One Step Closer '06

We put this together to let folks back home know what we've been up to. We'll do our best to have multiple members from our team post one or two times a day. They'll post on stuff God revealed to them that day, or perhaps a funny story they just have to share with you. I'll do my best to post pictures from the day as well.

My Photo

Please be praying for our team as we're ministering to God's people in Washington, D.C.: Ryan Balliet, Angela Beiler, Kristen Beiler, Susie Bishara, Curt Blocker, Heidi Blocker, Joshua Burcham, Nathan Corley, Brent Fenton, Heather Hart, Steph Hart, Tana Hatfield, Cameron Horton, Myra Horton, Bryanna Melluse, Cara Moreth, Aaron Pickering and Michael Utter.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Bryanna's Week Update

My week at Washington was great! It was so life changing in ways I didnt even think was possible. God worked in my life mostly through a lady named Ms.Young. At first I just thought she was just an old lady in need of a friend but in reality she was a lady who had helped me without even knowing she did it. She helped me do things I wasn’t able to do before. Another lady Queenie I think helped us all. A lady with great wisdom beyond our years. I didn’t think a lady so old who had so many problems and who was in a nursing home , who could have easily been mad at the world just had so much love for Jesus Christ. And willing to share it even with people who didn’t want it. This week was amazing I cant say enough about it! It defiantly wasn’t an accident that I went on the trip and I learned that there too!! ~Bryanna Melluse~

Friday, July 21, 2006

Junior High Guys

We finally got an interent connection and we're loving every second of it. The only problem is: it's almost midnight. So the team will update their blogs and pictures tomorrow at the airport. But we a HUGE awe moments at the nursing home this week, not only with the residents, but with others we worked with. We have that story tomorrow, but it made our trip. See ya tomorrow.

Josh and the Team

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Another Day of Awe

Here's some updates from our Senior High:

Angela Beiler:
... is totally cool! : ) hey guys!! i hope all's goin well back home. This trip just keeps getting better!!! Last night was AMAZING! We got to have our night session at the Reflecting Pool! It was SO awesome to be able to worship God RIGHT at the power center of our nation! Did you know the monuments were lined up to form a cross? or that the words "Praise God" cap the Washington Memorial!? Cool stuff! Today we got to start off with some worship and an awesome lesson by Curt. Then we came here, to the community center. We got to plan a game for all the kids, and they LOVED it! The kids are SUCH sweethearts and i'm gonna miss 'em SO bad! After that, we've pretty much just been tying up loose ends... the library is FINALLY finished, the closets are done, and the brochures are made! It feels SO good to have accomplished all this stuff in a matter of days!! Til I see you again, <3 Angie!

Kristen Beiler:
Yesterday and today were totally awesome!! Last night all the churches went to the Reflection Pool and sat by the Lincoln Memorial. We got to carpool with a group from Chicago and they were totally awesome! Our church was sooo hyper while we were with them and it was a blast! The worship was awesome and totally helped many people get closer to God and it was amazing. The most amazing part of it was when we started to worship. It was kind of hot and ther were a lot of bugs, but when we sang our last song the wind kicked up and we could all feel God in our presence. So I am TOTALLY loving this trip and am soo happy i got to go!!! I am proud of everything I have done for the comunity center and for everything else that i have accomplished this past week. I will see you all in a few days. Love you guys!!!

Michael Utter:
Hello there. Last night was a whole lot of fun. we went to the reflecting pool for worship last night and saw President Lincoln. The monuments look really cool at night. Once we got back from worship i went out and hung out with some of my peeps and when i went back to the room Curt was gone and he didnt get back till around 130. He said that he had left to pick up another church who had gotten stuck at the subway because it closed at midnight and they didnt get there till later. O man that would suck!! So..............ya i dont know what to write since yesterday but whateva.

