By devoting 8 days of our lives in San Antonio through service with Operation Blessing, the Texas mission team will have the opportunity to be part of the life-changing hope Operation Blessing brings to these residents and communities. We will be integrating and collaborating with established ministries to impact these communities in need by feeding the hungry, providing necessities and ministering to their emotional and spiritual needs.
(top row L-->R) Chris Barschaw, Kevin Martin, Richard Barney, Debbie Barney, Zach Prow, Colin Harvey
(middle rown L-->R) Wade Brown, Andre Jackson, Haley Gaylord, Kimberly Kunta, James Archer, Darrian Dumont
(bottom row L-->R) Amber Browning, Lacey Jackson, Rebecca Phillips, Saraah Auman, Lauren Dillingham
(not pictured) Elizabeth Barney and Tucker Short
(Note: Operation Blessing has taken photos of our team throughout our mission trip. If you want to look at our daily photo albums, please click on the following link. Enjoy! https://plus.google.com/photos/103462058580442432887)
Day Eight - Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Debbie Barney (Staff): As I write this post, I'm sitting in the Houston airport while the amazing Texas team hunts for food. As the newest SCSL staff member, this was my first mission trip with SCSL. I had no idea what to expect and was excited to take this journey with the students God had placed on the Texas team. God blessed me more than I could've ever dreamed with an unbelievable team, an awesome 2nd year lead, Kevin Martin, and that I got to journey this first time out with my husband, Richard, and daughter, Elizabeth.
Our team integrated with CBN's Operation Blessing's team, and together, we rocked the San Antonio Westside. OB blew us away with their love and friendship from the first moment. We truly love Sheila, Raymond, Clifton, and Austin---andI have a sneaky feeling that some of us will be venturing to Virginia Beach.
Each day was packed with opportunities to minister to those around us. As you read the students' posts from day one, you will learn about each day's activities. There are many testimonies, some unexpected, as to how God changed their opinions on somethings to various callings He has placed on their lives. Many of the students confessed that Texas was their last choice for missions but have since decided that Texas was the "best mission trip ever."
The people we met at our host church, Last Chance Ministries, became our family almost immediately. Pastor Jimmy Robles, senior pastor, has a testimony that is a modern day Saul-Paul one. I strongly encourage you to check out their website and read about this amazing ministry. God is in the barrio! Of course, there were other ministries, but you'll have to read the following posts to hear all about our time in Texas!!! As with most mission trips, God blessed us more than we blessed others. I will never forget this team or this trip. God is good!
Darrie Dumon (1st Year): Going on the Texas Missions trip I didn't know what to expect and it made me somewhat nervous about going there. After seeing the hearts of the people at Last Chance Ministries and Operation Blessing, I was beyond excited to be there.
Getting to work with people who have such a love for God and the San Antonio area made the trip better that I had expected it to be. I enjoyed being able to help OB to distribute food to the less fortunate, and also getting to interact with the local people at the church.
After a few days of being in San Antonio I understood why God wanted me to go there.
Day Seven - Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Haley Gaylord (Intern): We woke up pretty early after having two days of fun & entered into our last day of ministry for the week. As a team we kinda had a "give it all you've got mentality." Our agenda for the day basically was to help around the church, loving on people & assisting in handing out food boxes to those who needed them & clean the entire church. We split up in groups, and I was in the group where we just got to talk to & love on people while they were waiting for their number to be called to receive a box of food.
I started chatting with a lady named flora & her husband for a while just about their daughter-in-law & how she passed away recently & just got to love on them. Then I met a lady named Yevelan who was 38 years old and a claimed Catholic. I connected right away with her. We just got to talking to her about her dad & how he passed away, as well as, her twin brother. I got to share some of my testimony, relate to her on some levels, and just tell her about all The Lord has done in my life, the healing he's brought me, and how she can receive it too. Then I encouraged her and spoke truth over her in her identity.
All the while Raymond, OB team lead, James, Colin, and Wade were leading worship. People started asking me to sing "Oceans" again as I did the night before for our service. In my mind I was thinking it's one thing to sing in front of family who are going to give you grace; it's another to sing in front of a room full of strangers. But in that moment it wasn't about me. It was about Yevelan because I knew she needed to hear that particular song especially because I was talking to her about it, encouraging her through some of the lyrics, and telling her how much it really spoke to me in my own personal journey.
