For close to two months we have all been wondering when life will get back to normal. We have all had our students and children at home instead of the normal routine of school, sports, band or other extra-curricular activities. Some students have thrived in this environment while many students have not. Either way, I firmly believe that no one thrives in the way he or she should without the ecclesia (the church) as a core part of our “normal routine.”
I have tried my best to stay connected as a student pastor but without proximity, that connection falls very short. Without the church lifting one another up, bearing one another’s burdens and helping us remain faithful to our walk with Christ, there is danger of finding ourselves in a valley that is difficult to get out of.
The last few months I have been in contact with the hotel, mission sites, charter company and Disney about our mission camp to Orlando. So far, most of these have remained solid in their commitment to have us. We will no longer be going to a nursing home during this trip, however, we are working with the original church to keep our commitment to doing a day camp for children. If this is not possible, I will have a plan B mission site, keeping the safety of our students the priority and following Orange County guidelines. As of now, our concert invitation at Disney Springs is still confirmed. This is why I’d like to keep the dates for Mission: Orlando June 8-13. If local responses to COVID-19 do not change in favor of that date happening, we will move our dates to July 6-11.
I know that local schools will begin meeting with athletics, band, etc. in June and July and ramping up practices in August. I believe it’s our responsibility as believers to show that the work of the church is the first thing we should get back to being involved in. Our students will be vital in reaching children through our mission camp to Orlando and helping out with our own church’s Vacation Bible School. That will be our mission focus this summer. As a matter of fact, our church is willing to cover the additional charter and hotel costs that will be required of the trip as long as our students are willing to serve at VBS.
As for Mission: Orlando, we are already taking precautionary practices to maintain a level of safety unlike anything we’ve ever had to do. If necessary for spacing purpsoses, I have already secured commitment of two charter buses instead of just one. No student will sit directly next to another student. I have already changed the hotel room occupancy from 4 students per room to now 2 students per room so that each student has their own bed and space. I will secure a cloth mask for each student and I am working with our maintenance suppliers to have hand sanitizer available for each student as well.
I am asking for a deposit of $200 by May 11th. If you have already given me your $125 initial deposit, you would only need to give me the additional $75. The total trip cost is still $425. After I have received your deposit, I will give you a balance with the Valentine Variety Show Fundraiser taken off. We have another opportunity to earn money at our VIRTUAL yard sale, Saturday, May 23rd. More info will come soon on that. You can bring in your deposit to the church office, mail it to 2200 W 1st Street, Gulf Shores, AL, 36542 or go to click “Give Online” and choose “Student Camp” in the dropdown box.
I am also asking for flexibility. I know our students want to be together and want to have a camp experience this summer. I need each student who goes to be able to commit to either date, the original or the backup. This will help me in my dealings with the charter company and the hotel (as well as making sure food costs are what we planned for).
Lastly, I’m asking for prayer. Pray for our students, volunteers and mission sites. We have a purpose here and that purpose is beyond anything our student’s other activities can provide, an eternal purpose. We want to shine a light for Jesus wherever we go and give people the opportunity to hear the good news of the Gospel. Join with me in elevating that cause above anything else.
Thank you parents for all your support.