Accompanied by Dianne at the piano, the SI team started the service by leading worship. From left to right are Mike (Grenfell/Kipling), Dianne, Nick (Montmartre), Noelle (Glenavon), Patricia (North Battleford), Samantha (Glenavon), Shanise (Bienfait), and Bailey (Kipling). Missing from the photo is Navonia (Cold Lake).
Noelle said this year's Street Invader's Team was the biggest showing ever with 104 kids responding from Saskatchewan. Our team worked with Ashlee who is a former exchange student to Glenavon. Ashlee's church is about the same size as ours with a regular 60-80 person congregation.
Skit: The Tree with Mike, Samantha and Shanise
The Tree shows the struggles we go through to get what we want, especially if we're independent. And sometimes we get hurt before we realize we need God or someone else to help us get the result.
Skit – The Lucky with Bailey, Nick and Shanise
The Lucky shows that we all have an inner beauty. We should be happy with ourself and not compare ourselves with anyone else because that's the way God made us.
Noelle said the leaders guide says to give kids lots of opportunities to witness, so she was going to give the team members a chance to do that by asking them each what they liked best about the mission trip and to name one event that stood out.
Liked Best: Being treated as a sister in Christ.
One event that stood out: The grade 7-10 Scripture classes because we don’t have that in Canada. It’s about teaching the different world religions and includes discussion time. The team talked about proper etiquette and the meaning of true beauty much like The shine class for girls in Canada.
Liked Best: Fun things like seeing the ocean and beaches.
One event that stood out: The Scripture classes because God really stretched her and made her step out of her comfort zone. The first day was easy because they spoke of Canada and themselves but the next day they had to come up with something new. Where to start a conversation about God with them? All the 10-20 kids were at a different spiritual levels, but once it got going, they had a real God-talk going and she liked clarifying some of their questions. She liked being billeted and the family she stayed with made them her feel at home and showed her around.
Liked Best: Fun stuff like... painting his name on a rock. This one coast was lined with rocks and they were allowed to paint them. Also, standing in the ocean. And, feeding a kangaroo – it was cool.
One Event that stood out: Australia is so different becaue they are allowed to have Scripture classes in school and they don’t have rules against cell phones in class. Nick said he was going to yell at some kids for having them in class until they told him they were allowed. (laughter)
Noelle said the schools were originally started by Anglican churches and then the gov’t wanted to take over but didn’t have the infrastruture, so the comprise was the gov’t could take over but the church has an input. Scripture classes aren't taught by teachers, but pastors and church leaders. And school officials can’t not allow you to do it. If someone offers to do it, they must allow it. It's optional and the kids don’t have to go, but they do until Grade 10. Not in 11 and 12. It's more common in elementary school. The team did year 7-10, which is our Grade 7-10. They weren't allowed to do altar calls, but could answer questions about God and that was one of the major things they did. Scripture classes were every morning in small groups. There was only one lady from Ashlee's church who wants to do it but physically can’t, so the team helped. Other church members saw this and stepped forward. Maybe it will continue. Noelle said the team members were really stretched to get up in front of kids their age or older and answer questions. It really stretched them out of their comfort zone. The students asked questions like, why does God love them, what about kids starving, what about abortions, etc. These classes were the major thing they did there.
Dance: The Dance with Bailey, Patricia, Samantha and Shanise
Shanise said The Dance is meant to show that with so many goals, we block out God, but He wants to tear the walls down and that’s what He did for her these past weeks.
Skit: Thirst with Bailey, Nick, Patricia, Samantha, and Shanise
Thirst is about a thirst for God and nothing else will do. There are distractions in life and you can try them, but you won’t like them.
Skit: Jackets with Bailey, Nick, Patricia, Samantha and Shanise
About how Jesus is there waiting, like a warm jacket, no matter how much garbage is in your life.
Skit: Computer Addiction with Bailey and Nick
Bailey said computer addiction is to show how we get so many addictions in our life and we feel we need those more than anything else. We get distracted with techno stuff, computers and cell phones and forget about God. We need to forget those and remember God more.
Fun thing: Being with people and in a group of people. Youth groups were fun and to hang out with church people.
Was there something hard to do but you did it anyway?: Sam said they learned the dramas the first day and she worried she wouldn't know them after only a week. She said they played a few games with the Youth Group, like those they play here and other games from Youth Group. Talking time, dramas and connecting with people. On Wed, they joined the prayer walk with group of girls and walked 7 times up the street praying and worshipping God. At one spot drunk guys were hanging out and they kept walking but stopped on the 7th time and witnessed to them. Some of the older youth and boys had started doing this on their own to pray for the people of the town. But the boys had moved away and the parents weren't thrilled their daughters were doing this on their own so the SI team went with them.
Fun thing: Petting a koala bear in a park with kangaroos and koalas.
One specific thing that made an impact: Just connecting with the youth, encouraging them to step out. There were kids that started in Youth but were having probs. One thing that made you grow that was different was being so tired and still needing to push on and try your hardest. They arrived late Sunday night and started Scripture classes in the school Monday morning.
Skit: Robots with Bailey, Nick, Patricia, Samantha, Shanise and Noelle
Noelle took Navonia's part in the Robots drama. Nick said Robots is like being in a rut and we can’t get out. We get locked in sin and can’t get out. This last year, the same people annoyed him. Then he went to Springside Summer Camp and someone took him out of the rut and he got out. God takes us out of the rut.
