Ireland – Debriefing

by Corin Mchargue

Ay-Up,

As some of the locals say for hello- whatever- greetings from London! We are rolling along in our debriefing teachings as we prepare to set the students up for heading home and fitting back into the society that is no longer the norm for them. They have developed a new norm and it consists of hard work, a lot of teaching,  early mornings as well as late nights, having people around you everywhere you go and not a lot of down time or personal space.

They are thrashed and hanging onto every last morsel of the summer as it is hitting them that at the end of this week they return home. It is hard for me as well. Don’t get me wrong I enjoy heading back to my wife Jackie since she could not join us this year. However, we have established a really tight community here and I love these students. I continue to earnestly pray for their continued development in Christ as they will leave here to become the next generation of spiritual leaders. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for them and pull for them with all I have to remain hungry for Christ and not settle into being just church attendees at home.

In our debriefing teachings, we are trying to prepare them for being genuine as they return home and, believe it or not, the discomfort that can sometimes bring.  Remember they have walked in an area that has set them up in a spiritual environment from serving, growth, having people that understand what they are experiencing and seeing God working on a daily basis. Sometimes it gets hard to settle back into a comfort driven society, arguing siblings and a culture that has as many (or more) apathetic followers as it has those that are all in.

I am confident many will do well as I have seen eyes opened and anticipate watching their lives as they move forward.

 

-Hank


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Nehemiah – Final Goodbye

by Corin Mchargue

20 Hours. 20 hours until we are sitting on our plane. After spending the whole summer together, it is always breathtaking how quickly the end comes. As much as we attempt to prepare ourselves to say goodbye, it is inevitable that we will be standing shell shocked with a lump in our throats at the baggage claim in Chicago as we watch members of our family walk out the door and our summer abruptly comes to a close.

Looking back, I think I can confidently share that we all are filled with a sense of gratitude for this summer. Gratitude for God’s faithfulness and all that he has taught and brought us through this summer. For our time in Portugal with the Word of Life crew. Our time in Spain joining with the youth group from Immanuel Baptist Church to expand the kingdom in Madrid. For our time here in Israel, as we have spoken and loved on so many people from so many backgrounds who need the Father’s love so much.
The last few days here in Jaffa have been a sweet time of wrapping up the summer with our team. We had a day of silence, as our students reflected back on their summer in prayer and solitude. We walked through the various debriefing teachings, brainstorming and preparing how we go home and apply what we have learned this summer. We spent time at the beach, playing together and soaking up time with each other. We wrapped up our summer-long manuscript Bible study in Mark, which has left such a great impact on all of us as we have encountered Jesus in new and impacting ways. This brings us to these last 20 hours, which will be filled with cleaning, packing, and organizing. Tonight, we head to the airport at 11 pm, where we will settle in and attempt to get a little bit of sleep before our flight at 6 am tomorrow morning. But before we head to the airport, we will have our last organized time together as a family. This will include worship, communion, and foot washing. I have no doubt that this will be a special time, and a hard one at that, as we celebrate for the last time with this particular expression of the Body of Christ.
As a trip leader, I anticipate this goodbye with this team will be especially tough. Tough because I love this team so much. This is truly a great team full of really incredible young people. You never know what you are going to get with a team. Believe me, not all are created equal. But this one is special. I am going to miss their enthusiasm, their curiosity, their willingness to do anything, their goofiness, their heart for Jesus and His kingdom, and most of all, their love for each other. It is emotional for me to reflect on how blessed we have been this summer to have the chance to travel with this team. This one is really gonna hurt.
Pray for us tonight as we meet one last time. Pray for closure for our relationships as we go our separate ways. Pray for us as we seek to come home in God honoring ways. Pray for us we transition one last time!
See you all very soon.
Travis

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China – Final Update

by Corin Mchargue

Final China Update

It’s the day before the day that the China family flies home. It’s a 9:00-5:00 extravaganza of free time and the one day of the trip that they get to shop (till they drop), explore, and generally just have fun!

