Happy Friday from Haiti! It was such a treat to walk in to the breakfast area early this morning and see one of our young men up early reading his Bible and doing his team devotional for the day. I have noticed so many of our kids reading their Bibles during downtime. The HUGE benefit of walking through the villages this week has been that we have been driven to prayer and to devouring God’s Word so that we will be ready for any questions that come. Mrs. Timms really challenged us in her devotional Monday evening to get to know God and to spend time just reading His word. What a treasure to see our kids diving in!
Everyone was excited at breakfast as today was our beach day. Breakfast was quite popular as we had French toast, fruit, and cereal. After a good round of both bug spray and sunscreen, we were officially on our way! We drove around 45 minutes to the Wahoo Bay Beach Club where we would spend the better part of the day. We took a lot of pictures at the beach with the beautiful Haitian scenery behind us. Our kids were really impressed with how nice the resort is and could see why tourism had once been such a rich part of Haiti’s economy. We all look forward to the day when more people are able to appreciate the beauty of this island!
After the pictures our kids quickly jumped in to play beach volleyball, kayak, water trampoline, and just hang out. Mrs. Timms and I went out on the paddleboards to show the kids how it’s done and then we gladly handed those over to the kids, happy to walk away with no debilitating or embarrassing injuries! We felt certain either of those outcomes would have certainly made this way to social media! The team played in the water for a few hours and then we had lunch.
Lunch was an authentic Haitian meal with rice and beans, roasted chicken, tomatoes, and slaw. We ate in the open air restaurant and everyone made plans for their afternoon activities. Most of the kids hung out at the pool for the afternoon catching up on wifi, sharing pictures, and relaxing. This was a great way for us to begin the transition back to the United States as we were able to have time to rest and process what we have experienced this week. Lots of great conversations took place today!
We just arrived back at camp and have some downtime before dinner. Most of the kids are packing and getting organized for our early ride to the airport tomorrow. We have a few that got a little pink today…but we have plenty of aloe! After dinner tonight we will close our time on this beautiful country with a time of worship by Graham Richmond and Austin Geter that have led us so well this week. Austin will share our team devotion for tonight and we will reveal our prayer partners that we have been praying for all week. We have passed lots of notes around to our prayer partners and everyone is curious who has been praying for them.
We will hop on the bus around 4am tomorrow to begin our journey back to Atlanta leaving a piece of our hearts here in Haiti. Our prayer is that the Lord would continue the work He has done in our hearts for the days, weeks, and months to come. We have been challenged this week to live in such a way that every man, woman, and child would know Jesus Christ.
We look forward to seeing our awesome family and friends at the Atlanta airport tomorrow around noon. After an incredible Spring Term, we are officially ready for Spring Break!
Thanks for praying us home!
NCCS ST16 Haiti Team
NCCS Freshman Reese Ballard
I feel like this week has changed my whole perspective on life. At first, I thought I needed to get through this trip then enjoy a relaxing spring break, but now that the week is over, I would do it all again in a heartbeat. I made great relationships with people down in Haiti. It amazes me that the children and families here have absolutely nothing and are on fire for Jesus. It gives you a new perspective on how God views the world as a whole as well. You would think He is a God of just the USA but he loves all countries equally. I remember a woman we prayed for and we asked what her prayer requests were. She stated, “I want to live a good life and I want to make enough money to support my family.” Just when we started to pray, she interrupted and said, “I am also very hungry.” This opened my eyes to how much we have and how much we should give more than receive. I feel like God has done powerful things this week in Haiti and He is not done yet.
