We made it!!
We left this morning from Faith after being prayed over by Pastor Chris. Thankfully we had safe travels both to our lunch destination at McDonald's in Bloomington, and then to our respective churches to get set up.
We have been blessed to expand our numbers this year tremendously due to adding a second site! Some of you might remember Pastor Tim Bayer, who formerly served as missions pastor at Faith and was instrumental in getting the family mission trip started. The mission trip is truly coming full circle, as he is now welcoming 5 families to St. Mark's Lutheran Church in St. Charles, IL, where he serves as senior pastor. It's about 25 minutes away from New Song, where 6 of our families will stay. If that sounds complicated when you throw 30 kids into the mix, well it is! But our fearless leaders have been hard at work creating a schedule that allows for both joint and separate serving opportunities including: Feed My Starving Children, Phil's Friends, Hesed House, and service projects at the respective churches.
Our 2017 Theme Verse
This year we chose Proverbs 3:5-6 as our theme verse, which reads:
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight."
You can listen to the song that has helped us memorize the verses here, and see the logo above and on our shirts.
Tonight our New Song crew hosted a Youth Night where the kids enjoyed playing Amazing Race, complete with eating a jalapeno pepper, memorizing and individually saying Proverbs 3:5-7, making butter and scarfing various snacks. Everyone had a lot of fun and bonding over stressful, difficult and, let's face it, some downright mean challenges!! They also prepped moving kits including cookware, linens, cleaning supplies and more for residents at Hesed House who are transitioning to outside living. Thanks to Faith's Beyond Blessed fund, we were able to donate two full kits that will allow former Hesed House residents to start a new chapter in their own home. Talk about a blessing!
Meanwhile, the St. Mark's team got a tour of their new digs from Pastor Tim and enjoyed picking out their rooms, that's right each family has their own room! The kids got the lay of the land by exerting all the energy they had pent up from the 5-hour car drive. After an amazing dinner from a local restaurant provided by the church, they had a family devotion led by the Auers.
What's In Store
Tomorrow morning our kids aged 12+ and half of the adults will head to Hesed House, Illinois' second largest homeless shelter, where we will help to prepare and serve lunch to the shelter's temporary and transitional residents. The younger kiddos and the rest of the adults will be packing sack lunches that will be delivered to Hesed House for their working residents to take to their job sites.
After lunch, our entire team will head to Feed My Starving Children to pack MannaPack food bags for starving children all over the world. It's always a meaningful and emotional serving opportunity - and especially great for our kids to be able to make a tangible connection to the impact they can have by helping other kids.
We are so blessed to be on this trip, many of us for the first time, growing and sharing our faith, and serving those around us in the name of Jesus. Please continue to pray for health and safety, as well as for those we are serving. In all we do, we only want to glorify our great God and reach hearts and lives for Him.