The Appalachia 2015 Team

Appalachia 2015 is a leadership mission project that teaches our youth leadership skills while serving the underprivileged families in the Appalachia mountains of Tennessee.

July 10, 2015 – Day Five


“The worst thing about Appalachia is leaving Appalachia.”

Today was a very full day at VBS. We played games, had science experiments, saw the Feeding of the 5,000, had a cook out, and had water wars.

During the day, Bonnie had a chance to follow up with Hayden from the gospel day yesterday. He said he wanted Jesus in his life but didn’t know what to pray. So Bonnie led him in prayer and he accepted Jesus into his heart!

It was very hard saying goodbye to our friends and many tears were shed. Its especially hard knowing the tough situations these kids have to live in and I have seen righteous anger on the part of our youth at the unfairness of the situations and towards the adults causing the heartbreak.

But in talking to Will, the youth pastor of our host church, I find hope. He and his wife both are from broken homes and situations similar to many of these kids, but they both attest to the power of God to break the cycle of broken homes and broken hearts. “So Jesus really is the answer?” I asked. I know He is but when you see such despair it’s hard to think that IT IS truly all that it takes to turn things around.

This is the hope we have. This is why we come year after year.

God changes lives.


July 9, 2015 – Day Four

Thursday: Gospel day. Every year, this day has its good and bad, both to the extremes. So, because of this, I will list the roses and thorns.

Roses: The children were really responsive to drama and understood what we were saying. Not only that, but they all could explain why today’s lesson was so important. When we broke off into our small groups to dicuss the story the kids really opened up to us. It’s really cool to see them growing closer to us in a trusting way.

Thorns: There aren’t many but there was one that really comes to mind. Joy Clifford, our craft guru, was stuck in the dorms sick.

This week has been full of surprises and great things. There may only be one day left of VBS, but we know that we planted a seed here.

A few prayer requests:

  • Health for Joy
  • Strength and rest for the team
  • The kids listening with open minds
  • Continued unity for the team


July 8, 2015 – Day Three

Wednesday: Hump day. We are now another day closer to our home, our family, our own beds. Sarah is missing her pet chickens. We have endured early mornings and late nights with not much rest in between. We all know we have long days ahead of us, and we know we will not have rest until we go back to our own beds. Yet, we are driven by the fact that our job is not finished. We know we have not finished what we came here to do. We have shared about God and how he created the world. We have shared about Lazarus and how he was raised from the dead. Tomorrow, we get to share about how Jesus was also raised from the dead. We get to clearly communicate the message of Hope that we all believe: that God Loves the world he created and that Jesus came into the world and died a painful death (a death we deserve), so that we might be raised with him! We would love your prayers to help us communicate clearly and pray vividly for these kids to be raised with Christ also.

As we start to look towards the end of the week we remember to say the happy hello but the sad truth is, we will soon have to say goodbye. Please pray for us as we are exhausted from the first half of the week, but also weary that the next couple of days are all that we have left.

Funny stories:

Sarah is not known by her first name, but rather “Mass’ Wife.”
We have found several turtles, and all of them have used us and the bus as a restroom.
Only one child has fallen off the merry-go-round (Or as Mass calls it, the whizzy-dizz)

Thanks for praying.
Love from Harrogate, TN


July 7, 2015 – Day Two

It’s a beautiful day here in Harrogate TN. We had a few more kids at VBS today but we still haven’t found our old friends, so keep praying for that. The kids who are coming are starting to open up a little more. And what we are hearing are things that break our hearts. The kids just blurt it out because it’s the life they know. But it reminds me that we are all messed up people, and the only hope for us is Jesus. We can’t change the circumstances of these kids’ lives, and it’s not our job to do that. Our job is to share the hope that we have found through a relationship with Christ. Knowing Jesus won’t make their lives perfect or take away the bad situations but He will comfort them, give them hope, and most importantly give them eternal life.

Thanks for praying.
Love from Harrogate, TN


July 6, 2015 – Day One

Soggy and foggy. But who cares? Today was day one of VBS in the Park! We had some new faces this year and of course, familiar faces. We were a little sad to find out that two different families had moved to different homes. We have known these kids for  three years and are really hoping and praying to locate them so we can see them again. The day went well, and the kids loved all the activities.  We had a small crowd today but know that more will come as the week goes on. Pray for our strength and stamina,  energy and rest. Pray that we find our kids who have moved.

Love from Harrogate, TN.


July 5, 2015 – 11:45 PM

Havent had time for a mission trip update until now…but…WOW. Is all I can say and we haven’t even started VBS yet. Great day at church and In the neighborhoods. the new team members jumped right in like pros. Some awesome worship and sharing. AFCC really does have the BEST youts ever!