Susie Bishara:
Hey everyone. There has definitly been some awesome devotionals in the night and morning sessions. Its so cool how God used what we learned everyday. Like one day we recieved this verse in Phil. 2:14 that says not to complain or argue. It was so interesting how that was the hottest day of the week (and the week we were outside all day long). We have been stretched and have been growing in that way all week. One night there was an awesome speaker named Eric. He shared his poetry with us and it was so real and amazing! God totally used him to say that compassion and being real is what Jesus is all about. He was really cool. I'm really going to miss the center we are working at the kids and staff are awesome!!

Ryan Balliet!
Revolutionary love: Sacremento rec center!. theses kids are awesome along with the love of Jesus in this area. love you all, Ms. jackie is also a great example of a woman after Gods heart this place is simply irresistable!

Cara Moreth,

Passionate: This place is filled to the brim with passion for the things they do. Mrs. Jackie is an amazing woman of God! She has a neato motto which is to focus on the strengths of people and use them. It is awesome! I can't wait to come home and put into action what we have learned here. Oh yeah, the kids here totally rock!

Aaron Pickering%

Hey people, last night was crazy cool. we did our worship and devotional in front of the lincon memorial. and as we were singing we looked out at the reflecting pool which is trippy. today was awesome though we finished all the things on the list for the center and it felt so good to acomplish it. there is an incredible lady here miss jackie and she amazes me with her smile no matter what and u can always see God through her. In the few short days she has touched all of us with her love for kids. shes really cool haha!!!!!!!!!!!!

~Steph Hart~
I don't often experience a variety of cultures in my everyday life, and especially any like the one we have been working in this week. It's so different and, at first, a little weird. I mean, a guy just walked down the parking lot playing his bag pipe (then stopped for a picture as we all ran out in amazment). But I thank God for hand picking me to be here, seeing the things I have and meeting the people He's put in my path. It has been great, and grown me a lot as He has moved deep within my soul. I am sad to leave all the kids and friends we've made in this great city, yet excited to see the fire He's instilled in us spread throughout our own community.

Heidi Blocker:
Well, it is hard to believe that this was our last day to be at the Community Center. The people here have impacted us more than we even imagined. We had an awesome time this morning hanging out with the kids--we planned some activities for them and they had such a blast. My wish today is that we lived closer so we could return and continue on with the investment the students have made here! We talked at lunch about how we can take what we have learned home with us! Fantastic ideas abound! I hope and pray that we can all make it happen at home.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Sacramento Neighborhood Center

Here is the link for the center we are partnering with this week, and also the site for the umbrella organization, UCM. UCM coordinates many ministries around the beltway, which allows for resource sharing and more effective community development.

Fascinating Company

Check this out:
This is an organization specializing in empowering african tradesman in the sub-sahara countries of Africa to sell their handmade goods on the global market. It is helping the craftsman make twice their normal pay, and also it is helping to feed starving villagers. They also promote new technology in the area of agriculture. I think this represents a great partnership of empowering and blessing areas hardest hit by the plight of hunger. Coach David Doswell, one of the volunteers of the Sacramento center, has helped start this company and has a great heart which extends globally as well!

Sacramento Neighborhood Center Update

Well, the internet connectivity that was supposed to be available at the hotel is not happening. We do have limited internet access now at one of the sites. Sorry for the lack of updates! Here are some updates from our High School team:

Ryan Balliet: Hey everybody! This is awesome. These kids that we are serving here are realy fun and we are enjoying their personalities. So far I've been using alot of lifting skills to organize some of the closets at the center and serving God in that way. God has been on my heart all week showing me his endless love through children that have way less than me but they come here and put huge smiles on our faces. It is a true blessing on my heart to be here and God is teaching me everyday of the week. If you have a chance read Philippians 2:14 thats a verse I'm realy trying to honor here. Love you all back home!!!!! God Bless!!!!!!

