians in the U. S. like to hear so they can go to sleep at night happy at not doing anything that makes a difference. Like the songs of praise from happy children, someone being fed or clothed but conveniently forgetting that after that food is gone they go hungry again, that food doesn’t multiply like loaves and fishes. The loaves and fishes are provided by GOD through us.


These children will go home to villages where the struggle is not what to eat for breakfast or dinner, as it is with us, but what am I going to have for breakfast or dinner. Where a father is not worried about such trivial things as where to have a business lunch as we do, but here, it may be can I feed my family today, tomorrow, where do I get medicine for my little ones cough, will he live or die.

Pastor John Maxwell once preached about the Church in the U. S. and how it was full of spiritual porkers, Christians that just sit in the pew and eat, and eat and do nothing the rest of the week and on the following Sunday they are back to chow down on spiritual food, never moving from the pew to do anything and they just grow fat and bloated, good for nothing. (Good for nothing my words).

He spoke about the 20/80 principal, that says 20% of the Church does all the work, all the giving, all the prayer, while 80% do nothing. Lord GOD forbid that any of us should be part of the 80, but many are, well 80%. It would in a Christian environment where Christians had any real concept of what Christ Jesus did for us and the terrible price GOD paid for our redemption and the redemption of the world the 80/20 principal, 80% would minister and 20% would be porkers. But since the Exodus it has been 20/80, just ask Moses.


The American Church has been blessed in every way and the Lord said to whom much has been given much will be required. We have a lot to answer for.


Dave (Miller) told me one of the big things they need are wells in the villages so they can have water for drinking and growing crops, crops that can both feed and provide a living, but nobody has stepped up to help purchase a drill that would change the lives of a whole village. And there are Corporations and people in America who can make this happen


I was also heard in a conversation that many Christians and Churches may not give something until the tribes people became Christians, this is not Biblical. Israel was told not to glean the fields so that the strangers and poor could come and gather food. When Jesus fed the 5,000 He didn’t say only those that believed could eat, no everyone was welcome. Or check out the story of the Good Samaritan. If a person is hungry and you feed him or naked and you cloth him or in prison and you visit him he will be more likely to listen to you and accept the Jesus you are sharing.


I guess the Lord GOD has been saying to me, “Do you love people the same way I love them. Do you shed a tear over the things I shed a tear over? Does your heart break like mine when someone dies without Jesus?” And sadly I must say, “No Lord.”


I sit here as I write this with tears coming often and I choke them back asking myself, “Is this what Jesus died for, so I and my brethren can sit back fat and comfortable in our Churches, and watch the world suffer and die without so much as a twitch.”


Sometimes I wish I had a pulpit to preach from but with what I’d say the Church would be empty.



Lessons

The first day in Mexico was somewhat uneventful, that is until we left Mexico City. As soon as I entered the cabin of the aircraft I found that my relatively new I-phone was missing, and on my return to Mexico City I had found it had not been returned. Two of my companions said forget that phone, it has gone the way of the dinosaur, at least as far as I was concerned. I refused though to lose faith in my fellow man, I thought, “I’d turn it into Lost and found, so why not someone else.”

It was not returned, and I was without a phone, and whoever found it had a phone with two e-mail accounts and all my contact information for the taking and no telling what else.

After this I thought what is the Lord GOD saying? Is any kind of Mission work in my future? Allow me to explain why I was thinking this way.

My first Mission Outreach was a two year stint in Russia, just before I left my Father died. We never had a good relationship but still it hurt some. He did not know the Lord and my prayer was the He would send someone in his last days to share, I do not know if that happened or not. Six months after I went to Russia my son died. That was the hardest, most sorrowful moment of my life. I wish I could have changed places with him, but I could not. I hung up the phone at 3am Russian time after my Mother told me what had happened. You know the words that Jesus said, “I will never leave or forsake you,” are often words with little real comprehension until it happens. When one is stripped bare and you have nothing but Jesus, no matter what you have, you really having nothing but Jesus. But when something tragic like this happens it takes on a whole new meaning and reality.

