Monday, January 12, 2015

Lakeshore 2015: In Retrospect

Friday at Lakeshore went too quickly for me to fit in a blog post so I will wrap things up here. The ministry team spent the morning distributing fliers, the kitchen team was busy preparing for the Friday night dinner, and the construction crew were finishing clean-up and miscellaneous projects around the camp. The dinner and service that night went well. The turnout was not as high as previous years, which could be due to the unusually cold weather. The kitchen crew did an excellent job at coordinating the meal and serving our guests. Pastor Don's message was very moving as he recounted the history of the Lakeshore Baptist church buildings, and then used that as an opportunity to share the Gospel.

After the service we all pitched in to help the kitchen crew clean the Mercy House and church building.  It had been announced that there would be s'mores and singing around the campfire when these tasks were completed, so that added an extra level of incentive! We enjoyed a wonderful time of fellowship together on our last Lakeshore evening. It is hard to describe the bonds formed during the week. Although there were people I didn't have the opportunity to talk with much, I felt like we had all become a family. It was definitely hard to say goodbye and know that we would not be meeting again at Lakeshore next year.

This year was a challenge from a media perspective because it was somewhat anti-climactic after last year. In previous years, our goals have been impressive from even a worldly standard. From working through the night to set the church foundation to battling unusual hard weather while siding the building last year, our goals have been remarkable even to those outside our group.

Our vision for this year was much less concrete. While we established a goal for the week, clearing out and demolishing a building does not carry the same level of weight as digging through Mississippi mud to set the pilings for a new structure. Spending the week cleaning, organizing, and finishing many small projects is not impressive like building homes in the community. Our vision this year has been described as anti-climactic, and that is true in some ways. After the culmination of so much labor in the first worship service last Sunday, it was tempting to think our work was done. But this year, our task was not the grand beginning of something, but rather the quiet work of closure to a project nearly completed. We have spent years working in "crisis" mode as the community struggled to survive and heal after Hurricane Katrina. And finally, they are moving into a new phase of normalcy. While it has been true in previous years, our position as support to the local church was especially evident this year as we worked with the goal of leaving them with a clean and organized church grounds. The week was a good reminder that the work of the kingdom is not often remarkable in the eyes of the world, because we live for eternity, not for this temporary life. It was with sadness that we prepared the church area for our final departure, but we were also filled with great joy for this congregation as they are beginning to move forward into a new phase of church life. Though we will not see them every January, we continue to pray that God blesses their faithful service for the kingdom. And we look forward to spending eternity with our brothers and sisters in Christ, serving our Lord together.

Fun at Lakeshore

For those who haven't attended Lakeshore, it is hard to describe the experience. Despite being there to work hard, we somehow fit in a lot of fun as well. I tried to capture some of those moments throughout the week. It took a few days to put it all together in a video, but here it is at last. Enjoy! : )


Sunday, January 11, 2015

Lakeshore Photos

Here are more pictures of the week at Lakeshore. For the most part they are self-explanatory. There is no particular order or sequence, we just wanted to have all the pictures available on the blog for people to view. 

The choir which practiced all week to perform for the guests during our Friday night dinner. 

Glenn King is holding a piece of pipe from the propane line at camp. This had become so rusted, it began to leak. The gas leak was extremely dangerous and could have led to a disaster, but God in his grace protected us from that.

We congregated outside before each meal, and the cold weather led some of the girls to form a huddle to stay warm. 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Video Review

God blessed us with a productive and blessed week at Lakeshore. Watch the embedded video below, or click the link to view it on YouTube. The length is approximately six minutes.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Lakeshore 2015: Thursday

Thursday was a very productive day here at Lakeshore. The "shell" is officially gone. The old foundation area will be turned into a parking lot for the new building. The bonfire is burning continuously as we try to dispose of all the scrap wood from the shell. 

The ministry team covered a lot of ground yesterday, although at the cost of our frozen extremities. While the sun was out and we were moving, it didn't feel too bad, but later in the day as it became cloudy, it became more difficult to stay warm! We've gone through many nearby neighborhoods, and even had to order more fliers on Wednesday night.

The kitchen crew got a break last night as we all went out to dinner.  I think everyone enjoyed the good eatings of the coast. It seemed impossible that there would be that much fried seafood in one place! 

So now our focus is on the dinner and service tonight, along with cleaning and doing miscellaneous projects on the church grounds. Those on the construction teams who worked themselves out of a job are now busy tackling the list of tasks compiled by Laszlo and Glenn King. We are also working through the logistics of making a meal in the kitchen, serving it at the Mercy House, and then guiding people to the church building for the service. 

The challenge of our last day here is to remain engaged in the work. It is tempting to start focusing on our departure tomorrow before our job is completed. At this point everyone is running low on sleep and it is harder to stay motivated than on the first day. So please pray that God would give us the grace to remain faithful until the end. 

Prayer Update

A few days ago I posted about a prayer request for Laszlo Pasztor and his family. Laszlo had to leave unexpectedly to see his father, who was fading rapidly. However, the latest news is that his father has stabilized and is being moved to a nursing home. Praise God for this extended opportunity to share the Gospel with him. The Pasztor kids will be going home tomorrow to be with their family. Continue to pray for the salvation of Laszlo's father.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Praise the Lord!

As of 11.30am, the old church building is officially gone. Praise the Lord for giving us the strength and grace to complete this project so far ahead of schedule! We will be spending the rest of our time cleaning the church grounds and doing other miscellaneous projects for the church. Also, we are thankful that we've been surviving the (comparatively) extreme winter weather of the last couple days. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Wednesday Construction Update

Much progress has been made this week on construction. The old building, the "shell," is nearly disassembled. Others are busy siding the front of the new church building. Here are some pictures taken late this morning of the progress so far.