After I finished, I got distracted by the cutest baby ever named Ashley Crystal who literally looks just like a baby version of Dora! As soon as I turned around after visiting with her, Yevelan was no where to be found, but I know that wherever she is the Lord is with her. I pray that somehow I was blessed enough to be apart of showing her the heart of the Father.
Tucker Short (Intern): So Tuesday was our last day in Texas and it was bitter sweet! I think I can speak on behalf of all of us when I say this trip completely shattered our expectations! In the morning we got to help out with Last Chance ministries food pantry and then we got to serve the church and bless them for letting us stay there! It was the least that we could do for how much they blessed us! Richard, Kevin, James, myself, and a couple others got to bless them by building am outdoor stage for the church which came out fantastic! Then to wrap up the day the church blessed us with some home made Mexican food, by far the best food we are all week! Then we had our last time of worship together, heard Pastor Jimmy and another ladies testimony which were absolutely amazing! We then got to love on each other and honor the leaders who made this trip possible! And what better way to end the day with a couple games of volleyball to just hang out with each other one last time!! I know I might of said blessed a couple times in this but when I say we were blessed I truely mean it! This trip showed that when you think you are going to serve and bless people it is the one that is serving that will be blessed more!
Day Six - Monday, February 24, 2014
Zach Prow (1st Year): Today, we got to have a fantastic free day. We went to the famous San Antonio Riverwalk. We ate lunch at Rita's, an authentic Tex-mex restaurant, and explored the city till our appointment at the river. At 5:30 as the sun began to set, our group walked onto our own private boat ride throughout the city.
Day Five - Sunday, February 23, 2014
Today, SCSL got their praise and worship on at Oak Hill Church where Max Lucado is the pastor. We were also blessed to hear Pastor Lucado preach. After church, we drove 3.5 hours to the San Angelo Rodeo Finals! Enough said!
Day Four - Saturday, February 22, 2014
Amber Browning (1st Year): So today started amazing! We went to help set up for Stage Coach Ministries and the fundraiser that they were preparing for. Stage Coach Ministries is a ministry that provides food boxes to people in the Comfort, Texas area! SCSL was able to set up tables and set up for the auction! We joined with the Operation Blessing team and went to "take it to the streets" which is an amazing ministry that provides food for the homeless and needy and they also share the word as well as equipping them with things that they need such as haircuts! I have met so many amazing people and have had the chance to sit, listen an interact with them! At the end of every night we end our day with the SCSL team debriefing and worship our father! I am so excited to be able to work with Operation Blessing as well as my SCSL family and I can't wait to see what God has in store for tomorrow!
Lacey Jackson (1st Year): On Saturday afternoon Last Chance Ministries, our host church, had a flea market, and I shopped, bought jewelry and got to love on, pray for and know people. I went to the playground and met this cute little girl named Jada. She had the cutest smile on her face, and we slid on the slides and swang on the swings. It really wasn't an amazing Jesus moment, but she brought me so much life. I fell in love with this girl just laughing and playing together--made my whole day. She is the sweetest little girl and brought so much love to my heart. I will never forget San Antiono,TX; it really changed and broke my heart and motivated me to fall more in love with Jesus even more.
Colin Harvey (1st Year): Today was probably one of my favorite days, personally. This morning, some of the SCSL brothers went over Pastor Jimmy’s brother Chris, who was blind, and had a jam session with him as we all made an effort to fellowship with the people in the church flea market that day. Little did we know that Chris had just gone through some relationship troubles and Pastor Jimmy thanked us for helping lift him out of that mood and just being friendly and encouraging. We played with the kids on the playground as well. I didn’t think I enjoyed playing with kids until I worked on this trip. There was one little girl that kept stealing my hat and I had so much fun just chasing her around trying to get it back and playing tag with the rest of the kids. Later on that night, I ran into Miss Crystal again, who a handful of us have worked with. Even serving under her, helping her clean, and load equipment into the trucks was a blessing to us. As much as we thought we were blessing her, I believe she was blessing us even more and she will undoubtedly not be forgotten.
Day Three - Friday, February 21, 2014
Elizabeth Barney (Intern): Friday night we had the opportunity to serve with a ministry called Taking it to the Streets. Bbasically, you get to love on/get loved on by a ton of "residentially displaced" individuals. And one of them changed my life forever.
I was standing in the food line, praying under my breath for every person I had the honor of serving. And, all of a sudden, there she was... in all her curly hair and pregnant belly glory.
Destiny. A 19 year old girl. Pregnant with twins.
We spent the next hour talking about everything from our favorite foods to how she met her fiancé to how she was in and out of Foster homes her whole life.
