Growth Amidst Changes

Whether through the change of plans, ministries, or change of heart – this summer has been filled with a lot of changes. With every change comes a difficulty, yet also comes so much growth. As Ministry Team One shifts to serve with Capernaum ministry and Ministry Team Two, serving at Celebration Community Church: Be Active Camp, we have to adapt and change location. 

Here are some ways that the students and leaders have experienced growth in their own lives – some highlights and memories from the summer so far, how God has been near to them, and everything in between. 

“This summer God has shown time and time again that we are involved in a ministry of presence – of being with and that a lot of times that’s enough” -K.H

“I feel like God has shown Himself near to me by providing me with a community and direction for me and my future through our sessions.” – C.S

“God has shown Himself to me by working in my relationships in unexpected ways, and helping me through my doubts and fears in the magnificent way that only He can.” – Anonymous

“Going to this MK2MK project helped me move out of my comfort zone.” C.S.

“God has met me here in all the love people have shown me, especially when I’m not doing okay and I’m lashing out or isolating myself. God is continually reminding me that I’m worth loving because He died for me.” – Anonymous

“God has shown himself to be near to me in many ways. One: through the relationships and quality time he has blessed me with. Two: The personal quiet time I got to spend with him and seeing how God is woven through everything we are doing here” -J.K

“My takeaways from ministry include that there are so MANY DIFFERENT ways to serve – with my hands / in physical labor, by leading worship, by playing with kids, and so much more. And, they all glorify God!” S.N.

“It has been great to see my overseas friends again!” -Anonymous 

From self-introductions and meeting each other for the first time to intentional conversations with one another and those we are doing ministry with; amidst all the different changes, project two has been filled with nothing but laughter, joyous moments, and a lot of growth. Growing to know each other, oneself, and God. 

As we are nearing the end of Project Two, please be in prayer for: 

  • The last week of ministry, as we are going to be evangelizing at UCF.
  • There to be a sense of nearness to be felt amongst oneself with their own personal relationship with God. 
  • Goodbyes to be said and expressed well. 
  • A smooth transition between the last week of ministry into a time of debrief with one another.

Photos by Ray M., Angela L., Josephine L.

God’s Hand Across Orlando

Post written by Cader S.

Sports at CCA

Week 1 of the MK2MK project has just wrapped up! Onto Week 2! It was absolutely amazing to see how quickly an amazing community can form, and how deep the bonds between MK’s can form. We also have had a great time with our small groups, bible studies, project talks, socials, and activities together! But before we start our amazing second week of ministry, I think it is important to look back at what happened on Week 1 and see how God worked over the past 5 days of ministry! 

Our large group of students and leaders are divided up into 2 ministry teams. Ministry Team 1, also known as Lexy’s Dozen/Lexy’s 12, spent their first week of ministry at Celebration Community Atheltics’s (CCA) Be Active summer camp, a day camp for kids all around Celebration, Florida; run by Celebration Community Church. The camp is filled with K-5th graders, and it involves sports, games, and fun activities. Team Lexy’s Dozen had a ton of fun, helping as volunteers in every way in running the camp. Here are a few perspectives of the week from some of the students in Ministry Team 1:

“It was really fun to get to know these kids and really forge these cool relationships with them. You really get to know each one of them personally by the end. Almost all of them are really cool and fun to be around. Some are troublemakers, but that’s totally expected.” – C.S.

“It was fun getting to know kids, especially doing the lessons and being able to connect with the kids that way.” – Z.C.

“Sharkbait, hoo-haha!” – K.G. 

Meanwhile, Ministry Team Two, also known as Cheese Fontwo, spent their week of ministry at several places, including UP Orlando, a grocery store with reduced prices; and The Sharing Center, which provides services for homeless people. The team also built furniture for a new facility of a school for kids with special needs. They did this ministry alongside a local middle school youth group. Here are what a few of the students from Cheese Fontwo had to say about the week:

“I really enjoyed learning about the different ways that I could serve a community with my own two hands.” – S.N.

“Interacting with middle schoolers and getting to hear their stories was really cool.” – J.K.

