Starting last Saturday (April 1), All Things New had the pleasure of having 2 different teams from LaGrange, GA come down to help out. The team from Clearview Chapel came down with 9 people from Saturday to Wednesday and the team from First Baptist Church came down with 24 people from Monday to the following Saturday. It is always great for us to have teams come because of all that they do for our kids, for All Things New, and for the encouragement it brings to Jess and I. These 2 teams were great! They did everything we asked and even more, especially after I sprained my ankle playing basketball Monday evening and we had to ask the teams to provide their own drivers! I am going to talk a little bit about the trips in this blog, and in a follow up blog I will talk specifically about some new team initiatives we started this week and how well they went.
The team from Clearview arrived Saturday and they were ready to get started. While most teams need a little time to get settled and ready for their trip, this team was ready to meet the kids almost immediately. They got to Christianville just in time to eat dinner and then about an hour later I picked them up for our nightly service. For the rest of their stay, this team had very little down time and spent as much of their time with our kids as possible. Every morning they walked the kids to school, every afternoon they walked them back home, and every evening they came back over for service. Each morning they went to the community to invite families to the VBS they put on each afternoon and every afternoon we put on a VBS and played with our kids as well as other kids from the community. I had a blast getting to know each of them (I only knew their leader Chris Daniel prior to their arrival) and I know our kids did too. This was a very quick explanation of the work they did, but the bottom line is that they were a very hard-working team that loved our kids very much!
On Monday, the team from FBC LaGrange arrived and treated the idea of rest time the same way the team from Clearview did. They did not want any down time, but instead wanted to put their things down and immediately come over for service with the kids. When I drove up to eat dinner with them and get ready for service, I hopped out of the truck on crutches and informed them that my ankle would not allow me to drive for the next couple of days (I had just sprained it that evening). The team leader and my brother-in-law, Rusty Cook, along with another team member, Bill Hunnicut, were very willing to do all of the driving for this team. We did not have that far to go on any of our trips, but can you imagine being thrown into driving in a 3rd world country with very little infrastructure (that is a nice way of saying dirt and rocky roads) for the first time while at the same time leading a group of mostly youth and college students? I am so thankful for both of them and for this entire team. These high school and college students were incredible. I will describe more about what they did in an upcoming blog because we asked them to do 2 things that we had never done with teams before: House Mom pampering and prayer walking. I will say that they did an excellent job on both and were wonderful in giving us tips and advice on how to do it even better in the future. This team came down and served our employees and kids so well and I am so thankful for them. They spent their afternoons hanging out with our kids, their early mornings (before breakfast) walking our kids to school, their mornings prayer walking and pampering our house moms, and their evenings participating in service with our kids. In fact, 2 of the kids, Bailey Deavers and Davis Hunnicut led worship each night with the kids with Bailey singing and Davis playing guitar. They were great.
The reality is that I cannot say enough good things about either of these teams. They were selfless, loving, hard-working, and were truly there to glorify GOD. Our prayer for each of our teams is that GOD would use these trips to change their lives and to bring them closer to Himself. I believe that happened. I also believe that GOD opened their eyes to the reality of the world outside of America and I believe that is important as well. I also know that GOD used them to show love to our kids and to encourage me as I was down there without Jess, Sophie, and Elijah. It is great to be with other people who love our kids and who love All Things New. If you were on either of these teams or know someone who was, thank you for serving and we pray that GOD used this to bring you closer to Him!