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So last night we got back from Newark, New Jersey around ten o’clock and I have had some time to think about what has happened and how it impacted me. When we left for Newark last Saturday, I was going there to share God’s love to the kids in the city with the mission team. I have learned many things since then because of the people in New Born Wesleyan Church. The thing they always say is “you visit once, then you’re family” but I agree with Pastor Ray when he says that after about not even a minute in their church, you feel like family. They made us feel so welcomed and loved that it seemed like we had known each other longer than a week by the end of the trip. The first night we were there, they made a huge dinner for us to welcome us there. They were the most hospitable group of people I have met in my entire life. Their kindness reflected how much they loved God and how important He was to them. They taught me how to show that a relationship with Christ is the most important thing in my life and material things don’t matter as long as you and Jesus are best friends. Their services were so passionate for God and it was a lesson I personally needed to learn. God has been so good to give us those people in our lives and I hope whoever is reading this will continue to pray for these people because they deal with a lot less than we do.

Even the VBS kids from the city who didnt know Jesus taught me some things even though I was supposed to be teaching them about Christ. Lots of kids that came had many family members with them. Kids would be telling me about their brothers, sisters, and cousins that were also at VBS all the time and it was hard to keep track of who was related to who. But what I learned about myself from them is that family is the best thing on this earth and to my family, I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!!!!! The kids and their families were so close and they all looked out for each other like a family should.

Throughout the trip, we went through the book of Philippians and answered questions about what Paul wrote to the church in Philippi. Although the questions were challenging at times, they made you think about what you were reading and learn from it. The devotional book PRay gave us was a great tool to help us to challenge ourselves. Paul was telling the people of the church how to live a Christ-driven life. One of the days the passage spoke to me because one of my favorite verses was in the reading. Philippians 1:20 says “I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed but will have sufficient so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or death. For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Paul was in prison at the time and was telling the Philippians that he would rather die because he would be with God, but if God wanted him to live he wanted to share God’s love to more people. The things that Paul said about your relationship with Jesus was what I saw in the people at New Born Wesleyan Church. They were so loving because they had God’s love to share.

VBS went great this week and I had about four or five kids in my group accept Christ as their Savior. Whether they will remember it later on or not I don’t know, but it is in God’s hands now and I ask you to pray for those kids at VBS. If they do live with Christ in their lives then in their environment it will be hard to keep their focus on Him. The kids at VBS were great and I will never forget them. This week was one of the most impacting weeks of my life and I hope the kids saw God through me as I saw Him through them.

I want to thank everyone for their prayers and support in this trip, because without you guys, the trip couldn’t have happened. It was definatly what I like to call a “God thing”. I love you guys so much and thank you!!!!!

The activities we did was go swimming in a church member’s pool, visit New York City, and the girls got their hair done. When we went swimming, we had a lot of chicken fights and Shaun got everyone to make a whirlpool which got going really fast. In New York City, we went to the crown of the Statue of Liberty and walked around Times Square. It was awesome. Then Saturday night we went to a habotchi resturant where they make your food right in front of you. This past week was a great week and I want to thank Ray and Mary for putting it together and putting up with us for 9 days. ūüėÄ

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The Last Morning

I don’t know if this will be the last entry or not.¬† My plan is to encourage the teens to write up a final entry with all of their thoughts on the weekend, but to have them do it before we leave this afternoon will be crazy.

As I sit and type at 6:09 AM after a week filled with work, fun & excitement, I can’t help but to feel content ‚ÄĒ not simply because I am so exhausted that I might not wake up until Wednesday morning.¬† No, my contentment comes from above.¬† There were PLENTY of things that didn’t go according to my plan, things that we didn’t accomplish that many of us wanted to do.¬† However, those things are over and out of my control and what was accomplished pleases the Lord as they were His things, His desires.

We touched lives this week … around 40 VBS kids came and heard the Good News of Jesus Christ (and found out that some white people from Buffalo, NY really love them).¬† Untold other stories¬†of conversations & ministry that happened with those who walked by the church during the week.¬† The New Born Wesleyan congregation has been touched by our love and desire to serve our common Lord.¬† Also our group has been forever changed by this experience.

