Youth Peace Travel Team 2015 – National Junior High Conference

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Hey all you awesome people! YPTT here again! This time to tell you about the wonderful weekend we just had at National Junior High Conference! We had the opportunity to help lead some workshops and some recreation activities and of course hang out with the awesome junior high youth that attended! Here are some thoughts!

We spent June 19 – 21 at National Junior High Conference at Elizabethtown College! It was so fun to be able to hang out with the youth and leadership there! One of my highlights from the weekend was leading Ultimate Frisbee during recreation time. Being able to just go out and have fun with a bunch of youth from all over the place while playing a game that I love is definitely one of my absolute favorite things to do! Another excellent experience that I had this weekend was all of the wonderful worships that we all had together. In my opinion, there are very few things cooler than singing and worshiping together with a massive group of people! We also got to lead a YPTT booth at the carnival we had together, and we led the youth in Peace Hopscotch!! This was my first NJHC and it most certainly did not disappoint! The leadership did an amazing job of planning, and the youth all seemed genuinely happy to be there together! What a great weekend!!

-Kerrick

If I wasn’t annoying everyone with my knowledge of Elizabethtown College by day one, then surely it was obvious by the last day that I’m a student at E-town and I was excited to visit. As if I needed the extra excitement-National Junior High Conference was a blat. I saw many familiar faces, and met a bunch of new people. There was so much energy during worship and I loved the music. The worship services were so easy to relate to, even if I was a few years older than the target demographic, and I absolutely loved seeing Alexander Mack and Walt Wiltschek as Peter on stage in a skit together. The weekend brought back memories of when I attended NJHC and NYC, and I was reminded of why I loved those events so much.

-Brean

This past weekend was my very first National Junior High Conference. It was so cool to be with so many Church of the Brethren youth in one place at the same time. I helped lead peace games, and really enjoyed doing activities with a peace purpose. We played step tag to represent different ways to handle conflict. Additionally we played giant Jenga. As the youth took down each block they said a way they could peacefully begin to resolve conflicts. As the structure came down, each person wrote their thoughts on the blocks and we rebuilt a peaceful structure. I loved seeing the awesome and insightful ideas the junior high youth had. Eventually the original structure fell and a new peaceful structure was created.

-Annika

P.S. We also got to ride to NJHC with a super awesome group of youth from Virginia! We got the chance to get to know them a little bit and road trip together! We also got the opportunity to stop at Hershey Chocolate World with them, which is always a super amazing experience!! So a huge thank you to the two youth groups who allowed us to tag along with them to conference!

A visit to Gulak church (former Brethren Mission Station)

In April Emmanuel visited his home church in Gulak and wrote the following.

I WAS AT GULAK LAST WEDNESDAY. I MET MY PARENTS. I THANK GOD THEY ARE OKEY. THEY WERE HAPPY TO SEE ME BUT I WAS THE HAPPIER. THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR PRAYERS. I ALSO HAD A LOOK AT EYN LCC GUKAK. SOMEONE TOLD ME THAT SINCE THE BH (Boko Haram) COULD NOT BURN THE CHURCH AFTER SO MANY TIMES OF TRIAL, THEY DECIDED TO SPEND EVERY EVENING THERE BREAKING THE PLASTIC CHAIRS AND THE WALLS OUT OF ANGER. THE WHITE PIECES YOU SEE ON THE FLOOR ARE NOT PAPERS BUT PIECES OF PLASTIC CHAIRS. THE TOWN HAS SOLDIERS ON EVERY CORNER OF THE STREETS. NOT MANY PEOPLE HAVE COME TO GULAK YET. THE PLACE IS A LITTLE BIT SCARRY WHEN YOU COME IN FOR THE FIRST TIME. I HOPE TO GO BACK THERE THIS WEEKEND AS THE LORD PERMITS. I SHALL TRY TO VISIT THEM AS OFTEN AS I CAN. GOD BLESS YOU ALL.

Broken chairs inside Gulak Church

Broken chairs inside Gulak Church

Please pray for our Nigerian brothers and sisters as some begin to return to their villages and find their homes and churches destroyed.

Youth Peace Travel Team 2015 – Brethren Woods

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Hello friends! Welcome to the first YPTT 2015 blog! Here’s how this tiny glimpse into our weeks at camp will work! Each week we will have a little intro that says where we were and then each of the team members will write a short blurb about their experiences that week! Hope you enjoy reading!

We of the YPTT 2015, Annika, Brianna, and Kerrick, have just finished up our first week of camp here at Camp Brethren Woods. If you have not been to this amazing place you most certainly should take the trip out!! We got to work alongside the wonderful staff here and had a great group of campers to work with as well! Here’s what we each thought about the week!

