Here is a report on STEP written by our daughter and her husband, Angela and Bill Loudon.
It is now two weeks since the STEP outreach ended. We were pretty exhausted by the time we got the last team member on his plane home and it took us a week just to start feeling caught up on sleep! It was worth all the effort though. We thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of leading and hosting those who joined us this year.
The first four days were devoted to intensive training sessions, including classes on developing a cultural understanding of Latinos in the USA. We also learned how to communicate Biblical truths to children and how to share the gospel with others. One of the highlights during these pre-outreach days was a field trip to downtown Los Angeles. We visited the famed MacArthur Park, where Angela's dad frequently handed out literature and shared his faith with Latinos in the 90’s. On the field trip we also visited a Spanish Christian bookstore, ate at a Salvadorian restaurant, glanced into a Botanica (Latino New Age store) and walked through a Latin American shopping sector. For us it felt like we had been whisked away to a regular street in Colombia!
Monday through Friday of the following week the team worked hard. We spent the mornings in Bible study, first a time of personal devotions and then an in depth study on the same Bible passage that would later be presented to the children in the afternoon. Bill and Shawn (one of the elders at our church) together helped the team understand the main points in the story for the day and how to use it to present the good news of Christ to the children and their parents. The theme for the week was “Who is Jesus?” and we used five different stories from the life of Christ to represent Him as the Good Shepherd, God, our Healer, the Resurrection and the Life, and the Savior. The group split into three teams that went out into different neighborhoods to lead Children’s Bible Clubs each evening. One team went to two different residential complexes, so we covered four locations in all.
Two things impacted us most as we reflect back on this year’s STEP outreach. First, the team members reported during our debriefing sessions each evening just how much they were able to use the Bible to communicate with the children. Rather than just tell them about Christ, the team opened up God’s word and read His truth to them. Many of the children went home with a Bible of their own and the knowledge of how to open it up and read it. Please pray that these seeds sown will result in an abundant harvest! Second, we thank God for the team unity we experienced. Our team of 30 individuals come from varied backgrounds, cultures and life experiences, yet share one Lord and a one Faith. This unity was evidenced in the cooperation and eager service shown by everyone on the team.
If you or your church are interested in becoming involved with the Summer Team Evangelism Partnership next summer, please get in touch with us for more information. You can see more pictures on the Loudons' blog, click on these links to view them: Training - Prayer - Outreach - Unity