Thanks so much for all of you who were praying last week while I was at Bass Lake with PFB’s high school students. It was an amazing trip! We had about 95 kids and around 15 adults on this trip, and God did incredible things in the lives of our students there throughout the week. It was a wonderful week of relaxing, playing in the water, tubing, banana-boating, wakeboarding, volleyball, etc. But most importantly, I really believed that God spoke uniquely to our students there. Our theme for the week was “rescue,” and the first night I taught and spoke on the reality of “What it means to be rescued.” God led me to teach out of Mark 4:35-42 where Jesus calms the storms, and closing out with God’s promises of eternal and worldwide restoration and redemption in Isaiah 25:8-11 (I had previously blogged about God teaching me through that passage, here http://kerry-vanderberg.blogspot.com/2009/07/isaiah-25-speaks-to-without-trace.html). I got to play my djembe for percussion for many of our times of worship in singing, which I greatly enjoyed and hadn’t had the chance to do for awhile. Here’s a few pics to give you an idea of what our time looked like.
A couple of my small group guys, getting freaked out before the boat gets moving!
Us on the banana
Our time of worship singing together.
We had 20 people get baptized! I was particularly excited about this, because two of the guys that I’ve been mentoring in my small group in the last two years got baptized! And I got the chance to baptize them! It was one of the most incredible things to witness, and to participate in. I’m really proud of my guys, as I’ve seen them grow in their walk with Jesus, get ignited with passion, and have seen them step up and love God through serving and loving on people. They’re awesome! I really wish I could take credit, but I really can’t. I’m so grateful to God that He gave me the chance to see and participate in what He’s doing in their lives.
Chris getting baptized! The before shot . . .
And the after shot. Awesome!
Guillermo (aka Billy) getting baptized. Take a deep breath . . .
And back up! Jesus is amazing! (Billy tried pulling me down with him, but I didn’t go all the way in, hehe)
The first group that got baptized! After we did them, we opened it up for anyone else, more kept coming down, a couple in their full clothes (like long jeans)!
Us together later waiting for the banana. Dylan (all the way on the right) got baptized too.
And, WHAT THE HECK IS THAT!?!?
On the last night of the week, Brian Holland the high school pastor gave the final invitation for students to surrender to Jesus for the first time, and for recommitments, and 11 or 12 kids stood up! It was getting dark, so we couldn’t quite make out who all stood, but it was still great! Finally, Brian called everyone to stand up if they are willing to commit to be used by God in exalting Jesus and continuing this mission that He’s called us on. The vast majority of our group stood up. Afterwards, we continued our time of singing in worship and sharing about what God was doing in our lives around a campfire. I always love those times, because it’s a chance to hear what God has been teaching these kids.
With all that said, I was really hoping that this trip would be something special, and it was. I felt that when I taught, God was definitely guiding my thoughts and the overall flow of the message. I started to pray for clarity for my own life, particularly for where God is moving me within the coming months. While I didn’t get any immediate answers, I felt like God has kept me at PFB for a whole year after I finished seminary so that I could see two of my small group guys get baptized, and to see how God is growing this group. So, that was some clarity for why God has kept me around for this last year. Where God is leading me now? Well, I’m still praying about that one and seeking, so I’d appreciate your continued prayers.
What's also been amazing about this trip is what is going on since we've gotten back. Worship on Sunday morning was AWESOME, and felt like what Wendesdays have been feeling like. And then Wendesday, HOLY COW, Jesus is working! I'll think I'll need to save it for another blog post, but I think what's going on is not just everyone coming back with the spiritual camp high. I think our time at Bass was an important step on this journey that God has for this ministry, and is just going to continue freaking us out. More on that later, but for now, thanks for your prayers and support, because Bass was AMAZING!