The entire time we were conversing, I knew Jesus wanted me to wash her feet. My first thought was, "Uh." I mean, feet don't really repulse me, but... that's just strange and completely foreign to me (and probably even more so for Destiny).
I kept telling myself that it was all a silly thought. So if I kept dismissing it, it would eventually go away. Right?
As you might know, when God wants something done, He gets it done. He's pretty stinkin' persistent!
All of a sudden, I found myself kneeling before this precious soul and her weary feet in my hands. Tears began to fill my eyes, and my voice was nowhere to be found.
As I sat there before Destiny, I began thinking about John 13 (when Jesus washed the disciples feet) and how it related to me.
This is what I realized: Foot-washing isn't about the feet. The Creator of the Universe told us in that moment (John 13) that dirty feet don’t mean a permanently dirty person. The fact that we get to know/tell others about a God who unconditionally loves and serves people in such a way is truly freeing and totally mind-blowing.
May we never forget that when we are able to see others as God sees them, our disposition, in Jesus, changes.
Loved ones, this is what life is all about -- bringing God glory by showing others the same love and grace that saved us. And we can't let a little dirt distract us from what really matters.
Andre' Jackson (1st Year): Today was a busy day, but all he hard work paid off. Tonight was very special to me because I got the opportunity to minister to "residentially displaced" people and build new relationships. To see that these people continue to have joy during hard times really speaks to my heart. Through it all, they express their love for Christ and how He loves them all. I wouldn't mind at all serving these people wherever I go.
Day Two - Thursday, February 20, 2014
Sarah Auman (2nd Year): Howdy friends! Today's events in San Antonio began at six o'clock on the dot with so much anticipation as to what we would all encounter. We began our morning by helping a ministry called Daily Bread, who helps distribute food to other churches and outreaches. The entire team was able to put boxes of food, bags of beans, and other multiple items together to help those in need. I was such a blessing to know that we were making a difference in the lives of those who still remain a mystery to us.
Later on, during the evening, we were able to help Cowboy Fellowship/Stagecoach Ministries distribute boxes of fruits, vegetables, meats, bread, and personal items to families who were in need of help. Part of the group helped run the boxes to the families who were waiting patiently in their cars. Another group played and ministered to the kids who waited for the families to pick up their food boxes. The last group, which was my group, got the chance to talk and pray for the families while they were waiting for their food. I knew that this was something that the Lord had impressed on my heart to do, and I wanted to, but
Regardless if I was afraid I knew I would have to face my fear and do what the Lord had asked of me.it was like there was something holding me back, FEAR. I desperately want the people we touched to feel the heart of the Father;
After being instructed on how to approach the families, we had to put what we had learned in that short time to the test. Honestly, part of me wanted to shy away from talking to these families, but there was just something within my being that wouldn't allow me to do so. Talking to these families at first was pretty awkward due to language barriers. I had to remind myself that these people are God's children just like me, and I wanted to show them His love even if they had never truly experienced it before. Therefore, I chose to step out of my comfort zone and was able to share the love of God with a few different families. I was truly blessed by how most of these people were so accepting and hungry for the Word of God. I was able to pray and encourage God's beloved and knowing that the Lord was using me out of all people to touch the hearts of the one's He loves was indescribable. I walked away tonight completely blessed and in awe of the God we serve.
Day One - Wednesday, February 19, 2014
James Archer (1st Year): "Hello neighbor! Howdy friend!," in my most Texas voice ever, I would just like to take a moment to share some heart. When I first heard that I would be coming to Texas I was slightly discouraged, but can I say it was an attack from the enemy. I have seen first hand how the Lord truly guides and directs our steps first hand. You see, after spending time with the Lord, I felt as though Texas is where I was called to go, but I didn't know why. Once we arrived at Last Chance Ministries and attended the worship service I knew. Some background information about my self now. At the beginning of this year, I had a desire to learn Spanish, not just some fad but from my soul. So, we arrived and attended the
service our first night. It was honestly so refreshing to see people pursuing the Lord with all that they had who were not in in some discipleship program. There were no fronts, just true hearts pursuing the Kingdom as brothers and sisters in Christ...not worrying about what anyone's opinion was, but in that moment...during worship, if they were going to look foolish they were going to look foolish glorifying the Almighty Creator God.