After I hung up the phone I fell on my knees and cried out in pain, I couldn’t even pray, I just wept. I finally said, after what seemed a moment in time and an eternity at same time, I love you Lord, I love you. I don’t understand but I trust you, I praised him not for my sons death but I praised the Lord GOD for who He was, I don‘t know if those were my exact words but that was the sense of my prayer. And then, and it seemed so real it was almost physical, and maybe it was, I felt GOD take me in His arms, hold me close in His lap, and heard in that still, small, peaceful voice, I love you, I am not going to change what happened, I know how you feel, I watched my son die, I love you. Hearing the Lord say I love you is one thing, but experiencing His love is a whole new dimension of love that is beyond words, it has to be experienced.

I told Satan and anyone that would listen that nothing, nothing, nothing will ever turn me away from GOD. Job, and I am not comparing myself to Job, said, “Even though He slay me, still I will trust Him.” I say amen!

Within A year after I returned from Russia my Mother died. It was another hard time but what I grew to miss most was her prayers. She was a prayer warrior and I was one of her top subjects or projectx, and the Lord knows I need all the help I can get.

When I went to the Cayman Islands I was in agony for the whole time, except in my sleep. Even though the cell phone was not a big thing in the scheme of things, it was kind of the proverbial straw that broke the camels back.

So I asked, “Is mission type of stuff out for me, or is it something you want for me. After all me and missions seemed a hard row to hoe.. The Lord said, “Just because it is easy does not mean it is my will and because it is hard does not mean it is not. Be faithful to your gifts and obey what I ask you to do. I ever said it’d be easy, but I did say I’d never forsake you, you’d never go it alone.”

I guess I said all that to encourage those that may face hard times and choices to remain faithful to GOD and be head over heels in love Him. And no matter what you have a loving Father in Heaven who will never leave or forsake you.

As we strive to do what God has for us we need to realize or I need to realize the value is in the eternal not the fleeting things of life. I will not be remembered for how much money I made, or the kind of photos I took. I will be remembered for the lives I touched for Christ, lives are the eternal and what can not be burned. Our true treasure,


Cayman 2010: Jesus in the Schools

As I strolled through my assigned school Monday, John A Cumber, and Wednesday Savanna and Bodden Primary I was once again amazed at how foreign schools and students are so polite. Not that they do not have troubled youth, but they are a decided minority.

I worked in schools in Russia for a year and have had some contact with schools in almost every country I’ve been in, and it never fails to amaze me at how, for the most part, the students are very well mannered and studious.
It seems that for U. S. students there is no expectation for excellence and thus they rise to the level of mediocrity which is expected of them. I guess those that are in authority in the education system in the U. S. are more concerned with little Johnny’s feelings or little Mary’s self esteem than producing young adults that can compete on the world stage or show some modicum of being educated beyond Kindergarten.

In Russia I met kids that could name all fifty of our States and the Capitals as well as much of our history, such as who Presidents Washington, Jefferson or Lincoln is and their contribution to history and the U. S. is not their country. While our students have trouble naming the Capital of their own state and think Washington is a street, Jefferson and Lincoln are schools. I have listened to ‘Man on the Street,‘ and sadly some college students and adults can’t answer those questions.  OK, I may be exaggerating a little here, but regretfully it has some merit.

I was at a Culture Center in Russia and I remember an eight year old girl said, “I’ve read, ‘War and Peace,’ three times, what are your kids reading?” And I replied, “Nintendo.”

One reason, I believe, is that they have some instruction in values and ethics.  When I went to Russia with the CoMission we were charged by  the Minister of Education with teaching Values and Ethic based on the life of Christ. Where in the U. S. can that be done? No where! It seems it is preferable to invite gangs, tennis shoe pimps and dealers to our schools than Jesus and  a culture of values.

But I digress, I believe that the reason for the high level of kindness and politeness can be traced back to the lack of fear in praying and mentioning Jesus. While in the States there is a morbid fear among Progressives against any mention of Christ, a fear so strong they will sacrifice their children, not on an altar of tolerance but an altar of intolerance for anything that is a threat to their life of slavery, shared by those lost to a life of sin and degradation.

While at Cumber, a public school, I looked at the curriculum from 1st form to 6th form and in the first year was included a comparative religion course, progressing to the life, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus in the sixth year.
At Savanna the teacher prayed with her students before snack, and none of the students, including the non-Christian students, were offended. During one assembly over 80 kids prayed a prayer of Salvation.

If Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday are any indication of God moving, then the Festival Friday and Saturday will be off the charts.

