Rooted Partner Synod Journey

partner-synod-journey-2017-poster-large

This is a first kind of trip for our Synod and St. Mark! We are super excited for joining together with the Grand Canyon Synod to serve Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Tuscon! With this being a new kind of trip, there are some questions that arise. Here are some common questions and answers:

Q: What is a “partner synod”?

A: The 65 synods of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America are assigned a “partner synod” for the purpose of strengthening one another for life and mission within the body of Christ. The Southeastern Iowa Synod and the Grand Canyon Synod are very diverse in their geographical location and cultural experiences. This journey seems to be natural way for us to learn about the church and each other in another part of the country.

Q: What will be doing?
A: The purpose of this event is to strengthen one another for life and mission within the body of Christ. Through worship, learning, and service, high school youth and adults will gain insight into the culture and people of our respective synods while on the territory of the Grand Canyon Synod. This journey opens our eyes to the opportunities that Christ sets before us, calling us to deepen our commitment and discipleship as communities of faith and as individual disciples. Participants will be learning about the joys and challenges of the culture and the church’s role in responding to issues like human trafficking, homelessness, and immigration/border issues. Both learning and service opportunities will be integrated into the week. Here is what we are doing in each location:

  • Las Vegas – Homelessness
  • Phoenix – Human Trafficking
  • Tuscon – Immigration Issues
  • Grand Canyon – Environmental Issues

Q: What is “Rooted”?
A: The theme of our journey is based on Ephesians 3:17:” …so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love…”.

Q: Where are we staying?
A: In Las Vegas we will be staying at the stratosphere hotel for two nights. We will be staying in Phoenix for the remainder of the trip in dorms. While in these cities, we will have area churches hosting us for meals and meeting spaces.

Q: How do we get there?
A: Looking at the costs of chartering a bus or driving that far, we have decided that flying out will be quickest and most economical mode of transportation to get out there.

Q: How Much is the trip?
A: Approximately $700. There is some wiggle room in there pending on the price of flights at the time we book, and the deal we work out with the airline. All we ask of families though is a deposit of $150.

Q: Why two big trips in one summer?
A: Tim is on the planning team for this trip, and was on it before coming to St. Mark. Since this is the case, he didn’t feel right forcing our group to go on this trip without any discussion. He is super excited about this trip, and looks forward to taking whoever wants to join!

 

Sign Up Here!

Prayer Night

Last night we had our first worship night and focused on prayer. After we played some games and checked in with each other through highs and lows we spent some time in prayer.

We rotated freely through five stations to interact with God in different ways. The stations were:

1.)    Word: highlighting or marking Scripture that has impacted us.

2.)    Wipe Your Sins Away: asking God for forgiveness of our sins, and reflecting on where God is calling us through His grace.

3.)    Rest: time to dwell in the Bible, journal, pray, or just be.

4.)    Praise and Thanksgiving Wall: writing down what we are thankful for.  (The whiteboard was covered)

5.)    Pray for the World: posting sticky notes on a map of the world, as we prayed for different countries. 

We ended our night with some worship, and a closing prayer.

img_0962

 

Rapid City Day 4 (7/13/2016)


Day four of our mission trip was one of the most difficult yet. Most groups were struggling through the third of four days on their service sites and one of our groups was learning the ropes at two completely new sites. But despite the adversity they faced emotionally, mentally, and physically, we are all in great spirits this morning and ready to take on our final day of service.

Please continue to comment below. Your love and support has helped each of these youth (and chaperones) carry on when they’ve faced difficult moments. Thank you!

Rapid City Day 3 (7/12/2016)

We continued on our mission sites today. Some of us are getting pretty tired and could use some encouragement today. Last night we had some extra time before bed, so we were able to respond to some of your comments!

Rapid City Day 2 (7/11/2016)

Day 2 of our mission trip to Rapid City was our first day on our work sites. We we split up into four different groups, two of all St. Mark Youth and two groups mixed with Hope Lutheran from Fargo/West Fargo, ND. At our sites we worked with lots of different groups.

Our first group spent the day clearing out a lot where Habitat for Humanity will be beginning construction later this week. Our second group split there day between a food bank in the morning and a nursing home in the afternoon.

Sadly the other half of our youth were unable to gather videos from there sites due to confidentiality issues. But throughout the next couple of days I hope to capture the youth sharing the amazing stories that have already begun to take place at the Club for Boys (an organization which strives to equipdboys to become young men) and Black Hills Works (an organization which cares for people with mental disabilities of all levels.

The youth loved the comments from yesterday, and actually wanted me to keep on reading them after I ran out, so keep them coming today!

Rapid City Day 1 (7/10/2016)

Today we traveled from West Des Moines to Rapid City, SD. We chose our seats on the bus based on Dinosaurs (because of SD’s history of archeology) Jordyn picked out. We thought we might share what we learned with you!

Don’t forget to comment below, so I can read those comments to the kids around 10:45pm Central Time. Thanks in advance!

Does Everything Happen for a Reason?

This week we began our summer study which follows Adam Hamilton’s book, Half Truths. We began our study by introducing the idea of half truths and the place they hold in our lives. For more information on that check out our introductory blog post. After discussing the idea of half truths we dove into our first half truth: “Everything Happens for a Reason.” We discussed how Continue reading

Youth help out with Trunk-or-Treat!

Each year St. Mark reaches out to the community around us to provide a safe and fun trick-or-treating experience. This year both the Middle School and High School youth helped out by creating their own trunk-or-treating experience. Check out the pictures below to see what they did!

Eikon (High School)

Last Sunday the High School youth built a Spooky Maze in the church basement. During Trunk-or-Treat, the youth helped kids have a safe and not too scary haunted house experience!

CREW (Middle School)

Over the past couple of weeks each of the 6 small groups worked together to plan a fun trunk. Then they met up early on Wednesday evening to put together their trunks and hand out candy to the Trunk-or-Treaters.


  
  

Walk 4 Water Concert and LOCK-IN!!!

This week instead of our normal Sunday night meeting, we actually met on Saturday Night for a Lock-in. We kicked off the night at 6pm at Faith Lutheran Church where we met up with several other churches from throughout central Iowa for an event featuring the Walk-4-Water campaign, Agape, Rachel Kurtz, and Joe Davis.

The event started with a .1 mile journey through the basement carrying 5 gal water jugs (weighing 40 lbs!) to simulate the 3.7 miles that the average woman in sub-Saharan Africa must walk to retrieve water for her family. On the journey we had to walk through simulated flood waters, stand in the heat, learn about water born illnesses, and follow the perilous journey of an individual who doesn’t have enough water. After sweating our way through the Walk-4-Water track, we moved into the sanctuary where we witnessed an awesome concert!


  
  


Then we headed back to the church for a night full of Gargon, Hypotherables, and The Magic School Bus (seriously, that’s the netfilx movie the youth picked out). It was a great night and it all culminated in us attending the 10am Contemporary worship together.