138 Dirksen Drive, DeBary, FL US 32713
Before you read, I want to give a special announcement as we wrap up this trip and final blog post. In the student blog posts you’ll read below, you will hear first and foremost everyone is ok! We had a few students and a leader get caught in a rip current at the beach and had to have lifeguards come and help pull people back to the shore. The parents of each student caught in the rip current have been called already and have spoken to their child. So, if you did not get a phone call Friday evening your child was not in the water at the time. However, some of the students were shaken up by the event. We quickly made certain every student was accounted for, and everyone was fine. They asked us if anyone needed more assistance, and we checked with the hand full of students and each was already ok but had a couple out of breath. The lifeguards did a great job, and we went on to have a fantastic evening with a cookout and our own private worship after the cookout, before joining with the other church and Next Step Ministries for worship to close out the evening!
Our goal is to be on the road no later than 8:30am, and hopefully a little earlier if possible. And once we leave, we will be able to better estimate when we will be home. The goal would be 5:30pm or earlier depending on traffic.
After we make our final stop, we will have the students start to contact their parents to give a much more accurate arrival time.
Once again, if you want to contact sooner, as always feel free to call/text my cell at 865-640-8658.
Now, please enjoy hearing from the awesome students below!
Pastor of Sr. High Ministries
Cade: Yesterday was the last day of working at our sites, so today was mainly focused on free time. We went to the beach after breakfast, buried people, had tons of fun, and got lots of sunburns. One of the highlights for me was being part of the group that got pulled out to the ocean by a current. It turned into this big endeavor, and we had to have lifeguards come out and rescue us, but thankfully everybody was safe. After that, we went back to the church for an hour and went to Bay Park for a cookout. After our dinner of hotdogs and hamburgers, we worshipped by the side of the bay as the sunset. It was an incredible time. We got back to the church for karaoke and worship, which was one of my favorite parts. I’m sad we’re leaving tomorrow; I’m really going to miss New York.
Alyssa: The whole group was able to go to the beach today and we started out with everyone going up to the water and seeing how cold it was. Then, everyone gradually started to dig holes and bury each other in the sand. A few of us also went over to the towels to talk and tan. After that, we ate lunch with each other and headed back to the beach. We all went into the water and were having fun. A little while later, we were told to get out of the water and I was in the shallow water with Faith, so we immediately went to shore thinking there was a shark or something. As we turned around to see what was happening, we saw that lifeguards were swimming over to our group that was out in the deeper end. Everything turned out to be okay; they just got too far out in the strong current. Then we got back to the church and headed to a park where we had a cookout and our worship time, which was an incredible experience, as always. We got back to the church at the end of the day, had our programming, and started doing karaoke. Overall, today was a fun last day.
Sten: Today the entire life group and team went to the beach to swim and hang out. We were able to have a ton of fun while we were there but couldn’t avoid getting sunburnt. Also, the group banded together to bury Coleman, Tanner, and Elijah in a ton of sand. When a group of us went into the water, we were pulled out from the shore into deeper water by a current, but thankfully we were all able to make it to shore safely. Afterward, the whole group went to Bay Park for a community day with people who we worked with for a cookout. Then we had worship and a great lesson by the water. What a trip!
Anna: Today we spent the day at the beach, and a few of us, me included, got swept under the current and were unable to get back to shore on our own. It was probably the first time in my life where I had completely no control over a situation. At first, I thought it was like any other time that I had been caught in a current - no big deal, I just needed to remain calm and slowly reach shore. I realized, however, that I wasn’t strong enough to beat the waves. As I have been reflecting on this, I first thought the lesson would be how God’s power and majesty is so much greater than us, something uncontrollable and a power so omnipotent. However, as I have continued to reflect, I think that us being lost in the ocean is almost an allegory to how lost and pointless life can seem without God. I know this may be a stretch, but as my friends and I relied on the lifeguards to pull us back to shore, we relinquished almost all control to them. We had been treading water for a while, and could have stayed there, but needed to accept that only with their help would we be able to reach it back to shore. As we were in the water, the space between us and the shore, i.e. peace seemed impossible to gain on our own. However, every time we would swim forward, seeming to make progress, we were stuck in the same spot, wasting our time away. Jesus is the lifeguard; He sacrificed His own life and comfort to save us in our weakest moments. But we need to realize we need His help, and only with Him will we find peace.
Thank you to everyone for reading our blog posts and following along with our awesome trip this week! We will see you soon!