Angela Beiler: Hey Guys!! It's been a really crazy few days here! The sessions have been really intense, and the service projects have been AWESOME! I get to come help and play with kids, too! What more could I ask for!? The community center is really cool, and Jaque (the lady in charge) is SO much fun!! We've cleaned, passed out fliers, read to the kids, and helped organize closets and such. It's been challenging working in a community that is so unlike my own, but its been an unforgettable experience! God has DEFINITELY been stretching us through heat, lack of sleep, hard work, and frustration. We've all had our moments, but for the most part everyone is REALLY working on the whole "servant attitude". DC is awesome, and we all got to go play out in the rain for the first time in what feels like FOREVER!!! So we are all having our fair share of fun along with the work! I miss you all and I'll see you soon!!! <3<3

Kristen Beiler: These last few days have been a real adventure. We have gotten to do and see some pretty cool things. Helping at the community center has been so much fun and such an amazing experience. It feels so good getting to help out Jacquie (the head of the center) and all the kids that are here. So far we have cleaned out closets and rooms, we have organized books and drawers and we have passed out fliers. All the kids at this center are so cute and fun. They are very friendly and love to be around us. Touring D.C. yesterday was a lot of fun and it was nice getting to relax and have time away from our busy schedules. Over these last few days my relationship with God has improved a lot and I feel so much closer to Him. He has showed me that He is always with me and if I turn to Him while times are rough he will show me the smoothest path to take. So far this trip has been a wonderful experience and I am looking forward to the rest of this trip to see how God works through my life. I will see you all soon! I miss you guys!!!!

Susie Bishara: DC is way awesome. It has been such a tremendous experience. God has been teaching me more about him and my heart through service, attitude and the circumstances I face. I've been able to serve at the community center with several things: organized two closets, helped in the library, and passed out many flyers. Spending time with the children has been beautiful. Their smiles are incredible and light up my day. Like all trips there has been some funny stories which we will all share later im sure. I cant wait to hear more from God.

Heidi Blocker: It is great to be here! The environment so different than AZ. Still HOT, but humid. We saw some monuments downtown last night and even got to get soaked by RAIN! But the coolest part has been our work site. All the students in my group have been so ready to jump in--with whatever task they have. We've had such great moments of working together and opportunities to put the training we have received into practice. Our devotionals have been about stretching our giving, being generous with our resources, keeping a good attitude and seeing people with compassion. It is amazing to see God working THROUGH the students! I can't wait to see what else God has in store for us.

Steph Hart: I was so excited to be going on this trip, and expecting God to do a lot in my life and the lives of all our team. And now, throughout this week, God has totally met my expectations not only by challenging me and giving me endless opportunities to be stretched and grow closer to Him, but to also become closer with my friends and team members. I have learned to be grateful for all the blessings God has given me, which I take for granted everyday, and to really appreciate and love the people around me more often. I am anticipating the rest of this week, ready to see God exceed my wildest dreams for not only our time here, but back at home also!

Cara Moreth: Well, this trip has been truely life changing! My first day here God totally brought my heart closer to Him by humbling me to be ready to serve this week. Throughout our week God has brought about such awesome blessings. Like in our hardest and most trying moments that was when God would pour down His awesome blessings! I am realizing how much we miss when we are focused on ourselves. It has really stretched me as far as being with our friends every day and growing closer together living life together as we walk with God. I can't wait to take all the things I have learned here back home and apply them there. God has shown His amazing power and love in so many awesome ways! I can't wait to see what God is going to do the rest of this week, and as it continues back at home.

Aaron Pickering: Hey everybody!!! DC is awesome but theres alot of tress and its humid but other than that its been great. All this week we are helping this center that takes care of kids that aren't as blessed as us. We are basically cleaning and organizing the whole place and it really humbles you. As u help them u quit thinking about yourself and u start to become more giving and its awesome cuz once u start u dont want to stop. As of today we have almost finished cleaning here and we have deffinetly made an impact in some lives. God is doing some amazing things with our group and each day is more amazing. I can guarante everyone will come back changed