Terry Schwartz


Worship…

The same GOD, the same Spirit, different cultures, the same heart of worship.

It never ceases to amaze me at the heart of worship world wide, whether it is in Spanish, Russian or any language/culture that I have been exposed to, the praise and worship touches the heart and spirit in a way that mere human songs are not able to. But mix worship with any language or culture and the presence of the Lord shines through causing your heart and spirit to soar to heights of ecstasy unimaginable to the spiritually deprived.  This was encapsulated by watching one Cayman sister with her hands folded in as in prayer and her voice lifted in praise.

As I watched her I thought back to an afternoon in Ukraine. I had just flew into Kiev and needed to go to the embassy  before going to another city. The embassy was closed until the next morning and I walk away somewhat concerned. Most hotels were $150 or more per night and my money was short, I saw what looked like a hotel and prayed as I crossed the street. It was not a hotel and having never been in that city I was at a loss as where to go, but I continued to pray as I approached a taxi parked at the side of the road. I asked him in limited and broken Russian if he knew of an inexpensive hotel. I sat in his cab and seeing a fish I asked him if he was a Christian, he smiled and said yes and he asked me if I knew Pastor John Maxwell. I said wow, he was my former Pastor before I went on short term Missions in Russia.

He showed me a book in Russian written by John Maxwell and he said Pastor Maxwell had just spoken at his church. He took me to a hotel that was a hole in the ground, and he then asked me to stay at his home and the next day he took me everywhere I needed or wanted to go.

Then as I thanked GOD the Lord asked me why was I surprised when He answered my prayer, and I replied in repentance that I should not have been surprised but expectant of a miracle.

As I watched this sister in worship and thought of this I smiled and though no matter where I go in the world God is there and His people desire to serve him and minister to the saints.

This morning at the Agape Church was a blessing as I was able to experience the heart of worship and an added bonus was the children singing to the moms in the congregation on this happy Mothers Day.

Terry Schwartz


Ready…

About three weeks ago, I had given up on going to the Cayman’s with Miles Ahead with all the doors having slammed shut and resignation taking root in my heart. The Lord opened the door with a suddenness that caught me open mouthed in surprise. Saddly a friend fell ill and could not go and asked that I receive the trip.

I was saddened by the reason  I was able to go but thankful to God that He allowed me to realize a great desire to be a difference maker in our Rock Do Something World.

The Wednesday before our departure I went into the dentist to have some serious work done, but work I thought would make my journey to the Cayman Islands better. But satan apparently wanted to stop me cold in my tracks.

Since Thursday I have been in terrible pain, unable to swallow or speak without excruciating pain, and tonight was the worst. But I am reminded that some of our greatest blessings are preceded by agony. The birth of a child who is a great joy after the birth to the agony and glory of Jesus sacrifice on the cross, the lamb of GOD slain for the sins of the world.

I look at my pain but also God moving and allowing me to go on this Do Something Mission and I wonder, expectantly, about how He will show His glory in my life this week.

Terry Schwartz


Jackie Robinson YMCA, Do Something World


Camp Rock…Academy: High School Years

The day was filled with fun as evidenced by the laughter and smiles of the Rock High School kids.

They ran off in different directions in their free time to play football, volleyball, archery, and the challenge of the low elements course and the breath taking, sky high obstacle course of the high elements where they took a measure of themselves and learn a little about trusting the Lord as they sometimes dangled 30 feet above the ground.

After a delicious dinner of steamed veggies, and lasagna they went to Windfield Hall for worship and an inspirational testimony from their Volleyball coach about seeking and finding GOD. I was impressed by these teenagers as they worshiped and listened intently to the message.

Teenagers that face a world that is none too kind, with pressures and problems unimaginable when I was in High School. These young Christians look around at life in the 21st Century and instead of throwing up their hands in surrender they throw up their hands in worship and praise, and instead of escaping into a world of drugs and a drunken stupor they fall on their knees and pray. Praying to a GOD that they know loves and hears them.


Wonder Years

(more…)


Rock Academy 6th Grade Camp

The day began as all 6th grade camp first days begin, loud and kids everywhere, ecstatic at five days of freedom, but the I miss mommy will come in a couple of days. The I miss mommy will be tempered by great new friends and maybe a few bffs.