A lot has happened since my last update (don’t worry, none of it is bad). We were still in Fuzhou, planning to leave the next day and wondering if the typhoon was going to affect our travel.

Well, the typhoon did hit that night. As I touched upon in the update, we had an amazing time of worship and prayer on the 18th-floor rooftop of an apartment overlooking the river. What I failed to mention is that it almost didn’t happen. The sky was looking pretty nasty, with dark, ominous clouds and short periods of heavy rain. As a leadership team we talked about moving it to our meeting room (not the coziest space but definitely drier), but ultimately decided to take a chance. We said a quick word to the Father asking if He would hold off the moisture and went for it. And He did! Just as I was saying a finishing prayer, it started to rain which necessitated a hasty retreat from the roof. It stopped for the walk back to the dorms and started again before I had reached the 7th floor when it just ripped down. I had visions of our team learning how to build an ark…fast (is there a how-to video on YouTube?). The wind howled and the rain lashed down all night, which threw a lot of debris around but didn’t damage much. Some trains were delayed but ours left on time. Thankfully it stopped in time for us to pack up the bus.

The train journey was really nice. It was good to see the family relaxed and chill, hanging around on the hallway seats or jamming into the bunk areas (six bunks to a compartment) after ten days of ministry. They also used the time to work on their group reports (which I will speak about below). Everyone was lying down to sleep by 10:00 p.m. We arrived in Beijing just after 1:00 pm on Monday, and were settled in the rooms at the Kings Joy Hotel by 2:30.

We are now four days into our five-day debriefing process. Debriefing is a mixture of relaxing and seeing the sites (it’s fun to feel like a tourist), group meetings and personal studies. Tuesday morning the team explored the Forbidden City and yesterday morning we all climbed (walked really) the Great Wall. The afternoon and evenings have been the times we utilize for meetings and study.

There are three “re-entry” sessions that we teach from the front that help them anticipate and prepare for their transition home. It can often be hard because outside of their family (and maybe just mom and dad) few people will really care about the work they did here in China. Debriefing is designed to help them deal with situations like that and enable them to develop a strategy to make a healthy, appropriate transition back to the real world, without becoming critical of people at home or discouraged.

In regard to studies, we assigned a long one on the topic of fear. Some of the questions were “what are you afraid of going home?”, and “what is causing you stress?” The answers varied, but we heard “not keeping up the devotional time/discipline we have here”, “falling back into poor behaviors”, “not having the friendship and support I have here”. Wednesday’s study was on the topic of choices. After assigning a lot of Scripture, I had them answer the questions of, “What are some good first choices you need to make when you go home that will help you transition well”, “What hard choices will you be confronted with?”, and “Are you fully aware of the significance of the choices you make in forming the trajectory of your life?” I didn’t ask many to share on this topic, as it is very personal, and each individual has their own private struggles in making healthy choices. But I wanted to challenge them on the topic and get them to really think because the enemy is waiting to trip them up when they get home. Tonight’s study will be on the topic of trust (as in the importance of really trusting the Lord).

In addition to the studies, we had them prepare a group report (they got to choose which group to participate in) on the topic of spiritual growth, missions/evangelism, culture, and group dynamics (the team). The report was to reflect what we as a China family experienced in those areas. You can ask for a copy if you want, and I’ll email it to you. Each staff and student also prepared a personal report on how they were impacted and/or saw the Father work in their lives in those same areas. The group reports were read to the whole group, and each group selected someone from their d-group to read theirs. Last night we heard Maddy and Destiny give theirs. The girls’ reports were amazing…authentic, vulnerable, positive, and giving honor the Father.

As you can see, debriefing is a busy and full time. Hence, today’s “free” day is really needed and appreciated!

