Nebraska: Day 2

God orchestrated so many things for our mission trip even before we arrived in Nebraska. About two years ago, a team from Eastminster, which included my family, came to Bellevue to help Avery Presbyterian with a Christmas Eve Service. As the animated bunch we are, my family wanted to put on a puppet show for the church! After the Christmas service, a man came up to Pastor Abiud (the Spanish-speaking pastor at Avery) and said that his family had come to church for the first time and he finally understood the meaning of Christmas through the puppet show. He was beyond thankful! He and his family are now regular members of the church! This very family who was impacted by Eastminister’s first trip to Bellevue is now the family we are scheduled to work for in the mornings! They just moved because they lost their previous house to the flooding. But, the new house they are in is in terrible condition. This morning, we helped them clear away the towering brush that was almost causing their house to be swallowed by a forest. We were hard at work today pulling out a system of vines and weeds whose roots looked like long ninja ropes. We were almost playing tug of war with the ground as two or three people would tug on a group of roots at the same time. A snake appeared out of the group, but Isaac helped us avoid that crisis immediately! Many people from Avery Presbyterian Church are working alongside of us, and we are so thankful for their help in both the gardening and in the set up of VBS. They have been absolutely wonderful servants of the Lord this week with nothing but joy to serve! 

The work was made light by the elation of the family we were working for. The kids, Esme and Luciana, stayed outside and worked with us the whole time. Luciana’s laughter is contagious and is the cutest thing ever! Her laughter sounds like tinkling bells! 🙂 The girls are mesmerized by rolly pollies and worms! They brought so many bugs to us while we were gardening, lol! Their mom, Estrella, only speaks Spanish, so I got to practice my Spanish speaking skills with her as we worked and then some more when she and her daughters joined us for lunch! She told me about her brother who lives in Valley Center who might start coming to Eastminster Church! Today was a really cool day to see God working in the life of the family who we were helping. Even more, the father of the family just told Pastor Abiud that he would like to become trained to be a pastor! It’s amazing to see how a small Christmas puppet show could have so many connections with God at the lead! I’m so glad to be back in Bellevue!

~Carley Phelps

PS- This afternoon President Trump came into town to check on the nuclear air base and a local ethanol plant and there was this long procession of cars and police blocking off the road to make sure it was safe! It was quite the procession, but we think we might have caught a glimpse!

Hey! I’m Grant Phelps and this is our second day working with the Vacation Bible School in the evenings! Although there was a 90% chance of rain scheduled for our VBS time, God kept the rain away and we only felt a few drops! Thank you everyone for your prayers! Today, there were more kids and more parent interaction. The kids started out very excited for the puppet show, and they really got into our “Fishers of Men” song. The stations went smoother today, as they knew what to expect and we prepared to keep them busy the whole time at the station. After the stations, we played two big games of Duck, Duck, Goose with a twist. We called the game “Jonah, Jonah, Whale,” and we played with whale sponges! Even though the weather wasn’t too hot and the water was cold, the kids were ecstatic to squeeze water onto their friends. It was a successful day, and we are excited to see what God brings us tomorrow!

After we got back to the Life Center that we are staying at, we debriefed and wrapped up for the night. We then turned out all of the lights and played a classic game of hide and seek. This game quickly evolved, and we played a game of sardines. Sardines is where there is one person that hides, and the other people try to find the person that’s hidden. If the seeker finds him/her, they must hide in the same spot with them until everyone has found the original hider. This was a very long game, and it took quite a while for us to find the hider. We decided that sardines wasn’t the best game to play, so we came up with other ideas. Matt formed a game called Infected, where there was a mad scientist and he created a virus. The mad scientist made a cure, but it was hidden throughout the basement of the Life Center. The goal for the mad scientist was to tag everyone before they found the cure. However, there was a twist. Once the mad scientist touched you, you were now infected and could tag all the remaining players. This game quickly evolved in order to make it as fun as possible. We made it so that the “infected” people can’t run or use any lights, and if you were able to sneak up on the “infected” and scare them, they were converted back to a real person. This made the games longer and we ended up playing until 11:30! This was a fun day with all the members of the mission trip bonding over silly events and how all of our work was coming to fruition!

-Grant Phelps