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  • What is a Concert of Prayer?

    Tomorrow we host a Concert of Prayer at Indian Creek in the Journey room at 6:30 p.m. Childcare is available. The prayer focus will be on our outreach project, Impact S. Johnson County. You are invited.

    People often ask me, what is a concert of prayer. Here's my response:

     

  • 2015 English Soccer Camp Recap

    Recap 2015 English Soccer Camp

    I’m preparing to return to the States after a week at the camp and two weekends with our partners. It’s a beautiful day in Hong Kong and I wish I could stay even at the same time that I’m ready to return to see my family, friends and Indian Creek. I think they call that “conflicted.”

    I’m glad that God gives us hearts big enough to expand and grow to include others. I love what God is doing here in Asia through His people. I always return inspired with new ideas. Maybe you’ve heard me tell the story before but if you haven’t it was my trips overseas, five years into planting Indian Creek, working with our partners that gave me the commitment to a Live Out focus for Indian Creek. I saw them reaching out to their community, loving them to Jesus, by meeting needs around them and I thought—we could do that. I always feel like I gain more than I give when I serve overseas. That benefit transfers over to Indian Creek too.

    I look back and reflect on soccer training in the pouring rain and the humid heat (think about running for two hours in a sauna). I reflect on ESL sessions where we learned English words for soccer terms, film sessions where we talked strategy, gatherings where we talked about life skills and early morning stretching times where we bonded and it is hard to imagine how it could have been better. Our partners did a great job putting the camp together and executing the plan.

    The real test is whether the campers put what they learned into practice--that something to pray for as we go forward. I can say with certainty that in year three I saw intensity in the attention the campers paid to the teaching that wasn’t there in the previous years. I thank God for that. If you prayed for the camp, may you take heart that your prayers made an eternal difference. Thank you!

    Gary Kendall


  • Competition and Awards

    Day 5 English Soccer Camp

    Today we wrapped up the 2015 English Soccer Camp and the day started much like the way the camp began by pouring rain. While there was a lot of rain this week it never seemed to dampen the spirits of the campers. Morning stretching is moved inside. And when it is time for the soccer training, football as they call it, you go outside and train as if it wasn’t raining. After all matches are played in pouring rain so we need to practice in it the coaches remind the players. So off we go.

    The last day features competition between the various teams that come and there is no doubt this is their favorite part. A bracketed match tourney is set up and the next several hours are spent on the pitch. This year it was decided the coaches would be divided up among the four teams. Which meant that I got to play an hour of soccer. I played in the midfield so it is nearly constant running. It did stop raining part way through and then the heat kicked up but God gave me what I needed and it was a great bonding experience. The guys were really glad I competed and you could tell it meant a lot to them.

    So your prayers were at work because I started the week with a cold that was so bad I couldn’t take a deep breath without coughing and there was so much improvement that I don’t remember coughing once during the three matches. Way to go God. It is ironic how He is never late but seldom early. He knows exactly what He is doing to teach us to depend on His strength.

    There were a lot of awards handed out and gifts given (as is the custom here) with plenty of smiles to go around.

    This is my third camp and of the three I think we made the most eternal progress. The spirit of the camp was different with more intentionality in the schedule, more seeking by the campers and more set up for next steps coming out of the week.

    It would be even better if we could bring more Americans next year. The campers need examples closer to their age and more of us. They like to practice their English, which is a stated goal of the camp, but the best practice comes in the unplanned moments of hang-out time. There is no substitute for having enough Americans to be in the various small groups of students who are playing pool, ping pong, monkey in the middle (a soccer game), video games, etc.

    Thanks for following the updates. Thanks even more for praying. Would you begin praying with me now for at least 6 Americans to commit to next year? We can do if we start early enough.

    Gary


  • Field Trip and Intentionality

    Day 4 at the English Soccer Camp

    This day was different than the others because the leaders planned a field trip to a place that fascinated the students. I’m not free to share that but our partners have a clear strategy and they are working it. It is inspiring to be around people with such a heart and mind dedicated to being their best for God. The message is getting through.

    The evening gathering time went well. Again it is not something I should share online but thought is given to the moment and to the future in every activity. I’m getting good ideas that will be effective in the States too.

    I realized sitting among these young middle school and high school students that I’ve been leading in ministry to students for 40 years now. Wow! That makes me ancient!!! But it is interesting here because there is a very high value for Seniors and longevity. The honor and esteem is through the roof. They love it when I join them for early morning stretching, when I keep up with them on the jogs around the field and do my best to compete on the pitch. They don’t take it easy on me when we are playing and I wouldn’t want them to but afterward they are all smiles. They keep reminding me not to hurt myself. I didn’t know I look that fragile J Actually they keep commenting about how “strong” I am whatever that means. Maybe they mean they think that anyone over 50 is ready for the rocking chair. Anyway God is using it.

    I’m fully expecting eternal fruit from this camp not just in the individual responses but for those that may feel a call to ministry from this time together.

    Thanks for your prayers. My cold is 95% gone. Praise God for His faithfulness. And if He hadn’t healed me I would have given Him 100% and prayed that in my weakness He is strong.

    Gary Kendall


  • BBQ Squid Anyone?

    Here's the recap of Day 3 and intro to Day 4 of the English Soccer camp

    Last night the sharing with the Evangiball went great. Thanks for praying. Tonight there will be follow up in small groups. That’s where we will know what was heard and understood so keep the prayers coming.

    Today the campers have a real treat they get to go to see one of their favorite professional football (soccer) teams. We get access to one of their practices and actually get to go on the pitch. This is possible because of some unique inside connections and it is a highlight of the camp for many.

    The time on the bus and in informal settings always allows for more conversations. Many of the campers are working up the courage to practice their English with me. This provides great opportunities for building relationships which as you know are critical to the whole purpose for my coming.

    As I go I want to tell you about a couple of things that we did yesterday that were well thought through by our partners. We did a serving project at the clinic and it was greatly appreciated by the staff. It was a solid witness. I pulled weeds for an hour in a garden. It reminded me of the weeding I need to do continually in my life.

    We also had a BBQ. The fun part was the campers were divided into six groups. They were given all the supplies, bricks, charcoal, grill, food, etc and they had to construct their own fire pit first. It was a great exercise. I love the way our partners think through every aspect of what we are doing to help the campers not only have a great experience but grow. The BBQ was awesome by the way—and where else could you get all the squid you want?

    Thanks for the prayers,

    Gary

     

     

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