The church service is in a little less than 5 hours.¬† Our group will be conducting most of that worship time.¬† I can’t say that it will feel like being back in Orchard Park, but rather a little more like the eternal Kingdom of God.¬† Last Sunday, the people in Newark at this church were just faces in the sanctuary; this Sunday, we are among true friends and our brothers & sisters.¬† I believe our group has learned about true Christian community, why we call those who are Christians by the family terms of brothers & sisters.¬† I believe someone already wrote about how Pastor Frantz says “You visit once and then you’re family.”¬† I told him that he was mistaken … I believe the moment you walk in, you feel like a visitor, but you are family almost instantly.

Thank you for your prayers this week.¬† Don’t stop.¬† We covet your prayers as we read, sing & preach this morning.¬† We desire the Lord’s protection as we drive home today (for the parents reading this, we’re shooting to be home around 10 tonight).¬† Pray for our group as we process all that we have done & seen.¬† More importantly … keep praying for this congregation.¬† They are dear to us and they face so many struggles that we don’t even comprehend.¬† Pray that the Lord would grow them in numbers and in depth of their faith.¬† Pray for Pastor Frantz that he would continue his growth as a pastor and is able to move closer to his people (he’s currently living in Brooklyn, more than an hour away with no traffic).

Again thank you for your support & comments.¬† They have been dear to us these past 9 days.¬† Blessings on you … we’ll be home tonight

Day 8 of our Devotional

Sunday, July 19 Devotional

Day 7 of our Devotional

Saturday, July 18 Devotional

Last Day of VBS

Hey guys/girls its me again. Told you i would blog on friday.

Today was the last day of VBS. It was so hot that with most of the groups we did nothing. Absalutly nothing. Nothing, nada, zip. But we did sit on the front steps of the church. For lunch instead of having PBJ, we had hot dogs. After all of the kids had their hot dogs we played some water games. The first one, you had to take water from one bucket to the other using a dixie cup. The second game, included water baloons. They had to throw the baloons at a target that i was standing next to. I got wet. The third game was who could make the biggest splash with a water baloon. For the last game everyone got a baloon, the they threw the baloons at each other. The bucket that the baloons were in got dumped on me thanks to Brenda and Eric. I was soaking wet after that. Then we packed up all of the VBS stuff, and when that was done we went swimming (the same place as wensday). Then we came  back to the church. We played a few games of Mafia. Then we had the usual night meeting. I am so pumped about tomarrow. We are going to New York City tomarrow. We have to get up at 4:30 to 5:00, because we are leaving at 5:30 AM. We also got a new shirt for tomarrow. PRay said that we had to be in bed at 9:45. And lights out is at 10:00, so i am typing to you in the Boys sleeping quarters. It is time for me to log off.

Blog To You Later

Ben Selden

Day ? IDK

Well I was wanting to blog yesterday but couldn’t (to buzy.)¬† If Kelly uploaded some pics of me eating the tasty chicken feet prepared by the lovely hospitalityof the church.¬† It has been such a long week with my “DAD” (Shaun Canaski) building the shower that no one has showered in!?¬† Yet again Junior is well being himself always complaining for pizza and granola bars.Yesterday we went to Junior’s house had pizza ,because of Junior and Junior gave us some entertainment.¬† If Josh uploaded the videos you can see what he did that was so funny.

Today Junior finally came to VBS and being himself he got a granola bar.  I still have no idea why he is so obsessed with food, well everyone loves food but Junior WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW.    Finally but sadly VBS is over:(.We went swimming again and had many chicken fights.   Came back to some pizza.

Now I am in a bedroom watching Junior eat a pizza slice bigger than his head!  Nothing more to say.  Goodnite and tomarrow off to NYC!

Just a quick story…I really enjoyed watching¬†Lou and Mary out by the gelato vender on our street yesterday.¬† After our group had gotten their treat¬†and¬†they¬†were ready to pay for us all, some other people in the neighborhood came up to buy their own.¬† The ladies invited the neighborhood people to get a free treat¬†on us.¬† You should have seen the look on the faces of the neighborhood kids and adults.¬† Mary and Lou sent them on their way with a simple, “God loves you” or “May God bless you”.¬†¬†¬†

One more….a local boy saw¬†our group yesterday and broke off from his group of buddies and came inside the yard, wondering if he could get some lunch as well.¬† Mary had me take him into the basement and fix him a sandwich while he asked if he could have some fruit and water and slim jims and fruit roll ups for himself and his buddies.¬† Nice boy.¬† He probably was a hero to his buddies as he served them lunch as they walked away.¬† Hopefully they’ll remember the church that gave them some food!

Simple things, but hopefully seeds that were planted in Jesus’ name.

Pressing on!

Mark