Hello! My name is Kerrick and I love donuts! Our team just finished the week at Brethren Woods, which was an awesome and different experience for me, personally! I have grown up going to church camp my whole life, (shout out to Camp Colorado and Camp Mt Hermon!!!) but Brethren Woods was by far the largest camp I had ever been to! It was so cool to have multiple age groups there at the same time, and for our team to have the chance to work with all of them. One of my highlights from the week was the Water Carnival that we had one evening. I got to help run the snack station (ICE CREAM!) which meant that I got to talk to all of the campers as they came by to get their snack. It was so cool to see all of them having so much fun together and was just an awesome time in general! I also really appreciated the sessions that we got to lead with the campers and the discussions that accompanied those. It is always so amazing to see how smart and wise kids can be, sometimes completely out of the blue! This was an excellent first week, and I am definitely looking forward to the rest of the summer as well!

Greetings, this is Annika.  The week at Brethren Woods went swimmingly!  A highlight was hiking up a mountain to a waterfall where we lead a peace session and cooked dinner over the fire.  The hike was so beautiful and the water felt wonderful to jump into after hiking for 2 miles. It was also a great time to get to know some of the campers as we scaled the mountain. The sessions we led were quite dynamic. I was excited that there were many different opinions spoken during our time with the campers.  This was my first time at a Church of the Brethren camp because I went to a Mennonite camp called Menno Haven. I was so impressed by the enthusiasm of the campers and staff.  Brethren Woods was so welcoming to the Peace Team and I couldn’t ask for a better start to the summer.  Until next time!

Brianna here! When I first arrived at Camp Brethren Woods, it was dark, so I couldn’t see much of the beautiful sky and mountains that framed the camp.  On the inside, I must have been the same way. I started this summer worrying about everything I could do wrong, and it distracted me from all the fun I could have been having. Brethren Woods boasts a hilarious and hospitable staff, as well as energetic, fun loving campers. I was so distracted that I ran into some obstacles – quite literally. (Word of caution, if you are canoeing, try not to run into any trees dipping into the water. I became caught in the branches, covered in bugs, and was nearly knocked out of the canoe!) I had to learn to fall into the rhythm of things. Kids are an insightful bunch, and I was reminded of that throughout the week. I stopped worrying so much about perfection and let the kids lead things where they needed to be and we had some great discussions. I definitely enjoyed hearing all the perspectives each kid had, and all their worldly awareness. I made it out of the branches, and got some good pictures of the mountain scenery.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, friends! As you can probably tell, we greatly enjoyed our time, and are off to a great start this summer! Until next time, stay awesome and bring the peace!

Devotions (EYN Daily Link) June 28 – July 4, 2015

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A Daily Devotional Guide from the
EYN (Church of the Brethren in Nigeria)

EYN leaders in Nigeria believe prayer is one of the most important ways to support the Nigerian people and the Church.  These daily devotions were written by EYN members and published by the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria. Reading them daily is a powerful way we can be in solidarity and connect with our brothers and sisters caught in this crisis.  EYN’s daily devotional for 2015 will be posted a week at a time on this blog, appearing mid-week for the following week. More information about the crisis can be found at www.nigeriacrisis.org.

Click on this link for Devotions June 28 – July 4 2014

 

Testimonies from Nigeria

Testimonies – Thank yous from our Nigerian Brothers & Sisters

Abel - Medical Officer for Nigeria Disaster Team

Abel – Medical Officer for Nigeria Disaster Team

Medical Relief testimony

The medical team brought medical care and supplies to Madagali. An elderly Muslim woman named Fadi was sick and could not leave her home when the violence erupted. Upon receiving medical attention, she exclaimed, “I have seen the wickedness of these people, how they mercilessly killed the innocent. Look at me, I have been abandoned here to die of hunger and starvation but thanks to the Christians who treated me and gave me back my life. I am no longer a Muslim, I want to be a Christian, I am a Christian!”

Medical Team with supplies

Medical Team with supplies

Livelihood Gifts through WYEAHI

Livelihood Gifts through WYEAHI

Livelihood Testimonies

Village head of Lassa,

Picture courtesy of WYEAHI

Picture courtesy of WYEAHI

“These livelihood gifts have made the people self employed without stress or hardship of looking for money. I don’t know how to express my gratitude and I pray with utmost faith that God will continue to bless Church of the Brethren and Women Youth Empowerment for Advancement and Health Initiatives (WYEAHI) for their concern toward IDP’s and the less privileged.”

A young Muslim women who received a processing machine,

Picture1“Shame to Boko Haram, this gift has helped in paying my monthly rent and feeding my six fatherless children. Many thanks and blessings to Church of the Brethren and WYEAHI who God has used to provide us with a means of livelihood. “

Another family has been able to move back home and the gift of livelihood is enabling her to renovate her burnt house and she feels her life has been stabilized. She calls her new processing machine, “Savior Materials.”

Devotions (EYN Daily Link) June 21-27, 2015

DAILY LINK WITH GOD 2015EYN Devotions graphic
A Daily Devotional Guide from the
EYN (Church of the Brethren in Nigeria)

EYN leaders in Nigeria believe prayer is one of the most important ways to support the Nigerian people and the Church.  These daily devotions were written by EYN members and published by the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria. Reading them daily is a powerful way we can be in solidarity and connect with our brothers and sisters caught in this crisis.  EYN’s daily devotional for 2015 will be posted a week at a time on this blog, appearing mid-week for the following week. More information about the crisis can be found at www.nigeriacrisis.org.

