Sunday, July 10, 2016

Last Day – Community Picnic and Long Goodbyes

We woke early to pack and clean the school as well as get ready for the community picnic starting at 11:00 am.  Several Southend kids set their alarms and came early at 8:30 to help us.  Before we put them to work, they enjoyed sitting down with the team and eating breakfast. 
Preparing hotdogs for the community picnic.
Members of our team also went to the grave of Brandi, a girl the team met the first year going to Southend.  Brandi took her life about 1 and 1/2 years ago.  This was the first time we were able to visit her grave site.  Our team made a rock for her and placed it on the grave with Brandi's sister, Serena.  Serena has had a tough time since Brandi died and our team has been providing her with support and encouragement.
The Southend Health Services contributed hotdogs, fruit, drinks and freezie pops and we enjoyed working together to set up and prepare the food.  The picnic was well attended by kids, teens and several adults.  
We took a group photo of everyone and there was much hugging and tears….so many tears. 

Mary Thomas, a member of the community (and now a dear friend), presented the team with a beautiful box filled with personal letters and pictures from several kids, teens and adults thanking our team for coming and teaching about Jesus.  One boy said he wanted to pray that there wouldn’t be a fire next year so we’ll be able to come back
Mary Thomas and the gift of thank you letters & pictures.

We’re so thankful for the opportunity to share God’s promise of salvation through Jesus with the wonderful people in Southend and we can’t wait to be with them again next year.

Peter Geddes, manager of the Northern Store, and his wife, Betty.  They have helped our team for several years by providing food and drinks for our team and community events.  This year they provided food & water for us upon our arrival and also with food & drinks for the ride home.

Friday, July 8, 2016

VBS Day 3 and Teen Night

We woke up to rain this morning and needed to alter our plans for VBS again. J  We were able to use two of the school rooms for songs, skits & games.  Despite the wet weather, about 108 kids came and it again went better than expected.  We handed out the annual t-shirt to each of the kids.  This year’s t-shirt had the week’s theme of “Jesus – He’s Got the Power!”  on it.  The kids loved singing all the songs and they listened to the story of “David and Goliath”.  For games, we needed to be more creative than usual as there wasn’t much space to move around.  The craft consisted of going outside under the school’s entry (out of the rain) and everyone signed each other’s shirt.  This is always a highlight of the week!

David (on left) defeating Goliath (on right).

Game/Craft Time with the younger kids

Game Time with ages 7-9 playing "Red Rover, Red Rover"

"Telephone" with the older kids (ages 10-12)


Signing Tshirts

Nelson Cook, the Community Youth Director, Starla and his mother, Shawna graciously offered to make the VBS team hamburgers and hotdogs for dinner!  We enjoyed eating together outside, as it had stopped raining!

We were glad that we could have the 2nd teen night outside!  Each of the 50 teens received a red t-shirt.  We prepared 20 pizzas while the teens played volleyball and again made bracelets by the fire.  Christopher McLean led a devotion about God’s power and protection and Kate shared a personal testimony.

Vernice handing out Tshirts to the teens.
Teen devotion time
Teen Night

Thursday, July 7, 2016

VBS Day 2 and Women's Tea

We had around 110 kids (and the same dog) join us again for our second day of VBS.  They enjoyed praising God as they requested "just one more song" many times over.  The bible story today was Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.  We shared with the kids that God has the power to protect and that he will always be with us.  God is our Super HERO!  We had a super fun day of games and everyone was tired by the end of game time. J  We received thank you cards and a few cupcakes from some kids.  We've found that although we come to Southend to love these kids, they make US feel so special.

Acting out Shadrach, Meshach & Abednego
Southend kids were happy to answer questions about the Bible story.
Learning Bible Verses

Playing "Ships Across the Ocean"

Lucy (the puppet) singing "I've Got the Joy, Joy, Joy..." with all the kids.

All the kids sang with enthusiasm!!

So excited to dress up in a costume!!

The women prepared salad and cookies early in the day to get ready for the Women's Tea.  The Southend ladies arrived at 6:30 and we were able to greet them and hand out T-shirts to each one.  While drinking tea and eating together, we enjoyed seeing friends we had met in prior years and also were excited to meet new friends.  We shared favorite Bible verses and how God has worked in our lives.  There were moments of tears but also much laughter.  We are so thankful to God as He blessed each one of us with this time of faith & fellowship.

