by Amy Burton | June 14, 2015 12:08 AM
We made it to the desert! The hot sun greeted us as we arrived in Phoenix. Pam's son met us at the airport, and we were able to have lunch with him. Then, we made our way to Tucson! We had a little down time at the hotel and then an orientation at the Church of God in Christ with Pastor Mitchell. He shared with us what we will be doing throughout the week as well as important information about the church and the neighboring community. He really encouraged us that we are here in Tucson for a purpose and to make an impact for Christ. We are really excited and open to all that God has in store for us this week. Now, we are ready to rest up for a busy day tomorrow!
Church and San Xavier!
by Amy Burton | June 15, 2015 12:17 AM
We had a great morning joining the congregation at Greater South Park Church of God in Christ. We joined their Sunday school group- the men and women split up for the majority of it, which was a great time to connect and learn together. The congregation made everyone feel welcome and everyone enjoyed being a part of such a diverse group of believers. They welcomed us to participate in their service as well. Chase, Crystal, Ashley, and Troy shared several worship songs and Jeff, Cindy, and Troy shared their testimonies. Brian and Jeremy were able to pray and share Scripture as well. The congregation appreciated our contributions and were really encouraged!
This afternoon, we visited San Xavier, a mission as well as the oldest intact European building in Arizona. We were able to observe the mixing of different religions present here in Tucson along with some great views of Tucson and the mountains from the top of a nearby hill! Ask Ashley, Cindy, and Jeff about a great conversation that they had with a Native American working there.
Serving in Tucson!
by Amy Burton | June 15, 2015 12:25 AM
Later on, we visited an apartment complex near the Greater South Park Church of God in Christ to pass out flyers for the Vacation Bible School we’ll be hosting at the church tomorrow through Thursday. The complex is home to many refugees from various countries in the Middle East and Africa. We are hoping to see many of them tomorrow! Join us in prayer for that!
After dinner, we prepared some bags to hand out to the homeless filled with socks, deodorant, a New Testament, etc. We went to a park and interacted with some homeless people there. We felt out of our comfort zone, but had some good interactions. Crystal, Linda, and Brian met a man named Ruben. He was really outgoing and seemed to really appreciate people wanting to know him and talk with him. Crystal was able to share a testimony that she had heard over dinner that was very fitting for Ruben. We are hoping to spend some more time with the homeless later in the week now that we are feeling a little more comfortable. Make sure to ask us about our conversations and opportunities that we had to pray with people tonight!
by Amy Burton | June 16, 2015 1:08 AM
We had an early start to our morning in order to work in cooler weather. Some of the team worked on the fascia board of the roof of the church and helped out level out a field for a community garden. The rest of the team went around Tucson gathering materials needed for the Vacation Bible School. They also prepped the materials.
Painting and Refugees
by Amy Burton | June 16, 2015 1:10 AM
After lunch, we went over to an apartment complex that is home to many refugees here in Tucson. We painted an apartment there that is used for English classes, homework help, and other classes to help refugees with living in the United States. We are painting it to look more like a learning center.
by Amy Burton | June 16, 2015 1:11 AM
In addition, we interacted with some of the children living there. We are going back tomorrow to finish the painting and play some more games with the children!
Vacation Bible School Day 1
by Amy Burton | June 16, 2015 1:12 AM
In the evening, we had our first day of Vacation Bible School. We picked up several children from the apartment complex that we handed out flyers at yesterday. In addition, some children came from the church and neighboring community. We conducted an opening ceremony, games, snacks, crafts, and Bible story time. We are looking forward to seeing them again tomorrow and hope to see more!
Community Garden Progress!
by Amy Burton | June 17, 2015 12:14 AM
We were up bright and early this morning again in order to get to work before it got too hot! We all worked outside at some point. Some of us painted the fasci board of the church while others kept working on the community garden. We are making great progress with the community garden- some of us didn’t want to stop! Pastor MItchell has been really impressed and grateful for all our help.
by Amy Burton | June 17, 2015 12:17 AM
In addition, we prepared for another day of Vacation Bible School. We decided to add a program for the older youth, so we had some extra planning to do today! We also prepared bags of groceries to hand out for a feeding program held at the church Tuesday mornings.
by Amy Burton | June 17, 2015 12:22 AM
After lunch, we returned to the apartment complex to do some more painting. Today is World Refugee Day, so it was fitting that Linda and Ashley finished painting a world map on the main wall to show all of the different countries represented at that complex. In addition, we started stenciling the alphabet in each classroom.
by Amy Burton | June 17, 2015 12:23 AM
Others played with the children at the apartment complex. We had lots of fun water games to keep cool that the kids LOVED! In addition, we played other games, jump rope, chalk, bubbles, etc. The kids had a great time.
