Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Ok, here's the update...
(This is a long one and the blog is having picture problems again)

This last weekend was a lot of fun. This game is turning out to be exactly what it was intended…the youth reaching out to others, the student leaders learning how to lead and gaining experience, and the participants are relating the challenges within THE CHALLENGE to their daily Christian walk. Here’s what Ruben had to say during testimony time at church on Sunday; “I give thanks to God because in THE CHALLENGE I’m learning that we go through tough things in life and this past weekend we were challenged to continue on in the race, even when it gets tough. It’s helping me in my walk with God.” Another youth, Julio, who is one of the leaders of a team is learning that not everyone is excited about the things you’re excited about. He has a couple of members of his team who are being “stinkers” (a word my mom used for me when I wasn’t the easiest to handle…by the way, I seldom heard that word [ha, ha]), they don’t want to participate 100%. Julio is learning how to deal with stinkers. Please pray for him, he would like to be a youth pastor some day and I’m excited to see him grow.

I’m excited for what God is doing in the lives of the youth right now. I’m excited to see fruit from these activities. Everyone has an opportunity to learn something. There are so many things that we can learn from, we’ll be using these examples for a while.

Saturday started out with the teams all getting together and I was surprised that not one person was late. We had 7 new students, so there are 28 participants now in the four teams. At the beginning, the four teams took some time together to be encouraged by their leaders and when we all came back together; we started the main event…a race. This race was a lot like The Amazing Race, they had to go to different spots to do an activity and the first team to the final destination got lots of points and a dinner. They started at the mission base where I gave the leaders of each team an envelope giving them directions on where to go. Each team was given a different place to go, equal lengths from the base where a Challenge Staff member was waiting for them to give them another envelope. In the envelope was a question they had to answer, can you figure it out? If you add the digits of a certain two-digit number and multiply the sum by itself, you’ll get the original number with the digits reversed. What number is it? This question was in one of Pastor Marc Pearson’s Just-a-Byte emails a while ago. Click on the comment with your answer if you like.

When they got the number, and they did it quickly, they were given directions to go back to the mission base to count the bricks of the sound system closet. This, I thought, was going to be an easy one. It was about 20 minutes before one team got the right answer. One team spent an hour trying to count them. There were 577 bricks.

From there they went to our house where Geña had a white board set up and they played a form of Pictionary. Once a team guessed 5 right, they then proceeded to the baseball field on the other side of town where they were to push the Nissan (base truck) around the bases. When they were done with that, they received an envelope telling them that they needed to go (accompanied with a pastor) to Arrayanes, a town about 3 kilometers north, and go to the church there and find their team’s nametag hidden somewhere on the property. The first team to find the nametag and come to me where I was standing was the team that won. The first team finished in 1 ½ hours; the last team came in about 40 minutes after that (the team that had difficulty counting bricks).

THE BEST THING ABOUT THE EVENING was that when all the teams where there, plus the 14 staffers that helped, we all went inside the church to talk about the race. We have a thing called Filipos (Philippi). Philippi is the place where the Philippians reside. Paul wrote to the Philippians a number of encouraging things. So, when we see people doing a good job, having good sportsman’s like conduct, encouraging others, helping others, etc. we give them a “Filipos.” That is worth 10 points for their team. We all got together and I had the pastors who accompanied the teams come forward and give some encouraging words. Then I opened it up to the Challenge Staff members. We could have spent all night encouraging the students, it was great! Even some of the youth wanted to come forward and give out Filipos. It was getting late, so not everyone who wanted to share had the opportunity. But, wow! It was a great time and the youth really liked it.

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