They seemed to like the food, food fit only for 6th graders whose taste buds are still under developed. They learned about fire before dinner, the power fire, how to use it as a tool, how it is misused, and how to extinguish the different types.

After dinner they hiked around to the Tepees and gathered before a campfire where they were treated with jokes that had Bro Joe and the other adults rolling in the dust and slowly dawning on the kids who erupted in laughter, one by one.

After the jokes there was a devotional that challenged them to a higher commitment to GOD, one that will last longer than a mountain top experience. Before they were released to prepare for the night games the offer was made to remain behind and sit quietly around the fire and listen and talk with the Lord. I must confess that I was surprised by the number of kids that remained behind at the fire, to commune with the Lord.

Now they are tuck safely in bed with visions of sugar plums dancing in their dreams, oh, sorry that is a different story, one for another day.


Thursday at AMP’D

Last night after Pastor D preached and there were prayers with counselors a Jr. High boy ran up to me excited and proclaimed loudly that he had excepted Christ, and the next morning during Chapel again  proclaimed his newfound faith in Christ to everyone. And a few moments later two young girls proclaimed their status as BFF’s, Best Friends Forever. For twenty minutes boy’s and girls got up and testified how camp had impacted them and how many made decisions for Jesus.

The day was for the most part light and fun with the counselors joining in crazier than the kids.

I think worship took on a whole new meaning after Wednesday nights salvations.


Connecting with God

Today the most significant thing was the worship and seeking of GOD. Whether it was the boys in the cool of the garden reading the Word and praying or kids weeping after an encounter with Jesus at the end of Pastor D’s sermon. There were a lot of GOD connections today.

 


God is Awesome

The day began and was filled with laughter and the joy of just being young and alive, with interrupted with random acts of kindness and the sharing of a heart filled with love that comes from a meeting with the Lord.

The boys were, as they often are, teasing, challenging and being competitive, but at the same time willing to jump in with another team and encourage them across the finish line.

The girls were very different, not afraid to cry and always eager to hug and be compassionate to one another, it’s awesome.

 

But the most touching moment for me was with a boy and his counselor.  During the hike as the sun set a young boy who had difficulty walking had a counselor close by knell down and lifted him up on his back and carried him up the mountain. I thought as I observed this, isn’t it like Jesus who carries us when the burdens of life over whelm us and we can’t go on any further.

What an ending to an awesome day with some awesome kids.

***to see pics from monday please go HERE***


Time With God

When I stepped out of my car here at Indian Hills Camp there was not a soul in sight and while I waited for the kids I was able to commune with the Lord and His wonderful creation. I strolled along the creek bed and observed the awesome creativity of GOD. No tree was the alike some gnarled with branches flinging their braches toward heaven, others charred from the last wild fire, each with their own beauty and uniqueness. I even saw a black bobcat up above the camp that looked like a mini jaguar, he was more cautious of people than people were of him.

By mid-afternoon the children arrived with their laughter and playfulness, the girls posed and were charming young ladies until dinner and then they made faces and stuffed their mouths with pizza. While the boys were goofing off as soon as they stepped off the bus, and seemed to delight in out doing each other in their craziness, but a good craziness that brings a laugh to your soul.

At the outdoor amphitheatre they danced in abandonment and joy but when the worship began they were suddenly quiet and were transformed into Angels raising their hands and eyes toward GOD in love and adoration.

To me this is always the highlight of a day with the kids, is experiencing worship so true and innocent. You could almost look up and see the Lord looking down with a smile on His Face.


A Blessed Perspective

As a photographer at a Rock event, such as the High School Camp that I just attended, I have a unique view, to be more accurate, a blessed perspective as the Lord allows me to look on the miracles He is doing among both kids and counselors, the hearts He may be breaking and the healing that He is accomplishing.God allows me as a photographer to capture an image that immortalizes a moment when He is moving in the heart and soul of a young life, but I am also an honored observer that that sees GOD’s interaction with a tender heart, in a way that the casual bystander never sees or is aware of.Kids today, as in the past, deal with feelings of inadequacy, a self image that is damaged by peers at school or sadly sometimes parents and siblings, and a need in their young life to be genuinely loved; loved unselfishly, rather than a I love you if… a love they found in the arms of Christ this week, unselfish and pure.

