“I Have Called You Friends…”

by Dora Phan September 6

As Maranatha wraps up another summer of mission trips, I wanted to pass along this thank you letter written by one of the teen team members:

Thank you for supporting our mission trip with Maranatha this summer. Whether it was financially, or through prayers, your support was appreciated and so vital in making the week at Kirkbride a success! Let me give you a small recap. 

A Water-Balloon Toss

I feel blessed to have been able to serve another year with Kirkbride in South Philly. From the very first day of camp to Friday’s lunch with families, the week went very well. There were a bunch of kids that returned to camp from last summer, all of which were much more grown, and some who had adorable younger siblings accompanying them. I was heart warmed when one of the little girls I counseled previously, looked at me, smiled, and told me that she remembered my face from last year!

Children listening while Pastor Wynne spoke

This year I co-taught Subject X, one of the four rotating “classes,” where we did cool science experiments each day (the others were Rec Games, Crafts, and Performance). That meant that I was able to meet all the campers, in addition to the few in my Bible buddies’ group. After each morning’s opening program of minute-to-win-it games, skits, and songs, a guest speaker gave a short Bible lesson to the kids. The focus that week was friendship, where we learned about how friends should be honest, forgiving, and faithful, as well as how Jesus is our perfect, forever friend. Following that was Bible buddies, where we had smaller group conversations. I was with soon-to-be fourth graders. As the week went on, the discussions improved. As they colored away and munched on their snacks, it was obvious that they were listening, learning, and becoming more curious about the Bible and about Jesus. At the end of the time, we took prayer requests and I thought that it was so sweet one girl asked that we pray that there would be camp again next year! Also, in the final few days I loved that we were able to all pray together, with them repeating short phrases I said aloud. This was special to see because these kids all have different backgrounds, homes, and experiences, and most have not grown up in Christian homes, so camp is their only exposure to Jesus and His love. 

A dart mid-air during the family event at the end of the week

After the camp at the Kirkbride Elementary School, the team spent the afternoon preparing for the next day’s activities and opening program. In the evenings we rested and had our own fun together. This was one of my favorite parts of the day for as a group, I felt that we worked well together, supported each other, and had a lot of fun as we became increasingly comfortable. The atmosphere the whole week was positive, and I was honestly sad to leave; however, the memories and experiences are staying with me, even as mission week has ended. 

Lunch with families on Friday afternoon

God truly watched over us and answered our prayers the entire week. He allowed us to prepare efficiently, work together, problem solve, and be flexible especially when dealing with illnesses and injuries. I am grateful for how smoothly and successfully the week ran. I thank God that we could bring back camp for another year, and that he brought each of those kids there. God was working in my heart, and the hearts of the other teens, as we shared his Word and cared for the kids. Jesus’ love was constantly visible, reflecting off each other, and making it the perfect place to plant seeds in the children.

Thank you again for your support this summer. I hope to do another mission trip next year and serve in whatever opportunities are available. In the meantime, please continue praying for me as I take on my next year of High School. Please pray that I will stay on top of things and be strong in my faith, despite many upcoming challenges. 

© 2022 Tenth Presbyterian Church.

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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By Dora Phan. © 2022 Tenth Presbyterian Church. Website: tenth.org