Dear Hope Church Family,
Thank you very much for your prayers as our students embarked on some exciting trips this summer! It truly has been remarkable to watch the Lord work both in and through our students as they have traveled outside of Winston-Salem and experienced God’s Kingdom in new places. I’d love to take a moment to give you a brief report on the two trips that we have taken this summer.
After being graciously commissioned by you, 9 students and 3 leaders from Hope joined a group of students and leaders from Redeemer to travel to Pico Escondido Young Life camp on June 12. An eventful day of travel delays and a 2am arrival at the camp didn’t discourage our students, and they woke up ready to serve early the next morning! The next three days consisted of work projects to prepare the camp for the arrival of Dominican students and leaders the following week. While the work was often difficult (it might be a while before any of us want to use a shovel again), it was very encouraging to watch our students support one another and get excited about how the Lord might bless the camp through their work. We also got to know our amazing Dominican hosts who worked alongside us and shared incredible stories of how the Lord had drawn campers to him and grown their faith while at camp. We even got to visit with our friends Roy and Rebe Clifford and their family, who many of you know due to their connections here in Winston!
For the next two days we left Pico Escondido and stayed in the homes of local Young Life leaders in nearby Jarabacoa. It was remarkably encouraging to receive the gracious hospitality of these leaders and their families, and to hear more about the day-to-day work that they were doing in Jarabacoa to reach students for Christ. We got to be a part of a Young Life Club meeting in a new neighborhood that the local team hopes to reach, and helped out with a yard sale fundraiser that raised enough funds to send 9 local students to Pico this summer! After an amazing adventure whitewater rafting on a local river, we returned to Pico to rest and to process as a group all of the amazing things that the Lord had done over the past week. On June 19 we said our goodbyes, traveled to Santiago, and began what would be an adventurous trip home. After being diverted to another airport and sitting on the tarmac for 6 hours due to severe weather, we arrived in Miami to find that our flight to Charlotte had been canceled due to thunderstorms there. The Lord graciously provided a hotel for our group to stay, and, rather than waiting multiple days for a return flight, the Lord provided 4 minivans and a 12-passenger van for our team’s impromptu 12-hour road-trip home! Some parents from Redeemer and Hope even drove south to meet us and help us drive the final few hours of the trip. While the travel mishaps were certainly a headache, it was incredible to watch our students handle a difficult situation with grace, and many of us would say that some of the conversations we enjoyed on the drive were among the highlights of the trip.
A few days after returning from the Dominican Republic, the middle schoolers got their turn for a great trip! On June 24, Anna Otto and I traveled with six of our middle school students to The Edge Conference at Covenant College on Lookout Mountain, Georgia. This was a great few days packed with edifying teaching, beautiful worship, fun games, exciting adventures, and deep fellowship. The speaker, Jay Miller of Parkway Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, creatively followed the theme of clothing throughout Scripture, showing us how God clothes his people with the righteousness of Christ. It was very encouraging to watch the Lord work in the hearts of our middle school students to grow their faith in him, and to deepen their relationships with one another!
Thank you very much for your prayers as our students embarked on these adventures. Throughout the month of June it was clear that our students had not joined these trips simply for a fun experience (though we did have lots of fun!), but truly to grow in their faith, to serve, and to walk in relationship with one another. Please continue to pray that the Lord would build on the foundations of faith and friendship that he laid on these trips, and that the students of Hope church would continue to grow in Christ and in relationship with one another.