Just a quick entry to let you know we have arrived back safely to Taylor University!
It was an amazing experience, with remarkable opportunity for growth; and during the next few weeks we will each be processing what God has done in and through us.
Continue to pray for the people we met and those who observed us….that God would continue to work in each life we encountered.
Thanks so much for your prayer and support!
The Daytona Team
It’s Saturday morning and the ‘official’ week at Sun Splash has ended. Today will be a bit of relaxing and processing before we load up the vans and start the long track back on Sunday. It has been a wonderful week of seeing God work through each member of the team as we cared for each other and reached out to the people of Daytona. As we wrap up the week, wanted to give you some names and stories that you could, with us, continue to lift to the Father:
- Pray for our friend James Lewis. He turns 64 this month and we have had a chance to be with him for 7-8 years during these trips. He is a wonderful man, gifted with an amazingly thankful heart…he has been living in Ocean View for over 30 years and has siblings scattered around the country with a mom in north Florida. He would love to see his siblings one more time. Pray that God could somehow orchestrate that type of reunion for James.
- We met a 22-year old man named Mike who is “getting his life back on track.” He has been clean from drugs for the past fifteen months, and knows that God has delivered him, but is living in a spirit of fear that the devil will pull him back under. Pray that he is able to find a community to support him and that the Spirit of power will leave no room for a spirit of fear.
- A demon was cast out of a 17 year old girl named Sadie. Please pray that she continues to accept the Holy Spirit who she asked to replace the demon and that God continues to show her His power, truth, and goodness.
- A Muslim friend named Habib asked many questions about Christianity and who we believe Jesus to be. The Trinity and the New Covenant were explained to him and what it means to have a relationship with a God who wants to be close to us. He is moving to the hometown of one of our team members and wants to meet with him to continue discussing what Christians believe. Pray that God would unite them and the truth would be revealed!
- We were given the opportunity to a man with (most likely) Schizophrenia and Bipolar disorder. He had not taken his medication at the time, and there may have been demonic activity in his life. Our hearts are broken for him as we see him listening to the lies of the Enemy. Pray that Justin would come to the realization of Truth in our Lord Jesus Christ, and that he would be called to living in communion with the Savior.
- Pray for Colby, a junior in high school who had the opportunity to receive the gospel this week on the beach. He has a servant spirit and a heart of gold, but he wrestled with the hugeness of committing to following Jesus. Pray that he may trust in the Lord and find hope in the gospel. May he see that true life is only found in relationship with Jesus.
- Pray for Bill, a 47-year-old man at the homeless park, who has never experienced love from a parent. He had been abused. Praying that God will emotionally heal him and invade the darkest parts of his heart. Praying that Jesus will meet him as he starts reading God’s Word. He kept saying he doesn’t end his life because he feels something good is going to happen in his life. Jesus Christ is the best thing that could ever happen to him! He began crying as we prayed over him, and the next day he said something happened deep in his heart as we prayed over him.
- Pray for Robert. After more than two years of living on the streets, after years of a seemingly stable and successful career, he appears to have given up on finding a way out of his condition. Pray that he will find encouragement and will begin to see that his real need is reconciliation with the Father.
- Pray for Richard, a 58 year old man of God who is so genuine and real. He served in the armed forces for 8 years, and did roofing for 28 years. After getting arthritis in his knees he has been unable to get a job leaving him homeless the last six years. Please pray for healing in Richard’s knees and that he can get a job in the area. Also pray that he can receive encouragement and support from fellow believers.
- Pray for Richard and Justin, two high school sophomores who love being friends, but have yet to realize the friend that they have in God. Please pray that they would discover a relationship with God rather than the religious experience they’ve already had.
These are just a few of the people we encountered this past week. There were so many others…a young man with an amazing mind, who has thrown it away through drugs; an older Jewish man so impressed by the way this team loved each other and the residents of Ocean View; three young guys from England; and many, many others. Each one was unique. Each had their own story. And each meeting touched us as well as them.
We are excited to head back to Upland with a renewed desire to see each person we meet as a unique masterpiece of God and each meeting as a divine appointment.
Tomorrow we pack up and start the drive home. Please pray for safety as we drive through the night!
Today was another beautiful Florida Day! The sun was out, the breeze was refreshing and there were just enough clouds in the sky to give occasional respite from the power of the sun…
But…that wasn’t what made the day so beautiful…
Today…we got a little taste of heaven. At one point in the afternoon, the volleyball court (yes…our contraption of PVC pipes actually worked to hold the net up) was FULL of people who represented all walks of life. Spring breakers, high schoolers, families, Ocean Viewers…a beautiful assortment of people who would otherwise have NOTHING in common, all enjoying each other around a silly game of volleyball. And while the games were happening, all around the court were sacred conversations. Conversations about the important things of this life and the next. It always amazes us (it probably shouldn’t) how hungry people are to talk and to be heard. And how open all of them are to hearing about and considering the idea that there is a Father who loves them. These conversations break across racial, economic and experiential lines.