Something I experienced that night that I will never forget is when the congregation sang the song "Sing, Sing, Sing" the worship leader of the church began to sing in Spanish and my heart shattered! For in that moment, the Lord began to deal with my heart and showed me the passion that He had birthed inside of me for the culture and the language. I tell you this to share with you the saying,"Oh, just follow your heart," well it isn't always the best decision.
At the beginning of the year my "heart" wasn't telling me to go to Texas, but the Lord's was. He was already guiding and directing me even though I had no idea. Jeremiah 17:9 says the human heart is the most deceitful of all things. So, I have learned that it isn't my place to follow my own understanding to "follow my Heart" but to lean on the Lord, trusting that He is guiding my steps while in His will and to "Follow His Heart".
I leave you with this. I experienced such a sweet tangible presence of the Lord at Last Chance Ministries which I believe the name fits so perfectly. You see I believe that is how we should all pursue the Lord like it is our last chance all the time. I want to tell others about Jesus like it's my last chance. I want to draw closer to the Father like it's my last chance. I want to worship the Lord like never before like it is my LAST CHANCE this side of Heaven.
Kimberly Kunta (1st Year): The Texas team had a successful first day beginning around 4:30 a.m. as we met at the SCSL modular to depart for the Greenville Airport. Our first flight departed around 900 a.m, where three of our students were able to experience flying for the very first time. To give you all a little insight into my personal experience so far I'd like to just share with you all my perspective of today's events.
As the team stepped on the plane there was an overwhelming thickness of the Lord's love all over us. I began to smile at the realization that we were stepping exactly into the will of our Father and about to have our worlds rocked! A flight attendant, Holly, accompanied us on our first flight and we were able to share with her a little the plans we had for San Antonio, TX this coming week. Holly's faced beamed as she listened to our desires to go and serve the homeless and impoverished community in San Antonio. In what felt like a blink of an eye our first flight was over and we were preparing to exit the plane. During the plane ride a few of us noticed this older gentlemen and what appeared to be his upset little grandson. As we exited the plane and made our way through the airport towards our next gate a few of us noticed the two were going that way also. During our three hour layover we had the opportunity to speak with this older gentlemen and play with his grandson whose name was Campbell. We learned that the older gentlemen was from Anderson, SC and was making his way to San Antonio so that he could bring his grandson home. Unfortunately we never learned the gentlemen's name.
You all are probably thinking there is some super spiritual meaning behind why I am sharing this with you, but, honestly, he was just a really friendly man that we had a chance to love on. For me, it was the Lord giving us just a taste of the ministry we will be privileged to do this week. The older gentlemen was so touched by our group that he graciously bought all of us a scoop of ice cream from Baskin Robbins. We boarded our next flight and headed towards San Antonio, Texas, and, upon our arrival at the airport, our team could barely contain our excitement. We made our way to baggage claim all smiles, and were then greeted by the Operation Blessing Team, who is the organization we are working with this week. We had ourselves a little photo shoot with Austin, the team's photographer, and headed to get all of our bags and start loading them up.
While we were waiting for the team to get the vans, we were able to have Sheila, the team's financiial adviser, share a little about what Operation Blessing is and the ministry they are involved in. One of the big things Operation Blessing does is disasaster relief. They have volunteer teams that are dropped right into th
e middle of a natural disaster where they offer help and hope to the families effected by the disaster. To hear the
m share it was obvious the passion that this organization was built from. The team then escorted us to the church that would be hosting us for the week, Last Chance Ministries. When we arrived Raymond, the OB team for our trip, shared a little of his heart for why he has chosen to work in such a ministry. The OB team had made SCSL two t-shirts and an entire guide that provided all the information we would need for the week, such as
the schedule of the different ministries we are going to be working with throughout this week.
During this entire experience it was impossible to ignore the presence of The Lord and His favor that was upon this team and trip. We were invited to the church's Wednesday night service which blew our minds. As we walked into the sanctuary we were immediately greeted by at least 10 different members who were just exuberating with the love of the Father. Throughout the entire service each one of us, myself included, were just wrecked by the Lord. His grace and mercy was all over this ministry, and it was so apparent.
Pastor Jimmy Robles, the pastor of Last Chance Ministries, told us a little historical information about the city of San Antonio. The area is referred to by residents as West Side, which includes a major portion of projects. This local church is taking major steps in trying to improve this city and is often referred to as the driving force of this community's improvement. It's only day one and the Lord has already shown up and has let us know He is planning on showing off this week in Texas! So, we are all blessed to be here and have high expectancy of all He is willing to do this week through us as His willing empty vessels.