What’s next? Tomorrow is our last day in China. We will stay close to the hotel and spend one last session in the morning reflecting on what they have seen the Father do this summer – looking at how they’ve grown, and goal setting. It will be an important time for a final closure. After that, it is time to get packed! I know that it will come as a surprise when I say that some individuals on our team suffer in the organization department, i.e. their clothes are everywhere but in the pack where they belong! Some may need more time to pack than others…

Tomorrow night will be our last meeting; we will spend time in worship and share communion together. Then it’s off to bed. Wake up will be at 2:45 am. I plan for us to be off to the airport by 3:30 am.

In summary, the China family did a great job. In Wuxi, they worked hard and pressed through frustration, extreme tiredness, and feeling a bit overwhelmed when they were asked to pour their lives into Chinese kids (the Chinese girls are gems, the boys are out of control) for 6 1/2 hours each day. For nine days.

Going to Fuzhou they transitioned well into a program with fewer hours, yet a far more hectic pace. But they jumped right into the work and embraced the experience that was both fruitful and exhausting. The team worked ten consecutive days, and in temperatures that reached between 98-102 degrees each day. And not only did they do a lot of walking, much of the program was held outside. Sweaty back syndrome was simply a fact of life.

And in the end, both of our hosts were well pleased and have already invited us to return next year.

I want to finish by saying thank you to all the moms and dads reading this update. I and the rest of the leadership team appreciate the trust you placed in us in allowing us to bring your sons and daughters to China. They are quality young women and men.

And thank you for the privilege you gave me to be their team leader.

For The China Family,
Tom

 

Here are some pictures and a video!



Oh, by the way. I followed up on what happened to the captured cockroach I told you about. I will spare you the graphic details but suffice it to say that he didn’t survive the experience.

By the numbers:

115 – best estimate of the number on non-believing Chinese in the program

14 – the number of Chinese we know became believers (that’s over 12%)

30 – number of verses memorized of the Word

40 – number of hours spent in personal Bible study/devotions

29 – estimated hours in buses (training camp and China)

27.5 – hours in trains in China

27.5 million – grains of rice consumed by the team while eating out.







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Ireland – Heading to Debriefing

by Corin Mchargue

What’s The Craic?

As we wind up our time here in Londonderry/Derry and press on to debriefing in Pinner England, I am sad to leave a place I have grown fond of over the past seven years.  The people here are wonderful and have an uphill battle in making Christ known here. As we share Christ and engage many people in conversation regarding the gospel we find people willing to converse but few that are ready to commit. We rejoice in having these conversations and pray God brings the next one after us. As much as we were able to do much outreach here we were blessed by being equally served by the awesome people of Ebrington Presbyterian.

As we wrap up holiday club here we will have a pizza party tonight and will be able to engage more with the parents.  Emma Davis, Ava Nelson, and Garrett Crumrine have been great with the students lately as they have been handling the games department.  I applaud them as the kids have been boogers. As a youth minister, I have a tendency to view little children through that filter. I can not help but look at these brilliant children and feel, several will be a part of the social struggle in Ireland, some will commit suicide (based on the 9 youth that did so in this town this past year), many will be abused and more tragically about 90% will not know Christ. It hurts my heart but it makes us dig harder and I am so thankful for the work this team has done in order to reverse the curse in this community.

We have been really blessed by the leadership this year!  Bethany Erich has been nothing short of spectacular with leading the d-group leaders in meals. She creates an atmosphere where relationships are built while a different d-group prepares and serves each meal. The other day I found it refreshing as one of our d- group leaders, Delaney Kenny, has been able to use her infectious personality to lead her girls with humor in the mundane tasks of cooking and yet it opens doors for her to connect with her girls in other ways like d-group time. Brittany Arkema has done a wonderful job as our medical person. This is big as there are so many regulations and details that she handles great because of her work ethic. These guys along with Jack and Kelsie Becker (Reign Staff), finances and social media, have not only made my job easy, but they are active participants in the different events we do to share the gospel.

We now turn our attention to debriefing to prepare the students to head home and continue living out their faith there. They have experienced the Lord in such a great way and have found it easy to live it out here in a Christian setting so we want to set them up for applying it to the long term as they step into their future.

Here are some pictures!


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