Charleston and What I’ve Learned

Well I have had probably the most incredible week. Last week I was privileged enough to help plan and go on the Vert (Daystar Church youth group) mission trip to Charleston, South Carolina. God did some amazing things and I thought it would be fitting for me to record some of the amazing things that I was able to witness and experience and share them with you my dear reader. Well to start things off on Monday of last week, twenty three students and nine wonderful leaders came to Daystar with bags and excitement, all ready for a fantastic week of serving. Some of the students I knew very well, being in my small group or having been in Vert with them as a student before, but many of which I barely knew the name. We got the bags in the vans, loaded up, and set off. My van was filled with all guys and we drove off listening to “let it Go” from the film Frozen. I have to be honest when I say that I was quite nervous before hand, this was my first time going on a trip as a leader, and not only that but I had helped with the planning. Luckily I had been praying for great things, and had met with a dear friend of mine a few nights before who spoke life over my fears. The original plan for the first day was to arrive at our host church, Riverbluff, then proceed to the Dream center at Seacoast church. Unfortunately we missed our time at the Dream center, but they were gracious and said for us not to worry. So Seth Tanner and I met with our host Church, and they were so kind and gracious for having us stay there. That first night we went to the Well, which is Seacoast church’s college ministry, and we met with Stephen and Nicole who many of the students knew and who used to be at Daystar. The first night was filled with great worship and really set the tone for the trip as a whole.

The next day was off to a great start, everyone was eager with excitement about our service opportunity and just very ready to take on the day. We arrived at the Dream center and were tasked with fixing up a local high school football field. This included trash pick-up around the field, re-organizing equipment rooms, and bathroom cleaning (shout-out to those that did that). It was so cool to see students step up and volunteer to do something even when no one asked, I never once saw a student trying to just sit back. Every student saw how important the job was even when it seemed like pointless task were given, they all understood the weight of what they were doing, a very rare trait to find. The next day we served at the Dream Center itself, and my group went to the field to make final clean up bits. It was so humbling to serve the people who help change lives every day, and fix up a facility so more people can come to receive prayer and help in their hard times. It was so incredible to make such a difference like that, and have students understand and act with leadership in helping others.

Thursday was when it all got real, very real. I woke up feeling terrible, my stomach hurt, my head was spinning, and I felt strong spiritual attack on the students. I felt as if something was trying to stop us, its hard to explain, but it was a real attack. I asked my parents for prayer and then myself spent the breakfast time praying against Satan. God was very faithful and filled me with a fire to face the hardship head on. Then it was time for daily worship, and my heart broke for the students, I began to pray over the attack on myself and for those who were under attack themselves. Seth then asked me to pray over the students during worship, and I did. I don’t really even remember what I said, but it wasn’t me, the spirit used me to speak over everyone. It was very humbling to be completely weak physically and mentally, but have the spirit renew me. From then on, I was fired up and so were the students. We were going to be serving at our host church, and everyone was again eager to help out. My team was tasked with dumpster clean up duty, and they all are super awesome because we had to deal with gross poo water and cockroaches.

At the end of the week we had a time of worship and celebration by going to the beach and walking through downtown Charleston on the fourth of July. We had a time to worship and sing on the beach which was something I’ve never done, and was really encouraged by it. A few people even joined us on the beach while we were singing and prayed for us as well. The rest of the day was filled with fun and a time of laughter. The trip was one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had, it was filled with life change. Throughout the week I was able to pray for and have students come to me with struggles they faced. These struggles were not small issues but very real and tough trials they have to face, and I am still praying for them, nor will I stop. Many students who are normally reserved stood out and talked about their issues and how they were experiencing God’s love. It was a time that truly showed the presence of God, and I was so blessed to have been a part of it. I am so thankful for every single one of the students and leaders, and I am so thankful for the opportunity Vert ministries has been able to have to create events for life change to happen with students. I will be leaving in two weeks for the Elementary camp Kidjam and I am so excited to see the life change happen again. Can’t wait to do it all again, thanks for reading.
-Joshua Thomas

One thought on “Charleston and What I’ve Learned

  1. Thank you, Josh, for being an encouragement and example for Martin last week. We’ve been hearing story after story of God’s goodness and faithfulness. We appreciate your sacrifice in leading them!

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