Vacation Bible School Day 2
by Amy Burton | June 17, 2015 12:26 AM
Later on, we had our second day of Vacation BIble school. We had a few more children join us, which was very exciting! The children enjoyed singing and dancing during our opening ceremony. They loved participating in the snack activity, craft, and games! In addition, the children learned more about Jesus and his death and resurrection during the BIble story time. The older youth really enjoyed having their own program as well. Pray for these hearts and that they will understand and receive the truth they have been learning!
What a day!
by Amy Burton | June 17, 2015 12:32 AM
All in all, it was a great day! It was tiring and strenuous at times, but so fulfilling and full of joy! We really saw God with us in all the details all throughout the day!
by Amy Burton | June 18, 2015 1:44 AM
We started off this morning with a great breakfast! Troy made French toast for the whole team, which was a nice treat. Then, we headed up to Mount Lemmon in the van. We saw some amazing views of cacti and rock formations. We basically went all the way to the top, which is over 9,000 feet! At the top, we enjoyed scenic views of forested areas along with a stream. There, we had a nice time of praise and worship, reading Scripture, and discussing God’s majesty. After Mount Lemmon, we enjoyed a tasty lunch at In-N-Out (a west coast gem!).
Visiting the Homeless
by Amy Burton | June 18, 2015 1:45 AM
After lunch, we went to another park to interact again with the homeless. We met various people and had all different kinds of conversations. Some were more challenging conversations, but Brian was able to have a gospel centered conversation with a man named Julio while others were able to pray. Many of us are planning on returning for one more time with the homeless tomorrow.
Vacation Bible School Day 3
by Amy Burton | June 18, 2015 1:46 AM
Later that night, we had our third day of Vacation Bible School. We had a whole new group of boys join us! Overall, it was a lot of fun! We are looking forward to our bock party at the church tomorrow night!
Garden and Loretta
by Amy Burton | June 19, 2015 2:34 AM
We made it through the week and had a great last day! Many of the men got up bright and early to start working on the community garden around 5 a.m. Everyone else came to join them a little while later. Everyone was working on various projects in small groups to get the job done...and we did! The blocks are up, and it’s all ready for Pastor Mitchell to take the next step.
After all our hard work, we had brunch. We’ve grown really fond of Loretta, the woman who has been making us food all week. Ask us about her story and what she is doing to serve in Tucson. We were able to bless her with an air conditioning unit for her place. She was so grateful and very touched!
Last Trip to the Park
by Amy Burton | June 19, 2015 2:35 AM
Then, many of us headed back to the park. Most of the homeless seemed tired due to the afternoon heat. However, we brought lots of food, water, supplies, and Bibles to hand out. We were able to pass out everything, and they were very glad!
All done painting!
by Amy Burton | June 19, 2015 2:36 AM
Others went to keep working on the painting project at the refugee apartment complex. The rest of the team joined them later. Linda, Ashley, and Troy finished the world map and quote while the alphabet got stenciled around 3 different rooms! It looks amazing, and the kids were so excited to see it. Some even want to live there now!
VBS Block Party
by Amy Burton | June 19, 2015 2:39 AM
After that, we went back to prepare for a feeding program and block party at the church. Around 70 people came to be fed a hot meal by Loretta and others. Many of the kids and youth from VBS came as well along with some of their parents! The VBS kids (plus more!) had a great time jumping in the jumping castle, getting their face painted, and doing other activities. It was a sweet end to our time with the children and youth there.
by Amy Burton | June 19, 2015 2:41 AM
At the end of the evening, we cleaned up and had a debriefing meeting. Pastor Mitchell and his wife, Sister Ann, thanked us for our service. He explained that this week was very memorable and encouraging for him and Sister Ann. We were all then able to reflect on our highlights of the week and the amazing ways that God was at work. We encouraged one another and then we prayed over each other along with the various people that we met throughout the week. We thank God for an amazing week in Tucson and are looking forward to seeing everyone when we get back! Pray for our travels and that God will continue to reveal to us more of Himself and what He has for us as we return.