Thursday, July 31, 2014

Up on the Rooftop...

Amy really wanted a picture of the Acres kids in front of the "Jesus Is..." sign which is on the roof of the Dream Center.  So after BackPack Peoria was over on Saturday, up the rickety old elevator we went, up another flight of stairs, through a very ominous breaker room, onto a roof with hardly any ledge, with a bunch of teenagers.  Seth and Sarah went with us to take the pictures and give general instructions ("Don't touch that." "Stay away from the ledge." etc.).  It was pretty cool to view Peoria from a little higher up than usual.
Above is a picture of the highway and the hospitals.  Methodist on the left, OSF on the right.
Getting organized and generally staying away from the ledge...for now.  Dad was off to the side talking on the phone, "No, I'm up on the roof..." :)
What a great group of kids and two fearless leaders!
Getting a tad bit braver and yelling down to friends in the parking lot.
The girls, just soaking in the view.
If you look carefully, you can see the river in the background.
Another one of the group shots, not quite as zoomed in.
I stole the above picture from Facebook because I thought it was really cool! :)  If you look carefully, Dad signed all the kids' shirts on the dot,dot, dot.
Looking down.
Standing by the bus looking up.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Mission Peoria/ Post Three/ Evening Sessions

The theme of the week for Mission Peoria was "Jesus is..."
This top picture is the baptismal pool they have at Riverside.  The bottom picture is the sign they have on top of the Dream Center that you can see from most places in downtown Peoria.
Each night after dinner the kids gathered to hear different speakers.  The week ended on Friday with a concert by Audio Adrenaline.  Some things I took away from those meeting have to do with how I view Jesus.  In certain situations, do I think "Is Jesus..."  ""  "...listening?"  "...going to fix this?"  Or do I affirm with great conviction, "Jesus is..."  "!"  "...listening!"  "...with me!"  Such a difference in the two.  Another speaker talked about something similar, just using different words.  Do I go through life thinking, "What if...?"  or "Who am I?"  or do I say with assurance, "The Lord is with me!"
The Riverside praise band led us each night in worship.  It was loud.  And crazy.  And Jesus was there!
The kids crowd the stage each night.  Josh is always right in the middle :).
Thursday night, Andy spoke of three times that water is used in the Bible.  1. when Jesus was baptized.  2. when Peter walked on water.  and 3. when Jesus washed the disciples' feet.  After his first point, he baptized two of the Acres kids and Josh.  It was an emotional evening.  The above picture is Max.
Above is also Max.  Dad, Amy, Daynah, and I were on stage for the baptisms.  I offered to take pictures so that Dad and Amy could enjoy the moment without being behind a camera.
Above is Marc.
Above and below are Josh.  I was so proud of him for taking this step of faith.
Andy's last point was about Jesus washing the disciples' feet.  He called Dad on stage in order to demonstrate.  He talked about how he has had the privilege to serve alongside Dad for many years at Mission Peoria.  It was humbling to watch because I remember a time I've had my feet washed.  And it was cool because I know how much Dad likes to be behind the scenes and always serving.

At the end of the service, Andy brought out many buckets of water and had the praise band play.  While the music was playing, if any of the kids felt led they could bring a leader or friend down front and wash their feet.  Also a very cool thing to see.
Friday night Audio Adrenaline put on a concert with all proceeds going to BackPack Peoria.
It was loud and I didn't know a lot of the songs (although they have had more songs on the radio than I had remembered.)  But the highlight was when they went old school and played Big House.  "Come and go with me to my Father's house.  Come and go with me to my Father's house.  It's a big, big house, with lots and lots of room.  A big, big table with lots and lots of food.  A big, big yard where we can play football (cue throwing a football through the air).  A big, big house.  It's my Father's house!"  (you're welcome to all who know this song and now have it stuck in your head!)

More July Birthdays

I have the unfortunate privilege of sharing my birthday month with my little sister!  Completely kidding about that scratch through.  I gladly share my birthday month with her.  And also with Max, who was at Mission Peoria last week.  My family has lived in Arizona for 4 years and Daynah has never celebrated a birthday there because Mission Peoria always falls the week of her birthday.  So we always take time out from Mission Peoria to celebrate her birthday.  And it was a special birthday for her...she's no longer a teenager!!! Which, in my personal opinion, is not possible.  But apparently my opinion doesn't count!
I think we have eaten at Monicals every year.  This year, Max came along, even though his birthday is the day after Daynah's.  Kyle and Josh also joined us.  I even got to open the last of  my birthday presents.  Amy made me photo puzzle blocks.  I'll have to showcase them in a future blog post because they are so cool!
Thursday was Max's 18th birthday, so we picked him up from his service project (where we saved him from rats in a basement of an old church!) and took him to Lou's for lunch.
Dad flirting with the teenager behind the counter ordering our food.
After lunch we picked up Rhane (Max's sister) and Caitlyn from their site and went to Theo's for ice cream.  I also finally gave Dad his birthday present last week (his birthday was in April!)--money to get ice cream most days at Theo's! :)
And a picture of the three July birthday peeps!

