Each year the Church takes active participation in mission called "Operation Christmas Child" under the leadership of Debby. Many have participated actively bringing shoeboxes filled with different gifts while others donated to the cost of postage. Thank you so much for your support. Your contributions are very much appreciated to help reach many kids around the world during this important Christmas season. With all your help, we could fill 42 boxes.
We had yet another successful Church Fair on November 17, 2012. Everybody worked very hard and thank you so much for your time and your help. Many people came to buy, eat and support our Mission. Please check some pictures taken on our Church Fair.
The summer of 2012 was a very busy and blessed one for our youth members. As we had been praying for our youth participation in the IMMERSE 2012, the National Your Gathering of American Baptists in Washington DC from July 24th to July 28th. I was able to take seven participants from our Church along with four youth members from three other churches of the Samuel Stillman Association. There were 1064 youth, chaperones, and leaders who attended.
During IMMERSE we, lived on the American University campus for five days. We worshipped in the morning and evening. In between we on participated in cluster and small group time, hands on missions, a prayer walk on the National Mall, workshops, and devotions with our back home group. After evening worships, there were times for recreations. Our group's "Mission in the City" experiences were at the Emmaus Services for the Aging and Richardson Dwellings. We interacted with the clients at the Emmaus Center and bagged groceries which were delivered to seniors. At the Richardson Dwellings, we helped with a cookout, distributed backpacks, face painted, did arts and crafts, and played games with and read to the children. Our last worship experience was held on the lawn at the university before we had to catch our shuttle bus to the airport, which took us by the Washington Monument. Unfortunately, our flight was cancelled due to bad weather. One group flew via Atlanta and the other group came via New York. We all made it home safely.
In the month of August, 2012, two of our youth members were able to attend the Christian Youth Conference (CYC) from August 5th to August 18th in Maine where around 120 youth gathered from all over the nation. Also a youth member attended Oceanwood Christian Youth Camp in Maine from August 5th to August 11th. It was their first time to attend such Christian Youth Camps and they all liked them and are looking forward to attending in the future.
In order to help youth attend those above mentioned programs, the Christian Education Board organized different fund raising programs. Every church member actively participated by contributing money, time and talent. Thank you so much for helping in our efforts to fund raise. I would like to thank especially Mr. and Mrs. Cliff Gardner for sponsoring two youths to attend IMMERSE in Washington DC and Mrs. Linda Johnson and her family for generous contributions towards these programs.
On September 28th in our Sunday morning service, our youth shared their rewarding summer experiences and all listeners were blessed through their sharing. It was an opportunity for our youth to explore and experience a world bigger than their neighborhood and a chance to practice "letting go". Letting go allows youth to develop autonomy and a stronger sense of self, make new friends, develop new social skills, learn about team work, be creative, and more.
Please continue to pray for our youth that they would be rooted in their faith. Pray for them to have hearts open to loving the Lord with all that they are, and pray that they would learn to love truth. I am honored to lead them, and am blessed and humbled by the opportunity to serve them faithfully. They are the future and the present church.
In His Grace,
I am very happy to share my experiences at the IMMERSE. With Immerse I assumed that fun would be limited. I soon realized that I would be wrong. Our journey there was a good one but I do have a slight fear of airplanes, so a couple of quick prayers to myself quietly helped me deal with the turbulence and the flight. When we arrived at the American University where we had this American Baptist National Youth Gathering, it was cool to have a room all to myself and it was a very calm environment. When we had worship and praise time it was hard to not be engaged in the singing and the emotion. The songs were so lively; it was hard not to sing along. By the end of the week I had a new favorite song. My experience over there was a good one; I met new people and learned a lot. When we would split up into groups we had to communicate with people we did not know and they showed me that even though we come from so far apart we all have problems, some worse than others, but it is inspiring to see how they can all look to God. The sermons at IMMERSE were very inspirational. The first one of the week I was probably my favorite. It was about kids in America raising funds for less fortunate people in the world. The message showed us you are never too little to make a big difference. It was inspiring to me because these children just came up with an idea and executed it with the grace of God and showed they can make a difference. Also the sermon showed me that I can make a difference. Society makes us conform but these kids were different and wanted to make a change to benefit others. With the mission work, we delivered groceries for the elderly and held a fun event for children who lived in the projects. Those missions showed me that sometimes you have to get out of your shell to do good things, also that sometimes something so little can make someone smile a lot. I felt God reaching to me throughout the week. I have not felt like that in a longtime. One night while we were worshipping God spoke to me in a very special day and I walked down to the pulpit and recommit myself to Him. Not only was IMMERSE a great experience to find more in God, but it was also a good bonding experience. There was one night when our youth group stayed up until 2am. All we did was talk and laugh together. IMMERSE brought me closer to my youth group, and more importantly closer to God. Thanks for letting me share.
To be a part of IMMERSE gathering probably changed my whole life. During the four days in Washington DC, I encountered wonderful and courageous people that talked about the word of God and how they came to believe in His words. The speakers shared their personal stories and truly connected with the audience. I cried and laughed during the speeches. Moreover, they were very kind to each other and offered any help to those in need. I felt as if I was living in a community and that we all had known each other for many years. I became a part of a unity that got stronger and brighter as days went by. I never knew that I could do so much in four days. I volunteered at a retirement home and helped packed groceries. I also played with kids that lived in a low-income community and gave school supplies to them. Throughout the whole event, I couldn't stop smiling and praising the Lord for giving me this perfect opportunity. My faith in God has become stronger than ever and I know there are people all over the world that are willing to help me find more faith in Him. I thank our Church members, the Samuel Stillman Association, our amazing youth group and the IMMERSE family for giving me a wonderful experience that I will never forget, but to cherish it forever. Thank you.