We are really excited to continue to serve and help out the people in Orlando and the communities there in every way we can! Please continue to pray for us and follow along on the blog posts for more information about how our project unfolds! 

Photos by Ray M. and Josephine L.

Beetles, Broccoli, and Dust

Have you ever wondered how grass would seem if viewed from a beetle’s stature? Personally, I think it would be marvelous, shadow-filled and sheltering like a forest. Which brings me to another thought: what would a forest look like to a towering giant?

I do not think giants the size of a skyscraper could ever appreciate the teeming beauty of a wooded glen like I can–just saying. From their perspective, the forest’s tree tops must seem to be a giant head of brocoli. Little do they know how much beauty they would discover if they were just smaller.

These semi-crazy musings are partly inspired by the movie A Bug’s Life, partly by long car rides through the woods, and mostly inspired by the overwhelming feelings of smallness that I have felt on summer mission.

By smallness, I mean a sense of total inadequacy, of weakness, of emptiness, and of stern run-ins with one’s limits. Thoughts of all the things I want to do fill my head, but more often than not, the only thing I find myself really able to do wholeheartedly and well is to nap. I feel the kind of smallness that forces me to sit down and realize all the ways I simply do not–and cannot–measure up to where I want to be.

I suspect other humans have felt a similar sensation before, or at least, that they will at some point. It seems to be a common experience for beings made from dust.

We feel our dust-ness in many facets of life.

Exhibit A is the human relationship with God. Aside from the ginormous fact that we are so small that we can do nothing to earn our way into relationship with God, we also feel our total helplessness during times when we cannot focus while reading scripture, when we struggle to even sit still before God, when we encounter questions we have no idea how to answer–or perhaps do not have the energy to explore, when we see the persistent weed of sin in our lives but feel unequal to the task of uprooting it, and when we know theoretically the beauty and glory of God but find ourselves consistently blind in our ability to perceive it in everyday life. The list goes on.

And then we are broken relationally. One look at the definition of love in 1 Corinthians 13 shows us just how much. It reads, “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful. . . ” (ESV, 1 Cor. 13: 4-5). As I read on, I see more and more how I have fallen desperately short of loving others well. Furthermore, I struggle to love well by being present with the people around me. I see so many people who could use a little extra love, and I want to translate my care for them from my love language to theirs, but at some point, I realize that I simply cannot. I do not have enough energy in the day to love in all the ways I want.

And oh, how many other ways do I find myself empty! I am so in need of wisdom in decision-making, the right words in conversations, inspiration in assignments, joy in the mundane, energy in the post-lunch hours, self-control in the dessert isle, contentment in comparison and on and on.

All in all, brokenness feels miserable. I hate staring my weakness and inadequacy in the face.

I have also found that just as feelings of physical emptiness lead to hunger for food, emptiness of soul leads to intense longing for God. The paradox of feeling acutely empty is that I feel acutely hungry for God, which is actually a healthy place to be. After all, it was the breast-beating tax-collector, rather than the seemingly self-sufficient Pharisee, that Jesus called righteous before God (Luke 18:9-14).

Expressing a similar spiritual hunger, Psalm 27:4 captures some of humanity’s most intense longings for God. David sings of his Maker, “One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.”

The psalm’s frequent allusions to enemies on all sides hints that David probably wrote this heartfelt prayer not in a season of feeling strong, but in a season of feeling quite small and needy.

So while miserable, feeling emptiness is also healthy. Why? Because it directs my heart to long for the biggest, most filling thing it knows, which is God.

Therefore, I will fight my instinct to panic and hide the reality of my own helplessness. If encountering my brokenness leads me to realize how acutely I need God, then bring it on! Let me see more of my smallness that I may appreciate and love my Maker more.

I’d rather be a beetle seeing grass-forests than a giant seeing broccoli heads.

Summer Mission 2 Begins!

Our girl house!

On Monday of this week, 10 new students arrived in Orlando for our second mission trip of the summer. We have been unpacking, settling in, taking a tour of the place, playing games to get to know each other better. We also had the privilege to hear from our very own intern, Jenna Dunn on the theme of “Near”, and how we are called to be near to God when God is already near to us. 

