by Diane Ippolito, New Life OPC, Williamsport, Pennsylvania
I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service (1 Timothy 1:12.
This is such a true statement in regards to my service as a member of the New Life OPC Short-Term Mission team that served with St. Marc’s Reformed Church in Quebec City for a fourth year. Jesus is the one who gave us strength, overcame illnesses and muscle strains, and provided exactly what we needed to run Week One of “English for Kids” Bible Camp.
In past years, I was a teacher of a specific group, who stayed with the group all day and followed them around to various stations, and also taught them in the classroom. But each time I volunteer, I say, “I will do whatever is needed.” This year it was a craft teacher that was needed. Our theme was Pilgrim’s Progress, using a shortened version of the Great Commissions Publications VBS program. The children ranged in age from 5-12, and came to crafts for 45 minutes. There was challenge in this, in that I did not get to know the children well. But there was great blessing in being able to engage them in making things that let their creativity shine through. And I came to know things about them through their artwork that provided some great openings for generating conversation, which is one of our main focuses as a team member.
Pastor Ben Westerveld challenged us to be sure the kids saw us using our Bibles. While I had chosen crafts that were relevant to the day’s story from Pilgrim’s Progress, I had not thought about this. What a great idea it was to start each craft explanation by reading them something from my Bible! On the day we were going to make shields, my morning reading included Psalm 18, so I was able to say to them, “As I was reading my Bible this morning, God brought me to Psalm 18, which talks about God being a shield for those who trust in Him.” And then I read to them from the Psalm.
Each year I go to serve in Quebec, I continue to be amazed at how God brings together just the right people, and uses us to aid the folks of St. Marc’s Reformed Church in this outreach. Friday, the church rallies around to provide an amazing BBQ for the parents and students. All week, they have volunteers providing the lunch for the team. Church members serve as translators for those of us who speak no French! It is inspiring to see such a small church body so passionate about outreach. I pray that our Lord calls me back again.
Visit www.opcstm.org for more photos and testimonials from those who have served as short-term missionaries in the OPC!