We also saw some relationships continue from past conversations. Students that our team met during the previous night, came to find the van and continue the conversation. Individuals we talked with on previous days, just happened to stop by for more conversation. Pray with us that those friends (and others we have talked to) will not be able to resist the lure of hearing more…and that they will find their way back to our group.
Remember also a precious 10 year old girl who has seen some incredible tragedy in her young life, but yesterday, was introduced to the ABBA Father, who will never leave her. She entered His family yesterday! Please pray with us for this beautiful new sister.
The night ended with amazing worship with our friends at Ocean View. There is something about that experience which can’t be captured by words, pictures or even video. It’s VERY special. And we celebrated Dietrich’s birthday with cake and singing!
Today will be another day on the beach followed by an evening cookout at good friends! Keep praying! God is working!
Tuesday was a great day. Where Monday ended with frustration….Tuesday reminded us of the joy of this trip. It’s not that the external things were so different, we were just reminded of the privilege of being used by God to love his children. Like always, we had some great conversations. From high school students, to homeless men and women, to friends from Ocean View, to retired folks….and every type of person in between, we had the chance to encounter image bearers of God in all it’s marvelous diversity.
We’ve been unable to get our volleyball net working (problems with the poles) but thanks to ‘spike ball’ and the openness of the team, we didn’t sense any hindrances to conversation starters and getting to talk with the people of Daytona.
We even had the privilege of watching one of our long time friends (James), after a 19 year hiatus, dip his feet back into the ocean. It was fun to walk with him and watch him enjoy the water. Looking back to our area from the water, seeing the variety of people all sitting around caring for each other was a beautiful site. Wish you could all be here to see it.
Continue to pray for the team. Wednesday is usually a day where the travel and sun catch up to us and we start feeling worn out…pray for strength, protection and most of all, a God-given ability to love each other and the people we meet throughout the day!
Today we will be back at the beach (and hope to have the volleyball net set up). Tonight will be time of worship with our friends at Ocean View! Can’t wait for that!!
Monday was our first official day on the beach, and for the most part it looked pretty typical. Conversations with homeless, reconnecting with friends from Ocean view and chances to talk with individuals enjoying the beautiful weather in Daytona. But at the end of the day, there was a sense of frustration with the team. While we want to limit our ‘expectations’…we were faced with a larger percentage of individuals who were just so very broken and seemed not to even care about it. Almost resigned to their state. They would either use crude talk or philosophical arguments to keep the conversation at arm’s length.
But while it was frustrating, we are not discouraged! During our sharing we encouraged each other to push through the frustration. To continue to reach out and love the people we met and, rather than being offended by their brokenness, instead to see them as God does, be broken for them and love them in a way that points them to their heavenly Father.
Pray for us in this….it is not something we can muster on our own!
We have arrived in beautiful Daytona Beach….and have settled into our home away from home at the El Caribe. The trip took a little longer than expected (thanks to more road construction than usual) but we arrived early afternoon on Saturday. For most, Saturday was a chance to relax, catch up on some rest and soak up some sun. Sunday started with a great time of worship (including sunrise singing on the beach), some sharing and then a chance to express our commitment to each other as roommates washed each other’s feet.
Last night we headed to Sun Splash (our ‘base of operations’) and spent time prayer walking, asking God to show up in powerful ways during the coming week. The night ended as we went for some ice cream and the team spent time talking to people in the mall area…We met a number of individuals, including some believers who prayed for and with members of our team. Those prayers remind us that we have friends and loved ones that are praying for us each day…THANK YOU FOR YOUR PRAYERS!
Today is the first ‘official’ day as we head out to the beach and into Daytona expecting God to lead us into sacred appointments with those He would have us connect with. Pray for boldness, wisdom. But most of all, pray that our love of God, each other and those we meet will be irresistible to those we encounter throughout the day!
In a little more than 24 hours from now, we will be heading out to beautiful Daytona Beach Florida!
While the weather forecast certainly looks promising so far, it isn’t the sunshine that has us most excited about jumping into the vans. The thing that is exciting 28 students and 4 ‘adult’ leaders is the opportunity to connect with the wide variety of people that we will come in contact with and to see God reveal himself to them. It is an amazing joy to tell people that the God of the universe knows them….and more importantly LOVES them. So please pray with us that our words, and our lives will be used to point people to their savior.
The other reason we we are excited to go is we know we will see many old friends when we arrive. One of our favorite things to do is worship with the residents at Oceanview…something that is hard to forget once you’ve had the privilege. Here’s just a taste of it:
Finally, for those who don’t know much about the trip….here are a few shots to help acquaint you to what to expect:
Thanks for praying!!