Dear Praying Friends,
Thank you so much for your prayers and support for me this past year. I have now been at Teen Missions for a full year and have survived my first Boot Camp and summer team! I served with my family at Jericho Hills Camp in Iowa in the 1990’s and came to love the camp and the ministry there. Now after being here for a year, I’m beginning to feel the same way about this ministry. From the first day of Boot Camp, I was amazed at the amount of work that goes into this program and how smoothly it runs. I have never seen anything like it and am so thankful to be a small part of it. If you ever get a chance to come and volunteer during Boot Camp, don’t pass it up! I’m sure you will be amazed too.
Along with three other leaders, I was able to take a team of 13 amazing teenagers to Australia this summer. They worked very hard. We were at the Teen Missions Australia base and some of the projects the team worked on were: building new eating sites for the Australia Boot Camp which is in December at Christmas time (that is their summer), raking and cleaning up a LOT of leaves, putting trusses on a storage shed, moving and repouring two sections of sidewalk, painting and some other odd jobs. Their main project was to level the ground where a new chapel will be built. It was 8-10 feet lower on one end and had to be built up and leveled, so they moved load after load of dirt and gravel. After each load was spread out, it was packed down and another load dumped. In the end, they moved (with wheelbarrows, rakes and shovels) 632 tons of dirt and gravel!
The team had the opportunity to visit a different church each Sunday. They gave a presentation at Noosa Baptist Church and were asked to lead the worship service as well which was a real blessing for them. They were invited back to join their youth on a Friday night where Katie and Lydia (two of our team members) gave their testimonies. We played some games and learned a few facts about Australia while they learned some American facts. When we visited the C3 church, the team sang some songs, did a puppet show, taught the Wordless Book and played with the Sunday School kids. They did a great job and were a blessing everywhere we went.
We also took the team to do street evangelism on two separate afternoons and the team had several good conversations with people. For some of them this was very difficult, but they all participated and did their best and it was a great experience for them.
The kangaroos in Australia are like deer here in the States and are very plentiful. Each morning as we spread out to have our personal devotions, the kangaroos would gather in the nearby field and by the time devotions were over there would be 25-30 of them. They were fascinating to watch and the team loved that they were almost always there. Des & Roly Lennox (two brothers who donated the land for the Australia base) made “roo” stew for us for dinner one night. It was delicious!
One afternoon we hiked to Kondalilla Falls and spent a beautiful afternoon enjoying God’s creation. Another afternoon was spent at the Eumundy Market (a world famous market) in a nearby town where we could purchase souvenirs. Noosa Beach was another highlight. We also got to spend a day at the Australia Zoo (founded by Steve Irwin, the crocodile hunter) and then went to Aussie World—both of which were enjoyed by all!
A real joy for all of us was that the Bible school students joined us for lunch and dinner each day and also worked with the team in the afternoon. It was so much fun to get to know them all and they became almost like part of the team. I miss seeing them every day and I’m pretty sure the rest of our team does too. They were such a blessing to the whole team!
I was personally very encouraged and amazed at the spiritual growth of all of the team members and even the leaders in the four weeks we were there. During Bible study times and group devotions the team members all talked about how God was working in their lives and their concern for what they knew they should change in their lives when they returned home. Please pray for these teenagers who truly desire to follow God’s leading in their lives in a world where they desperately need a spiritual strength and maturity beyond their years.
We left three from our group in Australia. Keisha, our assistant lady leader, just graduated from the Bible school here in Florida and will be serving her internship in Australia. Mark, one of our assistant male leaders, and Chance, a team member, are both spending a year volunteering under the Teen Missions gap year program. They will all be helping at the base there and will return to Florida next May.
For me, the month of August was spent travelling back to the Midwest to visit some of my supporting churches and spending some time with my kids and grandchildren. I was blessed to have the opportunity to share about this summer along with Nathaniel Bay, who was also on the Australia Team, at three Iowa churches and the Iowa Council. I also shared in a couple of churches in Ohio and spend a couple of days with my daughter and her family (more grandkids) in Pennsylvania, before returning to Florida.
Spiritual growth for team leaders, as well as team members
Keisha, Mark and Chance as they work in Australia for the next year
Good health and safety for all of the TMI staff around the world
Wisdom in everyday activities
Good stewardship of my time and finances