Michael Utter: Hey Guys! Its been a lot of fun so far and im expecting much much more. The group that we are working with is called the sacramento c0mmunity center and we have been doing a whole lot of work. Yesterday we walked out to the neighborhoods (i dont think that i spelled that right) and helped pass out flyers for an event that the center is holding on friday. My group spent at least two hours out in that humid heat. O man, that was a very wet day. The best part about working here at the center is the fact that we get to work around and somethimes with the younger kids. The kids are anywhere from 5 to maybe 11 and they are so much fun to be around. Yesterday Ryan, Aaron, and I were assigned the task of playing with and watching over the kids while some of the teachers setup the rooms. At night after we're done working we go back to the hotel and have a service. Almost every one of those lesons has impacted all of us in one way or another and has made us evalute ourselves and the way we look at the world. I dont think that any of us will ever look at the world the same.

Curt: I am very proud of our team. They are truly practicing what Christianity is all about. Our team has been an encouragement to the workers, volunteers, and kids that work here everyday, giving their time, energy, and skills to this community center. The center we are working at serves the community by providing kids camp programming, tutoring, computer training, music training, and even Tae Kwon Do! They also assist with programs that provide training to adults, parents and young mothers. Please pray for Jacque (pronounced jackie) Eaves, the coordinator, and Mrs. Foster, the social worker, and Coach David Doswell, who go the extra mile for this neighborhood.
We did get to see some monuments and even went on a boat ride down the Potomac. I am glad for Phoenix's grid-like street layout. Driving in DC has been testing my patience, lol. I really miss our kids. I often think that we could have brought JC. Maybe he will be ready next year. I could really see him having a great time here at the center, helping and playing with the kids.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Sitting in the Airport With nothing to Do.

We're just about to board after sitting here for the longest two hours of our lives. Utter got tased going through security, so it took us while to get through. Just kidding, but that would of been funny. Pictures are coming.

Please post comments, letting the team know you are praying for us.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Meet the Team 2

Bryanna Melluse eigth grader

I am going to D.C so I can share the life of Christ with other poeple I meet that don't know about Him yet. Hopefully, they can be saved and can know how unconditional His love is for us. I hope God will work in my life this week in Washington and help me spread His word with enough confidence.

Kristen Beiler sophomore

When i first heard that some of the small group leaders were going to D.C., I never would have imagined me going. When my sister told me there was an open spot, I wasn't sure if I would go, but God had a different idea! Now I am very excited to go and know God will use me in an amazing way and show me what he wants me to do!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Let Us Know Your Praying

We're in the process of packing and getting ready to go. We leave Sunday @ 8:15a! And we leave you with this:

Philippians 2:4-11
Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Your Number That Has Visited Our Blog.

Below is a link to comment on our blog. Please let us know you're keeping up on our trip and that you're praying for God to do HUGE things. Thanks for the support.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Meet the Team

Before we leave, each member of the team will get on and tell you a little about themselves, why they are going and what they expect God to do this week. Please check back daily...

Angela Beiler junior

I'm going to DC to take some time away from "the norm." We get so caught up in our day-to-day lives that sometimes it takes a HUGE experience to push us and test us - to stretch us in ways we aren't expecting. I believe God will use this as an eye-opener, and that He will not only send us to impact other's lives, but let our trip transform and humble our hearts towards Him.

Heather Hart eigth grader

I expect that God will reveal to me what His purpose for me is while in Washington. I hope to become better at helping other people that don't have or know everything that I do. I want to go to D.C. to see what God plans on using me for. What He does with me there, I will use back at home. I'm open to anything He wants of me.

Steph Hart junior

God wants me to be in D.C. I didn't think I was going to be able to go on the trip due to the amount of money needed. But God took care of all of it, through family and friends donating all the money my sister and I need to go. I'm anticipating a life-changing experience, and to see God move in a big way in our student leadership team.

Susie Bishara junior

I'm going to D.C. because I feel God is calling me to be a leader. He is drawing me one step closer and more like Him. I believe God will draw me out of my comfort zone and move in my heart through serving Him. This mission trip will not only build upon my leadership skills, but will also prepare my heart for the plans He has for my life.

