A look at last year's experience
Mountain T.O.P. 2013
Day 1: Saturday, July 13- WOW, 4:30 am is early! Thanks to all who came out to see the group off (We love you Pat and Hillary!). We had a great travel day, followed by a meaningful devotion and prayer time on Lookout Mountain. Lots of great fun and bonding going on with our 29 member team.
Day 2: Sunday, July 14- Asbury's youth mission team made the final leg of the trip to camp. The ride in was beautiful with breathtaking scenes of mountains and streams. The team got checked into their cabins, and spent the day in meetings and group sessions, meeting their YRG (Youth Renewal Group), playing games and having tons of fun. We ended the evening's group activities with the entire camp together (111 people) singing "The Mountain TOP Song," with Pastor Daniel and Grant playing the guitar. It was awesome. Tomorrow the team is out into the community to build, repair and clean.
Day 3: Monday, July 15- What a fantastic day! The team started the day at 7am with breakfast, followed by DayBreak, which is a personal time of connection with God. The day's focus was perseverance. James 1:2-4. The staff provide a devotion and scripture, and then team members find a quiet spot to pray and read the Bible. YRGs were out of camp, loaded with tools, instructions and great attitudes by 9am. Our team members (part of 15 different YRGs) did TONS of work...painting, repairing roofs, building ramps and porches, and clearing land of trees...and maybe most importantly meeting the social and spiritual needs of the families being served. (Extra fun moments...Gracie C accidentally let a horse loose, and had to catch it and get it back in the stall!) Many of the youth spent time listening to the families stories and giving them much needed hugs. So many stories of homeowner breaking down into tears of thanks. After the workday, we all joined for dinner, group meetings, games and incredible worship time. Many youth were in tears during the worship time as they surrendered their struggles to the Lord. (Cool notes: Joshua M gave the camp morning prayer before breakfast...awesome, Joshua P gave the camp evening prayer after dinner...fantastic, and Matt C-what a trooper! He got stung by a wasp at his work site, but pressed on working all day, playing all night!) Praise God for this amazing day.
Day 4: Tuesday, July 16-The team started the beautiful morning with pancakes and sausage (YUM), followed by a DayBreak meditation on wisdom. The YRG teams packed up their work vans and headed out into the county. Today the teams started on their 2-day project, and are being challenged!! Fun stuff...Julie fell through a floor, Sarah swallowed a bug, Megan built a chicken coop, Liz fell into a post hole, Riley built a shed for a 4-wheeler, and Will got to hang out with baby goats! The evening community worship was amazing. Songs under the stars, with fireflies all around, then station worship. (Ask a youth member about this...so cool!) So very moving and meaningful for the youth. And at 10pm, after 9 hours of working in the sun, and hours of meetings, Danielle J and Joshua P went for a 3 mile run around camp! Praise God for another amazing day and our fantastic youth.
Day 5: Wednesday, July 17-The morning DayBreak was focused on prayer,James 5:13-16. It was a perfect way to prepare for a challenging day of work. The YRGs finished...or not...their 2-day projects today. Lots of celebrations of accomplishing things they never thought they could! Only minor injuries-wasp stings, spider bites, cuts, scrapes and smashed thumbs...oh, and Megan A got eaten by a goat! The evening activities began with a fab hamburger and fries dinner. The group had their major group meeting, then a attended a vespers worship service by candlelight (with our very own Pastor Daniel on guitar and vocals, and Josh M and Megan A up front with a group of youth leading worship). And still more...community fun night! Adults got treated to an appreciation parfait party, then everyone enjoyed community fellowship fun at various stations: a firefly catching station, coloring station, game station, and tie-dye station. Praise God for another amazing day.
Day 6: Thursday, July 18-This beautiful day began with french toast and peaches...oh yeah! The morning DayBreak focused the team on deeds (James 2:14-17) reminding us that our deeds are a great way for people to see the love of Christ. But, deeds alone aren't enough. Faith and deeds must go together, like spaghetti and meatballs. The teams then had their "hygene moment," and were "out by 9 and doin' fine!" Lots of great work, loving the families, and fellowship happened throughout the day. Back in camp by 6 for a chicken fajita dinner. The teams all stayed with their Major Groups for meetings, sharing and worship. Fantastic worship designed by the youth. Each YRG created a worship station. Awesome stuff. The day ended with most youth preparing a little gift for their YRG members to give at the Friday celebration lunch. It has been said before, but praise God for an amazing day.
Day 7: Friday, July 19-Ahhhh...the team's last service day started out with sausage biscuits, YUM! Danielle J opened our day with a beautiful prayer. The day's DayBreak focused on how we all have different gifts, and need to use them to glorify God and serve his people. 1 Corinthians 12:4-11. The teams gathered up and headed out into the county to serve. Amazing stories of connecting with those so in need of God's love. Porches, roofs, and home repairs and painting were done along side the spiritual and emotional ministry taking place. The teams finished their projects mid-day, and had YRG celebrations -lunch out together, sugary treats, visiting fun sights and exchanging small gifts or work site mementos (wood chunks, leaves with scripture, wood blocks with special sayings). The vans arrived back at camp, competing in the van decorating contest-safari theme. So fun. The final big meal together was shared (poppyseed chicken). And Asbury received a very special award-30 years of service at Mountain TOP! A beautiful plaque was presented to Pastor Daniel before the entire community. The community headed down to a big campfire. Asbury had lots of performers at the campfire in skits and songs: Sam J, Julie J, Danielle J, Megan A, Melanie A, Grant R, Briana M, and Josh M. Asbury youth are amazing!!! The team ended the planned activities with "Fish Worship" and communion. The youth were challenged to take "down from the mountain" all the lessons of love and service they learned during the week. The night ended with some free time, enjoying their new friends, and packing for the big trip home. Praise the Lord for another amazing day.
Day 8: Final day, Saturday, July 20-The team was up around 5am, packing and cleaning cabins. Breakfast pizza to get the day started, YUM. The DayBreak focused the team on James 2:14-17, which has been the focus all week. Faith and deeds. The team was challenged...how are you going to put your faith into action when you return to the valley below? How will you bring Christ alive to those around you? How can you be the hands and feet of Christ in real and measurable ways? Fantastic stuff. Following DayBreak, the team had the blessing of participating in camp-wide cleaning. haha The amazing week ended with a final camp circle, and of course, singing the Mountain TOP song. Blessings abound. :-) God blessed the team's trip home. The group arrived at Asbury at 11:20pm, safe and happy.