by Brooke Orozco and Charlotte Unwin
“Mission in your own backyard”: We took this saying literally when we moved from Paraguay, South America, back to Michigan to reach out to the Hispanic population right here in our original “home state”. It was taken to another level on July 6, 7, 8 and 9th, when two youth groups set up tents in our backyard and lived here with us in farm-country; Fowler/St. Johns area, north of Lansing.
St. Luke’s youth group, accompanied by Paul Easterday and Lisa McCleary, brought six students! Gathered with another Michigan youth group from Metro-Detroit, Octane, there were a total of 15 campers/volunteers. With our family, we totaled 20 people gathered here on our property in order to reach out to the local Hispanic Children with the Gospel of Jesus!
We used the “VBS” format and material that was developed for this past year’s Mexicali Mission Trip that took place in April. There were a few returning students from that trip and a handful of new-comers who came to present the Bible story of Joseph, help the children apply it to their lives, play with the children, and just love them! It was wonderful to watch God use them to make an impact on other young lives through the power of His Word.
The week we spent in Lansing was so much fun. In the morning, we had a devotional/journaling time and then prepared for the VBS program. One morning we went on a tour of the dairy and mint farms nearby. In the evenings, we got to the Cider Mill where we held the program and waited for the children to show up.
We had a van going to get kids that needed rides. We would play with the kids on the Kangaroo Jump (a ground trampoline) and race with them. They also enjoyed playing soccer with us.
The VBS program was very educational for the kids. We read the Bible story in English and also Spanish, so they heard it in both languages. Each day we had an object lesson which helped them understand even more. The kids absolutely LOVED playing “Limón”: a game we played after the lesson each day, to see if they could answer questions about what they just learned.
We ate dinner together and talked about what had happened in the story that day. At the end of the day we would say our good-byes and the kids didn’t want to go. Each day more kids came. They wanted to learn about God and have fun at the same time. We went from 5 kids to 15. I would do that again in a heart beat.
Back at camp, we all came together before bed in front of the campfire to talk about the day. We talked about our “highs, lows and how we saw God work”, then we had a small devotional to wrap up the day.Thanks to that week I want to be in youth ministry because children deserve to know God and learn about him.