By Cynthia Barnett
Heat index of 110, snakes, not enough bug spray to keep the giant horse flies from biting, more sweat than you knew was possible, lights out at 11 pm and back on at 6:30 am, building ramps and porches, fixing roofs, yard work, and so much more.
June 12-18 we took 20 students and six adults to Wynne, Arkansas for CTCYM. The students committed to spending a week of their summer, away from the comforts of home and without technology, to put God first and serve others. The idea of spending 10 hours in a van with 20 students without electronics may have seemed crazy to some, but it was a total blessing. These students talked, sang, laughed, played cards, shared stories, and slept (a little). It was loud and crazy at times, but they got out of the vans knowing more about each other and having lots of funny stories to retell all week.
There were 121 students and leaders at our living center. GO GOD! The students were divided into work teams of five to six students and two adults, for a total of 14 work teams. We spent most of our time in these teams. My prayer before leaving is always for God to orchestrate the right student and adult pairings and for there to be no tears when the students discover they are not with people they know.
Well, God went above and beyond my expectations this year. We got to witness students who are typically shy or anxious in social settings come out of their shells and laugh and make great friends. We had students work harder than they have ever worked with a smile on their faces. We saw students make friendships that will last a lifetime with students on their team and students from Lighthouse. We had students lead prayer, morning and lunch devotions, open up on their team about things going on in their lives for support, lead evening worship, and step up as leaders in their teams. Several adult leaders made a point to let me know how great our students were. I was full of joy and pride for all my ‘kids’ this past week.
There is not enough space to share all the great stories from this week. We had the pleasure of blessing several clients with tangible things to make their homes safer and more functional, such as porches and ramps. We also had the pleasure of giving people, who were in need of hope and conversation, our time. We sat and listened to our clients share stories about their lives and show their appreciation. There was a teenage girl who spent every day working with the team fixing her house. She was so excited to help and spend time with the team. She even participated in the lunch time devotions with the team. Another little girl, who is 10 years old, spent the days working and sweating with the team who worked on her great-grandmother’s house. She shared how she had recently gotten out of foster care, where she spent the past year. She was blessed and loved by this team and was a great blessing to them. These stories are just a small picture of how amazing this week was.
For me personally, God spent the week showing me how awesome He is and how powerful He is. He worked in and through every teenager, adult leader and client in Wynne. It was truly amazing. I ask you to join me in praying for the ‘What Now?’ Pray that our students will remember all God did in their lives and see ways to share their stories. That they will remember the courage and faithfulness they experienced and continue to walk in it for the remaining 51 weeks of the year. Pray for our clients and their families to be continually blessed and know the love of Jesus Christ.
I want to close by saying THANK YOU. Thank you for your love, prayers, and financial support. We have a great Church Family!