A wonderful group of women sharing faith & fellowship
During the Women's Tea, the VBS men and kids ventured to the Southend rocks to hang out with the kids.  The rocks are always great way to connect with the Southend kids.  On Tuesday, everyone swam there.  The water was even colder than we have experienced in the past and it took the kids' breath away.  Despite the cold, the kids had a great time laughing and playing together.


Wednesday, July 6, 2016

VBS Day 1 and Teen Night

We started the day with breakfast and team devotions.  Then the team prepared for VBS by practicing songs and the Bible skit.  Brian, Sandy, Angela, Kate & Celia went to the local radio station to promote all our activities.  Kids arrived early as expected and the first day of VBS began.  Over 110 kids ages 3 to 12 were officially registered.  In addition, several teenagers that had participated in past years came as well.  The day was a big success!  God provided good weather so we could have VBS outside in the playground.  We were concerned how it work to have everything outside because we typically have used the gym for most of the activities.  But, we all agreed that it worked better than we imagined proving that God is in control.  Just like the VBS theme for the week:  Jesus - He’s got the power!!
The teen night was also a success with many arriving early willing to help set up tables, chairs and the firepit.  There were over 50 in attendance which is the largest group of teens we’ve ever hosted.  The night consisted of a World Cup Soccer match, sloppy joes and a devotion presented by Christopher McLean.  We also offered crafts by the fire, conversation and s’mores.

2016 LAMP-Southend Team
 (We finally were able to get everyone together for a picture)

VBS Registration Table

VBS Music Time - Singing WTL
VBS Game Time - Tug-of-War
VBS Craft Time
Teen Night - Around the Fire
Teen Night - Devotion Time led by Christopher McLean
Teen Night - S'mores!!
Teen Night - Bracelets & God's Eyes
Teen Night - World Cup Soccer Match

Monday, July 4, 2016

Yay! We're Here!!

We arrived in Southend safely at 3pm.  The excitement was in the air as we drove through town and the local kids ran along side the cars as we drove to the school.  There were also about 20 kids waiting at the school to greet us and help unload the trailer.  Some of them had been waiting since noon.  It was a joy filled reunion as we exchanged greetings and hugs.  It’s amazing to see how the kids have grown and changed over the two years since we last saw them.

We learned after we arrived that the gym is no longer available to use for VBS.  We were reminded that we need to be flexible and trust that God will help us adjust our plans.  We’re praying for good weather and ask that you would also pray with us as we plan to hold VBS outside.

The rest of the day went quickly as we did crafts with the kids in the school yard, organized our supplies, ate dinner as a team and handed out fliers advertising VBS and Soccer Teen Nights.  The Southend children were very helpful handing out fliers.  We started with a few helpers and ended with many.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Destination: Prince Albert

We drove straight through to Prince Albert (not counting the several "tourist stops" at local convenience stores along the way).  We arrived and enjoyed a delicious dinner served by our dear friends at Redeemer Lutheran Church.  Ron Luedtke, director of LAMP, joined us for dinner and shared a devotion and discussion.  We met the McLeans from Edmonton who are joining our team in Southend this year. 

The LAMP Team and our friends from Redeemer Lutheran Church.

Estevan or Bust

Brian and Dave (and God’s grace) got us to Estevan in 13 hours; we arrived at 7:30 pm.  This is the sixth year that the Piper family hosted our team.  We had “Tacos in a Bag” and freshly picked Saskatoon berries from their trees (a.k.a.  June berries) .  We appreciate them hosting our team of 14 people.   They provided an entertaining evening of playing “Bean Boozled”.  You have to choose a colored jelly bean and it could be a good flavor or a bad flavor (tutti fruitie vs stinky socks or chocolate pudding vs canned dog food).  Hilarity followed.

The Piper Family with a gift from our team
The 2016 LAMP Mission Team
(Back Row)  Dave Scott, Brian Doyle, Kate Doyle, Sandy Doyle, Vernice Dabu, Janel Madden, Celia Veldhuis-Kroeze, Kristin Scott (Front Row) Amanda Scott, Caleb Scott, Angela Dabu, Claire Madden, Rachel Scott, Dominique Dabu

Dominique enjoyed "Canned Dog Food"

Ocean Piper savored "Dead Fish"