*More pictures posted in the Haiti album on the NCCS Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/NorthCobbChristianSchool/
Today we went took a bus to the Youth Detention Center (YDC) to drop off bibles with highlighted verses so that the teenagers can have a chance to learn about God and come close to him. After we left from the YDC we went for an amazing lunch at Henry’s Restaurant in downtown Acworth. After we finished lunch we took the bus back to the school and we got to hear Kit Cummings speak. Kit Cummings is a professional in Prison Ministry; he is very well known and has gone to some of the worst prisons around the world to speak to the inmates. He spoke to us about some of his experiences in prison ministry and he also talked about his ideas. His main idea is Peace, he told us about how he went to a prison and spoke to some of the higher gang leaders that were being held in the prison. He challenged them to stay violence-free for 40 days in one of the most violent prisons, some of those inmates listened and it was spread through the prison by some of the changed gang leaders. One of Kit Cummings other ideas was about dreams and how through some “mysterious” way they seem to end up coming true because of an occurrence of many unlikely things working together. Kit Cummings was a very moving speaker and he gave us the challenge to become part of the movement to bring peace through our lives. That is what we did to today on our final day of Forensics spring term 2016.
Red Bird Team #1
Today was a perfect last day! We headed out at our usual time and were actually finished by lunch. Today was all about finishing touches—putting up the last few bits of shingles, making sure all the details were in order, and cleaning up before we headed out. The kids were so excited about the final product. They thought it was the best roof they have ever seen. Kevin and Coach King thought it looked rather normal, which, given the circumstances, is probably more than we could ask for! A few of them said they were ready to go build their own roof now when they get home.
As a small surprise for the Wombles, we also were able to get them a doorknob for an inside door that was missing one and rebuild the steps leading to their front porch. This actually could not have had any more perfect timing, as Theresa said that the porch steps were actually the next thing they were going to try to fix. As we finished clean up, we took a second to say our goodbye’s to the Wombles. They thanked us over and over again for blessing them. They blessed us so much more though! Blaine Luca had the excellent idea of surprising them with a small wooden cross that was purchased at the camp Craft Store. Theresa asked to pray over us before we left for blessings and safe travels. We then prayed over them for God’s continued faithfulness and provision.
Red Bird Team #2
What an honor God gave us to be able to finish up serving the Messer Family today! Their almost totally new Bathroom is ready to go: floor – done, wood paneling – up, new hot water heater – installed, new toilet – ready to go, bathroom sink – re-installed, washer and dryer – re-installed. Bottom line, though, was that so much of what was done was not even seen – under the layers of flooring, inside the layer of paneling, under the mobile home and more importantly, in the heart of a precious 7 year old who experienced the love of Jesus! These last 2 days he was picked up early in order to spend time with us. What a joy and honor to reflect Christ to a world in need this spring term – thank you, Jesus!
We ended the evening with a worship and communion service. Spending some intentional time remembering that the whole purpose of this trip was to glorify Christ and His love was the perfect way to end a week of hard work. As I reflect on the week and what Red Bird Mission does in this area of Kentucky, I realize that our students have had the opportunity to get a glimpse of the true Church in action. It should be like this all the time—taking care of our brothers and sisters in need with joyful abandon. I know we will not forget this week and the perspective shift we received, but I pray that God continues to hold these lessons near to our hearts as we head back home. I pray we will be the hands and feet of Christ just as readily and regularly in our own community as well.
Today started off with a wonderful surprise of getting to sleep in, followed by a typical Coach Konchak wake up call impersonating the front desk clerk. After a stop by the manatee refuge and a very passionate informational run down over the manatee species we headed to Crackers for the second time because the food is that good.
After lunch we headed to our mission project and everyone complained while we cleaned up itchy algae to save the manatee population. Overall it was an exciting, exhausting, and all together, bonding experience. The real bonding honestly happened when Scuba Rob locked his keys in his car and everyone pitched in to bust the lock. Thanks to some old wire and random shrapnel, the impossible task was accomplished.
A quick dinner at McDonalds led to an hour long drive back to Devil’s Den where we would get to night dive. The unexpected dive was going to include flashlights and computers and hopefully the chance to see new and different fish than before. It was an optional dive and about half of the group decided to hang back at the bonfire which I’ve been told consisted of multiple rounds of “what are the odds” and lots of screaming (which is typical for this group). I really enjoyed our last dive because diving is really tricky and takes lots of practice before you even begin to feel comfortable under the water. The extra opportunity allowed me to really enjoy myself underwater.