Click on this link for Devotions-June-21st-27th-2015

Devotions (EYN Daily Link) June 21 – 27, 2015

DAILY LINK WITH GOD 2015EYN Devotions graphic
A Daily Devotional Guide from the
EYN (Church of the Brethren in Nigeria)

EYN leaders in Nigeria believe prayer is one of the most important ways to support the Nigerian people and the Church.  These daily devotions were written by EYN members and published by the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria. Reading them daily is a powerful way we can be in solidarity and connect with our brothers and sisters caught in this crisis.  EYN’s daily devotional for 2015 will be posted a week at a time on this blog, appearing mid-week for the following week. More information about the crisis can be found at www.nigeriacrisis.org.

Click on this link for Devotions June 21 – 27

A story of Courage

A Story of Courage by Donna Parcell

Monica - Picture by Donna Parcell

Monica – Picture by Donna Parcell

Her name is Monica.  She is 29 years old, and she is a widow.  Her life changed forever in 2009.

She lived in Michika village in Borno State, Nigeria.  She had three sons, Godwin (age 12), David (age 11), and Joseph (age 6).  The schools had just been closed, and she had taken David to her mother’s house.  Even though grandmothers do not have favorites, her mother and David have a special bond so he was going to spend some time with her.  Then she returned home to her husband and other two sons.

Three days later, in the middle of the night while they were sleeping, Boko Haran attacked their village.  Monica’s husband yelled for them all to lie down on the floor.  But the attackers entered their house.  Monica witnessed them beheading her husband, and cutting the throats of her other two sons and killing them.   They also brutally cut Monica’s left arm as she had her arms raised in defense.  Then they cut her throat, leaving her for dead.  But she lived.

A neighbor found her and took her to the hospital.  For the next year and five months she was in the hospital several times for surgeries to repair her arm and throat.  Three years later another series of surgeries had her in the hospital over the course of nine months.  And there are still more surgeries scheduled.DSC_1034 sized

She has had to cope with the loss of her husband and two sons, plus the trauma of her own attack and recovery.  She has been reunited with David, and is living is Jos.  Monica finds comfort and strength in her Lord Jesus Christ, and has found support from other widows and friends.  She receives food and supplies from organizations such as CCEPI, run by Rebecca Dali.

Monica is thankful for our prayers, and leans heavily into Jesus for comfort and strength.

Devotions (EYN Daily Link) June 14-20, 2014

DAILY LINK WITH GOD 2015EYN Devotions graphic
A Daily Devotional Guide from the
EYN (Church of the Brethren in Nigeria)

EYN leaders in Nigeria believe prayer is one of the most important ways to support the Nigerian people and the Church.  These daily devotions were written by EYN members and published by the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria. Reading them daily is a powerful way we can be in solidarity and connect with our brothers and sisters caught in this crisis.  EYN’s daily devotional for 2015 will be posted a week at a time on this blog, appearing mid-week for the following week. More information about the crisis can be found at www.nigeriacrisis.org.

Click on this link for Devotions June 14th-20th 2015

The Glory of Gardening: The Hidden Promises of Community Gardening

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Monday, June 15th
7:00pm ET

“The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just on the body, but the soul.” –Alfred Austin

Through the spring Going to the Garden webinar series, we have explored how to start community gardens and how environmental degradation affects conflicts. Join us for this final webinar of the series as we discuss the hidden benefits of community gardens including spiritual wellness, relationship building, and trauma healing.

Gardening is about more than plants and the hopeful harvest of fruits and vegetables that they promise. Gardens provide a space to bring people from all walks of life together, while also facilitating emotional healing and spiritual growth.

Interested participants will be eligible to receive 0.1 Continuing Education Units. If interested, please e-mail kfurrow@brethren.org

To register for this webinar, please visit this link. Any questions can be directed to kfurrow@brethren.org.

Presenters:

 10325698_10152153201484195_9123992018347122133_nLaura Stone is a theologian and church musician who has most recently been studying at Boston University.  She will soon move back to Indiana, where she grew up, to be a hospital chaplain.  Laura has worked at Gould Farm, a working farm and therapeutic community for adults with mental illnesses, and at Waltham Fields Community Farms, a Boston CSA with an emphasis on urban food access, and through these (and through eating delicious local CSA produce!) has developed a keen interest in the practice and spiritual discipline of gardening and local food.

MTaylorMyeasha Taylor manages Perlman Place Farm of Civic Works Real Food, a 1.5 acre urban farm in Baltimore City through Civic Works Real Food Farm.  She is a native Washingtonian dedicated to growing fresh food in urban communities. She has grown food in Baltimore, D.C., and North Carolina.

tom_pic2Tom Benevento gives leadership to New Community Project’s Undoing Global Warming campaign based out of their Spring Village Ecology Center in Harrisonburg VA. Tom brings the expertise of a degree in Sustainable Systems, along with years of practical experience in the US and Central America.