Tana Hatfield eigth grader

I am going to Washington D.C. because I want to help people and let them see God and His light. When I go there, I want to be able to talk to the people and get to know them. That way, it's easier to bring God into their lives. I also want to be able to help them and their surroundings where they live. I'm excited to be a part of what God is going to do in Washington.

Cara Moreth junior

I really felt that going to DC was something God is calling me to. The desire of my heart is to do what I feel God is calling me to, and serve other as He calls me to. I desire so much for others to experience Christ's love, just as I do every day. I desire to share with others the amazing God I follow. I don't really have any expectations for this trip. I am really open to what God speaks to my heart. I really desire to learn and see new aspects of serving others. And leading through being humbled before God.

Aaron Pickering freshman

I'm looking to grow and learn more about Christ and His love on this trip. I hope to come back being able to help people and not judge them. By going to D.C. I hope to have fun while learning and not being so selfish. Out of this trip I want to understand how to have a true heart of giving.

Michael Utter freshman

Through this trip to Washington, I'm wanting to get some ministry experience and to move closer to God. I believe that God will show me Himself in the people that I meet and in the experiences that I have. He will create a whole new view of people in me.

Ryan Balliet senior

I am hoping to receive many different views and perceptions of community. Hoping to step out of my comfort zone and impact someone’s life in some way. Also, to see a servant’s heart through watching interaction between my fellow peers who are attending this mission trip. Hoping to see through God’s eyes the people we are serving and to see how He sees them. And maybe just a little fun.

Cameron Horton eigth grader

I am going to Washington to help the homeless and the elderly know Christ. That and Josh is just making me go. He says it will be a great experience. I want to see God move in my life and reveal Himself to me. Also, grow me spiritually and help me tell more people about God.

Nathan Corley eigth grader

I am going on this trip because I want to help others. I also want to see what God can do and change in me on this trip. I think this is going to be an exciting trip. I think God is going to change me alot on this trip and make me more powerful, and help me to sit down and have more quiet time with him.

Curt Blocker

I am excited to serve our students and others. As a team, we are going to be ambassadors of Christ. I am really looking forward to the experiences we are going to share as a team. I believe what God has planned will impact His kingdom in all kinds of ways. I know as we serve we will be "in awe of God". Here comes the revolution!

Joshua Burcham

When we first decided to take a group to Washington, I was going for our students. But as we've gotten closer and closer to leaving. I'm getting more and more excited to go. I'm excited to see what God is going to do in our students' lives, and also what God is going to reveal to me. It's the moments where God stretches us that grows us the most, and I’m going ready to be stretched.

Myra Horton

Originally, I wasn't going to D.C., but because Josh is mean and forced me into going, I'm going now. However, today Pastor Phil had a phenomenal message about taking a risk and leaving your comfort zone (the message was meant for me). I am now going to see how God can stretch me as a believer in Jesus Christ and use me to minister to the elderly. I feel I was forced by God, because God really wanted to test me and has something great in store for me.

Heidi Blocker

Serving brings out an aspect of our faith that is different than attending church or studying the Word. Serving others is truly serving Christ. I believe it is significant that we are making an impact in our own country, to hopefully encourage our team that we can do this in our own city. It will be great to see what God plants in the lives of the team members, and how it will bear much fruit.

Brent Fenton

I am going to DC to learn how I can better impact the lives of the students in my Junior High small group. Also how I can better impact the lives of those around me. I am hoping to get advise on different teaching methods and to better deliver the information that God lays on my heart to teach each week. I am most of all, looking forward to what God has planned for me and for the direction he wants me to go or continue going(i.e. music). I am expecting God to reveal himself to me and really show me what it is he wants me to do. I am expecting Him to continue using me to impact students lives both on the trip and at home. I am expecting God to grow relationships between leaders to ensure we are all on the same page.