I feel that I have finally gotten the hang of things and this last dive came with much more freedom and luxury because I could use the skills I’ve been able to learn through all of the previous dives.
Today was a really nice day to end our trip on, the weather was perfect and the dive was amazing. All in all this spring term has been one of my best and I have loved almost every minute. Despite the boys constant screeching pterodactyl noises and the smelly damp bus, the trip has been an amazing and unforgettable experience.
*See more pictures on the NCCS Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/NorthCobbChristianSchool/
Today was a really full day. We started the morning with another ride into Atlanta. Thankfully we have a dvd player built into our bus, so we have been able to stay entertained during the hour of traffic in the mornings and afternoons. Today’s movie was “How to Train Your Dragon.” Once we found a parking spot we walked down to the CNN Center to get our tickets for our tour later in the day. After we got our tour tickets, we left the CNN Center going right next door to the College Football Hall of Fame.
The CFHF was awesome. We began the tour with picking our favorite teams to enhance the experience of finding out all about your favorite team and players. Our first stop was the Kick, Catch, and Pass field. Several of the student’s took the opportunity to try their feet and hands at kicking a field goal and catching the diving catch in the endzone. Danny Mondok and Coach Poplin even played a little bit of cornhole. After all the expulsion of energy at the beginning of the tour, we then proceeded upstairs to some other interactive components that caught the attention of our students. A few of them were able to pick their favorite teams on college gam day while a couple of them were able to test their skill at a combine challenge. We finished our time by walking through the Hall of Fame on the upper level and marveled at the likes of Herschel Walker, Barry Sanders, and Emmett Smith to name a few of the players who shaped the history of college football.
After the CFHF we went back to the CNN Center and had lunch in the food court. We began our tour of the CNN Center by going up the world’s longest freestanding escalator as recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records. As we weaved our way through Studio 7 of CNN we were able to see where and how the news around the world is brought to our attention through all the technology, broadcaster, and people who work behind the scenes to get all the latest news stories both international and domestic.
Today was very informative and interactive. The students walked away with a better understanding of what it takes to put together some pretty amazing facts from around the world. Whether is was the CFHF where they were able to play and talk about their favorite teams or walking through a newsroom to see how a green screen works and why the doppler radar doesn’t cover the weatherman, today was very eventful to say the least!
Tomorrow will be our final day. We are going to see the Martin Luther King Jr. Museum, followed by a lunch at Gladys Knight’s Chicken and Waffles. We will end the day with go-carts and putt putt at Mountasia.
MS Home Team 2016
This year the 6th graders went to Sojourn Adventures for an amazing outdoor ropes experience. The forecast was looking very dismal, so we started praying for sunshine. God answered our prayers, it was like the He placed a halo over the outdoor campus.
Students were put into groups with chaperones and Sojourn facilitators. Every student had an opportunity to do three “high ropes” courses: The “Lil” swing, the Zip Line and the rock wall. It was so incredible to see students face their fears made easier with their peers’ support and encouragement.
After lunch students remained in their groups for team building activities. “It was really cool to learn how to work with each other,” MiKayla Riggins and Samantha Ortega reflected. Towards the end of the team building activities, students had a reflection time with their Sojourn facilitators. During this time, they were able to share their struggles, strengths and how to work as a team.
It was such a wonderful time for all. We are so thankful for our parent chaperones who were able to join in on the fun. One of our parent chaperones shared, “It warmed my heart to see such a great group of kids interact with one another outside of a school setting.” What a blessing and excellent opportunity to count others more significant.
We made it home! It was a LONG ride home due the rain. It took us three hours longer getting home then going to Pensacola. We took one last picture as a group just off the back steps of our oasis for a hotel and then we jumped into our buses.
Though we spent most of the day on the buses we still had a good time – singing, laughing, trying to scare people, or just catching up on sleep. We are happy we made it home safely.
Tomorrow we are making travel brochures of our trip!