After a month of serving in their outreach locations, our REACH teams are settled into a daily routine and have begun to build relationships with those in their communities. Below are some updates edited together from a variety of personal reflections recently shared on the team blogs.
Team New Mexico
We have officially passed the one-month mark! This month has been full of ups and downs, unexpected challenges, and new opportunities. We’ve finally gotten a taste of what working at the school looks like, and we’re all very excited for the next five months. They need a lot of help, so we are glad that we get to step in where needed.
Jadyn and Briana are working with grades 4-12, helping teachers grade classwork and tests, answering questions, and helping students with their schoolwork. Sara is working with a little boy and Destiny with a little girl who both need one-on-one help. Cassidy is teaching a music class for the kids to sing and possibly learn how to play instruments! We are forming relationships with the students and showing them the love of Jesus.
Often, our roles at the school seem overwhelming. The majority of the students come from broken families, and several have disabilities, mental illness, behavioral problems, or a combination of the three. The need is so great, and yet we all feel that none of us are strong enough or qualified enough to really make a difference.
During team devotions the other day, we were reminded of 2 Corinthians 12:9, which reads, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” What a beautiful reminder that all we have to do is cry out to God and say, “I can’t do this on my own! I need you! Work through me, guide me, and use me as you wish.” Just knowing that takes so much pressure off our shoulders. We have to remember that God is in control, he can do all things, and all he needs is a willing servant to work through.
We have been growing as a team, and have been seeking God for guidance over our lives both here and when we return home. We want to learn how to best carry the things we’ve learned here and apply them to our lives—not just in outreach, but in the years to come.
Please keep Briana, Jadyn, Destiny, Sara, and Cassidy in your prayers as they continue their outreach in New Mexico. Pray for continued unity and blessing for the team, and for God’s strength and guidance in all aspects of their lives. If you would like to read more updates from Team New Mexico, click here to follow their blog.
Team New York
It has been yet another week in Utica! Our weeks are slowly filling up with outreaches, and we are finally getting out there and serving. This week, we attended our regular Bible studies and made a couple other connections with our community as well.
I do believe that God has us here to simply participate in Bible studies. Sometimes the brain feels a little overwhelmed by the amount of information that we are taking in over the week, but all in all, it’s been very good. On Sundays, we study the Bible for church. Monday and Thursday evenings, we have a Bible study at our outreach coordinator Nate’s house. Friday mornings, we go to an apartment complex to study the Bible with an elderly lady named Patty and a man named Mike. Later in the day, Nate and Chuck visit a Hispanic man in the community who is struggling to overcome some sins. They spend time with him and encourage him, and are hoping to start studying the Bible together in Spanish.
This week on Wednesday, we had lunch and played games at Patty’s apartment. Patty is a phenomenal cook and loves to have people over. She made her special macaroni and sauce, and kept telling us, “Go get more food! You don’t have to be shy at Patty’s house!” She’s a real sweetheart, and was thrilled to have people in her home. We are hoping to visit her every Wednesday to spend time with her and play games.
On Thursday, we went to Nate’s house to play football with some neighborhood kids. We are hoping that more kids will come on Thursdays so that we can do activities with them and also have a Bible lesson. We want to reach out to the community kids more, but it’s difficult because of the winter and COVID-19, and we ask for your prayer of blessing over this outreach.
Pray also that we would be growing in our faith, that we would not miss opportunities to share Jesus, and that we would be generally motivated, helpful, and hopeful. We’d also appreciate prayers for more outreach opportunities and promptings of the Spirit.
Please continue praying for Annie, Chuck, Derek, Tobin, and Emily. Pray for God’s blessing as they study the Bible with members of their community, for an abundance of outreach opportunities, and for seeds to be planted in Utica. Pray that the team would deepen their relationships with each other and with God. Please also lift Chuck in prayer as he walks through the passing of his grandfather. If you would like to read more updates from Team New York, click here to follow their blog.