Noelle said she likes the skit because although the robots are doing what they're supposed to be doing, in the end, the maker gave them joy and the freedom and joy was shared.
Mike said God centered him during boot camp. He felt it was the start of a new season... things he longed for a long time. But, he had to leave boot camp a day early to go back to work and in that day, he already started doubting the things God shared at boot camp. Doubts like, do you really think you can do it and what diff can you do? While waiting to depart in San Fransisco, the pilot said there was a problem with the oxygen and so they waited on the runway. Mike fell asleep. They sat for 2.5 hrs on the tarmac before they left.
So it was a 16 hr flight vice 14. Mike dreaded the long trip, but he opened his Bible and asked God to show him something. It opened to Isaiah 49 which says, 'Listen, you people of coast lands…' We don’t have a coast here. He wasn’t talking abut Glenavon. Mike was awake and knew although God was speaking to Isaiah, He felt it was for him. He read on... 'And He has made My mouth like a sharp sword; In the shadow of His hand He has hidden Me, And made Me a polished shaft;In His quiver He has hidden Me.' Mike knows sometimes God puts you in a quiver. A little glimpse of life and then back in the quiver.
As Mike continued reading, he felt like he was spinning his wheels with selfish ambition. And then he read, ’...My God has been my strength, to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved ones of Israel. I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, that You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.’ Mike said God was saying it's not enough. He had to go farther.
Mike really felt the potential of the group. Something had been trying to take it away, but it came back as a light to the nations. The most exciting thing for Mike was that they were used as firestarters in that Australian community. Many kids had a bad attitude or were scared of the Scripture classes. In the first class, some little boys asked Mike to sing O Canada. He didn’t want to, but he did.
Then, a Gr 12 kid asked if they were a drama group or Christians. At Mike's answer, the kid said, oh, he wanted a drama group because Christians were boring. And then, he walked away. The kid knew, but was making a point. They were smart kids. Then at lunch, this same kid sent a girl over to ask if the team would talk to them. Over lunch, they talked about their faith and kept talking on into the next spare class. And then, they got in trouble because they were talking about it in the class after that. Many questions and opportunies arose.
The next Monday, Mike went to the school to do some photocopying. He didn't bring God up in the conversation, but during the dinner hour, the kids brought it up and began talking again. Mike trusts that God has lit a fire under them. They’re hungry. And that was what really encouraged him. Time and again. The kids had stopped youth and yet, they said they wanted to start youth again.
The prayer walk had been down to a couple girls and they were scared to go out because of the drugs and alcohol. But after the SI team joined them, other church members decided to go.
The pastor and his wife hadn’t been involved with Scripture classes, but after the team went in, they decided they’d dropped the ball and needed to get involved again.
After church on Sunday, one man in tears thanked Mike and the team for going there. He said one of the guys they talked to had been dating his daughter and all he saw was an non-Christian dating his daughter and he didn’t want him around her. But, even though they weren’t dating anymore, this guy decided to go over and witness to the young man. Mike said he really felt they did something over there for God and thank you for the support.
Noelle added that on Sunday, the pastor, who is Ashlee’s dad was sitting beside this guy who was telling the pastor about how God was really talking to him about those boys. The church members were so happy the SI team went there. At one time, the church had been socially active and spiritually aware, but Ashlee said it wasn’t like that anymore.
Noelle felt their main purpose for going was to inspire the church for leaders to step forward, especially where the youth are concerned. Ashlee's mom runs a ‘Mainly Music’ program where parents can bring young 0-5 kids and have a music time to connect while learning rhythm and singing. Noelle enjoyed the program, as well as the morning tea and fellowship which followed it. One of the little girl's grandmother, who was from Ireland, told Noelle how years ago, God used to give her songs, but she doesn’t have it anymore. So, Noelle prayed and talked with her. Even with the younger moms, Noelle could help with the young kids and lunch, etc.
One thing that stuck out for Noelle was in 1 Cor where it says how we all fit together in the body of Christ, and how you have that sense of family when you meet other Christians. People accepted them and loved them and they felt part of that church. It would have been nicer to stay longer. They are in winter.
The team spent 2 days in a primary school to help weeding. But that meant cutting down trees. The rabbits and camels and other introduced species are ruining the land. Introduced plants are choking out the native species, so out in the middle of the huge school yard, they're cutting down trees. Cutting down one camphor oil tree isn’t going to make much of a difference, but it was an awareness and showed their willingness to help.
In our own life, we think something is fun and seeds get planted and start choking off those things God has planted. And sometimes it’s so much work to weed that out and get rid of it. So, we need to be aware of what we let into our lives. So even cutting down the trees spoke to Noelle. She said it really was a good trip. She got to know the young people there and the SI team became good friends with other kids.
Another thing the team did was Community Youth Service in the mountains. They'd just been given a huge grant to fix up the Youth Centre and needed help. Noelle said they were grateful we would go in and just work for a few hours and clean up the bldg.
They would like us to keep Adam in our prayers. A genetic disease is affecting his organs. His liver is shutting down and he needs transplant. He goes on list in Sept. His body holds-in fluids, so he has a big belly and is active, but needs it drained. It cramps and is painful and he needs our prayers. He jokes around and the SI team learned Rule #1 is not to take Adam seriously. He doesn’t go to church although his wife and daughter does.
Before the team left, Ashlee gave them an Australian flag so we can remember to pray for them. And, we left a Canadian flag there for the same reason.