Operation Central America

Come and see what is happening on the Operation Central America missions trip. Also learn about the teams and their prayer requests.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

3 more weeks.....

21 days. 3 weeks. That is all that is left until OCA 2012 takes off for Guatemala. Things get interesting now, what with graduations and weddings and warm summery days - lots of distractions and competition for everyone's time. Our team leaders have done a great job working with their students, and the students have been working hard to be ready to go. If you have been contacted by one of the team members with a request for support we very much appreciate you considering be a part of our larger team. Those who provide financial and prayer support are as important to our success as any student or team leader.
As part of the training process we met a few weeks back for a two-day retreat. The primary objective is to further develop the relationships between the members of our team. We spent several hours at Camp Edenwood in Eden Prairie. There the team split up in small groups and were lead through a series of trust-building exercises that challenged them both intellectually as well as physically.  The pictures below provide a snapshot of some of the games and high-ropes courses that the team experienced. The primary goals were to build relationships between the team members and to remind them that to be successful we will have to work together, being will to both stretch ourselves and rely on each other.

Later the first evening the team retired to the Wooddale Edina campus where we would spend the night.  But before lights out, we had the opportunity to experience the 12 minute Forgiven By His Love skit that is the centerpiece of the mime team's program. I have seen that particular skit more times than I can count, and it never fails to affect me. It was a very pwerful lead in to the time of sharing faith stories that followed. We listened, enthralled, as student by student we heard stories of struggle and success, heartbreak and joy, doubt and faith. Such an amazing array of experiences. The students showed incedible trust in their peers as they shared their stories, and the team responded with respect and support. I think this is one of the activities that really sets the foundation for how the team is going to hang together during the trip. The vulnerability displayed is a wonderful reminder to each of us of how God loves to use the broken and imperfect to bring His message of forgiveness and restoration through His perfect grace and love. It took until 2 in the morning but no one wanted it to end until everyone had the chance to share and be acknowledged (and encouraged) by the rest of the team.

The next morning we were up at 8 to head out for a half-day service event. We all went to a high-rise apartment building near St. Paul where we served by cleaning their stairwells and hallways. Many of the residents were curious about why these high school students would be cleaning their building and so there were several opporunities to experience interacting with people from another culture and explaining how our faith is what motivates us to serve. After lunch each of the teams had several hours to continue working on preparing for their service time in Guatemala. In the end we were together for about 24 hours. Coming into the retreat many of us were still holding the trip in our minds as more of a future concept, but by the time everyone headed for home we were all very conscious of the imminence of the trip and anticipating the adventure God has in store for us.

Here are some pictures from the retreat weekend. Thanks again for your interest in support! I will be back with an update just before we leave on June 10. If you would like to be part of the send off service come to Wooddale at 7 on Saturday June 9.


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