Aside from learning a bit more about how to evangelize and how to share our own stories, we have been preparing with our ministry teams, learning more about our small groups, and diving deeper into the word of God through our Bible Studies. There are two different ministry teams, where the first ministry team will be serving with Celebration Community Church, helping lead a summer Be Active camp filled with 70 students from grades Kindergarten all the way up to Sixth grade. The second ministry team is partnering with United Against Poverty (UP) Orlando, an organization that provides care and support to people experiencing poverty in Orange, Osceola, and Seminole counties of Florida. This nonprofit offers food, hygiene, and household items at a large discount (about 30% of normal cost)  for low-income families allowing them to provide, restoring dignity. Our students will get a behind-the-scenes peek at grocery store work as they unloaded inventory and helped to stock the shelves.

Preparing for a full week of ministry.

We are excited and grateful for the experiences that the students are going to be a part of during the first week of ministry. We are also incredibly grateful for all of the behind-the-scenes work that has been happening with many volunteers from the Lake Hart community, helping cook dinners for us. Thank you!

Please pray for: 

  • The leaders as we continue to transition from one project to another.
  • The 10 students who are here with us, as they begin their first week of ministry and are challenged to get out of their comfort zones. 
  • Fruitful conversations and intentional relationships to build, through God being in the center of it all. 
  • Safety & health of our entire group and ministries we’re partnering with

Get to know our leaders!
Our college interns have been in training & leading the students all summer – get to know both our fun & talented group of intern men & women. And our mk2mk staff Tracy, Jon, Julie, Katie, Ben, Cori and Josephine who are here for project 2!

Some Glimpses of God on Orlando Summer Mission 1

Yesterday was the final day of Summer Mission 1. Tears and laughter abound–especially after this week’s epic talent show. Last week, we asked our students to jot down a way they saw God on this trip. Here are some of their answers:

In the students' comments, 
UCF = University of Central Florida. 
CCC = Celebration Community Church and their sports ministry camp.
Capernaum = a camp for individuals with disabilities. For more info, see "Take Our TCK-ness, God."

“I’ve seen God in the joy that we’ve been able to bring to the kids at both Capernaum and CCC. Seeing their smiles and laughs is a good reminder that we are called to love.”

V.B.

“When I came on this trip, I asked God to help me find him again, to help me find good community, and feel like I am doing something useful with my time. He completely answered all those prayers.”

Anonymous

“I’ve seen God on project in so many ways! The biggest one for me is evangelism. The conversations I got to have with people were really cool, and I really felt God’s presence as we talked with people.”

E.E.

“I have seen God through the peaceful quiet times and through the abounding energy and strength from every student and leader.”

N.N.

“God has shown himself through the smiles of the kids we’ve worked with, the new relationships created, and all the blessings we’ve received since day one of this project.”

I.S.

“I’ve seen God in the housemates he’s provided. Both the leaders and the students are so fun and gracious. God was definitely intentional with who he put in my house.”

C.R.

“I have seen God in conversations, smiles, answered prayers for myself and others, in community with others. It truly has been a journey but I have seen God orchestrating it all. One particular way that I have seen God is in my talks with people on the UCF campus and watching the Lord use me to encourage others. Even sharing the FOUR with a few kids at CCC today was a huge moment where I saw God at work.”

E.H.

“[I have seen God in] how he is willing to accept people and give me the courage to talk to people and the wisdom to say the right words.”

E.P.

“I have seen God change my life this project. I have really grown in my self control, and I just feel way happier and I feel like I want to spend more time with people and friends.”

N.H.

“In my new new friends [and] finding a community. In the laughter and smiles. In the joy on the Capernaum students’ faces. In the awesome conversations at UCF. . . In how I feel like I belong here.”

E.P.

“I’ve seen God through the awesome community we have here. I’ve also seen Him through all the people who drive down here to give us dinner :).”

B.H

It has been such a privilege to work with these teens! This community will be dearly missed.