Mission Peoria 2014/ Post Two/ MetroKids

So, like I said in my last post, MetroKids happened each afternoon. The Mission Peoria kids lead neighborhood kids in games, worship, and a lesson.
This is boys against girls water dodge ball.

Notice in the above picture how the boys are all on the line to throw and the girls are hanging back as far as they can!  That's how I would play dodge ball too.  If I played dodge ball, which I don't!
I love this picture of Josh because he looks like a giant.  Which he sort of is, but don't get me started on that!
Max hanging with one of the kids in his his lap during the lesson.
Joseph in charge of the water slide.
And hanging with the little kids.
Rhane and Caitlyn hanging out with some older girls.
Gemini face painting, or arm painting...whatever you want to call it.
Most of the Mission Peoria kids let the neighborhood kids decorate them right back.  I love the look on Brainna's face in this picture!
Gemini and Brianna helping the kids read something during story time.
I love the heart the Mission Peoria teenagers have for the little kids they ministered to all week.  I know several kids came to know the Lord during the week!  What an awesome experience for the teenagers to be a part of that!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Mission Peoria 2014/ Post One/ Service Projects

I've spent a great week with family watching as they served at Mission Peoria with kids they brought from Arizona. It's always a great week and I love that I get to share it with you. For those of you unfamiliar with Mission Peoria...Every year about 300 kids (mostly from Peoria area churches) come together for a week. In the mornings they do service projects at different churches and organizations around the city. In the afternoon they do MetroKids, a "VBS on steroids" in different areas on the south end of Peoria. And in the evenings, they meet together to worship and hear from speakers how they can grow in Christ. The week ends on Saturday with BackPack Peoria, where they give out around 3,000 backpacks to kids in Peoria. The kids love it and it is so great to see and hear how they grow in Christ and their understanding of service throughout the week.

One morning me, Dad, Amy, and Daynah drove to a couple of the sights to see the kids at work doing service projects.  One group was at the South Side Mission all week.  This particular morning, the group was sorting food.

Even Dad got in on the action, because most who know him know he doesn't know how to sit still!
Another group was at the Crittenton Center.  Gemini looks like she was hiding, but really she is pulling weeds in front of the center! :)  Other projects included working at various churches, working at the Dream Center getting ready for Backpack Peoria, and working at the Children's Home.  There were 10-12 sights and I don't even know what everyone did.

Just a next few posts are going to be picture-heavy from the rest of the week!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Chris Tomlin concert

Saturday evening Kari, Alyssa, Emily, and several other Bethany people went to the Chris Tomlin concert.  We met several couples for dinner at Destihl's in Bloomington.  We had soft pretzels for an appetizer.  I had an open faced pot roast sandwich for the main course.  And Alyssa and I split (and shared with Emily and Kari) a build your own smores dessert, which was AMAZING!  And messy.  I don't often take pictures of food, but I wish you all could share in the amazingness that was this dessert.
Here we are at the concert.
Brandon Heath opened for Chris Tomlin.  I really enjoyed him.  Turns out we're the same age.
I love Christian concerts because they are often simpler stage sets than other concerts.  And they often have the words on the screens to sing along, because it is about worshiping God not worshiping the person on the stage.  I enjoyed taking screen shots of the lyrics because seeing the words separated just made me appreciate the lyrics a little bit more than I sometimes do.  I like Chris Tomlin, but I feel like his songs often get overplayed, which means I get used to the words and don't really focus on them anymore.

I'm so glad that Jesus Messiah rescued me from my sins!
Chris' (we're on a first name basis since I've seen him in person!) newest song "At the Cross (Love Ran Red)" is a really good one.  I love that at the cross of Jesus, my sin and shame have no power over me because Christ paid the price for my sins.
And His blood washed my sins, making me white as snow.
And then the giant beach balls came out.
Alyssa was SUPER EXCITED! :)
Modern technology, the cell phone light, has replaced lighters....there are probably many good things about this. :)  It was a great concert.  I'm glad I went.  I decided I actually like Chris' music live more than I like it on the radio.