Thinking of these things as I took certain photos I was touched and impressed by those that reached out to each other during worship and praise. I remember a young girl who was very shy and quiet who had tears streaming down her face and one of her counselors leaned over and enveloped her in love and compassion, as words of praise rose up to heaven, The Lord was doing a work in both of them as they clung to each other in a deep embrace and both sang, and glorified the Lord in tears.

On Saturday morning as Nova brought us before the throne of GOD. Two young ladies fell onto their knees as the Lord reached into and stroked their hearts with fingers of love. They prayed in each other’s arms, sang, and prayed some more while the whole time holy tears streamed down their faces.

Young men left behind the macho culture that tries to shape their lives at school and in the world as raised their arms in surrender to our Lord Jesus as He continued the process of turning them into real men, Young Men of God. Directly opposite were sweet young ladies, lives sweetened by the Spirit of GOD. As they raised their hands to heaven I could see the Lord smooth out the rough edges and shaped them into precious daughters, Princesses of GOD, in a moment that stretched into eternity as love for GOD sprang from their tender hearts.

What one could take from this week is that GOD is preparing a new generation of Do Something believers that have the potential of turning their world upside down for Christ. Young people who have no limits accept what they put on themselves. So dream and dream big, because with GOD and that dream can be a reality and they can shake the foundations of a world without Christ.


Our Trustworthy Guide

Psalm 32:8-9

Years ago, while I was on a photography trip, the Lord taught me a valuable lesson about leading and following. My party had been hiking on a trail for three hours or so when I began to experience a dreadful feeling. I had a sneaking suspicion that we were traveling the wrong way. When I asked our guide about it, he calmly reassured me that we were, in fact, heading in the right direction.
Well, that quieted me for a few minutes, but this persistent sense of being off track simply would not go away. So I pulled out my compass and discovered that, sure enough, we were heading the wrong way. When I pointed this out to our guide a second time, he finally stopped to think about it. After examining the compass, map, and trail markers, he realized that we really were off course. We lost about three hours–and some beautiful photo opportunities–because our guide wasn’t leading us correctly.
That experience taught me how vitally important it is to trust in the person who is guiding us. Beyond the hiking trail, this holds true in business, church, families, or any other relationship. If we can’t trust our guide–if we cannot put our complete faith in him or her–we’ll end up lost.
So let me ask you: Who is your guide? Are you following celebrities or news reporters? Are you trusting in politicians or business leaders? If you’ve placed your absolute faith in anyone or anything other than your heavenly Father, you’re already off course. He is our one trustworthy Guide. Seek Him and get back on track today.

Power of Music

This is Lauren Silva and I have been a part of the Camp Sevnone staff for this camp for the past month running the Music Track. I have done 3 camps now with High School and Junior High. There are so many testimonies throughout this month with this camp experience and with my music track, that I don’t even know where to begin. I’m going to try and wrap everything up into one main theme if I can. As someone who was rescued from so much pain and suffering and turmoil in my life, not growing up a christian, I was able to especially notice the amazing act of God with some of the toughest kids we had up here.

Music is such a powerful and influential gift in this world and I have been blessed with the gift of being able to see kids go from super introverted and scared to even share their talent with a few people to going up and doing open mic every night and really shining in their performance they get to do at the end of camp. Every kid successfully wrote and recorded and performed a song that they put together with groups that they were put in at the beginning of the week. A lot of them didn’t even know each other and came from different backgrounds and music styles. I watched these kids become like family with each other and work together to complete the goals as a team. Most importantly, I saw how these kids came face to face with some issues that they had never even talked about before and open up and share with others and refuse to be in bondage to the negative things in their lives. There were kids who shared how they learned more about who God really is and how much they wanted to follow him. In the music track, they were able to express themselves through songs and poetry they wrote to hopefully help set them free from things they may have been holding inside them.

There was one particular girl who had shared at our music track bonfire that she had been abused by her parents and let it all out with deep emotion and then at the performance at the end of camp, she shared publicly from the stage about that and then expressed that she was not going to allow it to hurt her anymore and she wrote a song called “Don’t Cry” that she sang for us as her own solo thing.

That is just one of many stories and showed me even more how much God is in music that comes from the hurting soul and can be so effective in bringing us closer to Him and knowing HIM no matter what your beliefs are.

 

Lauren Silva

Camp SevnOne

Music Track Leader