Bekah's Heart, Crossroads, First Trinity, Youth Ministry

Truly a Beautiful Sight!

Here is a glimpse into the beautiful sight I witnessed while I worshipped this weekend:  

  • Two middle school students working together to make sure we had light on the candles in the front of the Church to help us focus on THE Light, Jesus. 
  • Three high school student singing, playing, leading the congregation in praises to our King.
  • Four sisters in middle and high school greeting people as they came into worship, directing God’s sons and daughters to go receive His very body and blood, helping collect the gifts of God’s people and present them back to God.
  • A high school student, knelt down in prayer with a man at the altar railing.


I LOVE seeing youth involved in worship.  And no, for those of you who don’t attend First Trinity, this was NOT a special ‘youth’ service.  It wasn’t really a “special” day at all (well, minus celebrating Sue’s Master DCE Award!!!).   What I mean is this is not the first time I’ve witnessed young people in action here at First Trinity. 

Take Christmas Eve, for example, when a 4th grader stood up in front of the entire congregation for each service and recited, from memory, the entire Christmas story from Luke 2.  Hearing the story of the Christ child, proclaimed from a child… simply beautiful.

Or our New Years’ Eve lock-in where 7 of the 15 youth participating had some role in planning or leading a section of the event. 

It is such a beautiful thing to see the entire body of Christ working together.  And it wasn’t JUST the youth either that made these things (and so many more) so wonderful.  It’s the interaction between all those serving.

At that New Years Eve Lock-in, TEN adults helped with some aspect of the lock-in from set-up to serving breakfast and even a few brave souls who stay the entire night (mostly awake) with the students so they could enjoy bringing in the New Year with their friends.

On Christmas Eve, I’m sure there were many hours of practice with those 4th graders’ parents rehearsing and encouraging to each of them to prepare, not to mention the many others who served in that service.

And last week… those students I witnessed using their gifts weren’t alone!  Just for that one service alone, at least 25 other people worked TOGETHER to make that service possible… other band members, readers, people working sound and powerpoint, greeters, ushers, and the list continues.

THIS is what the Body of Christ is all about. … each person doing their part … no matter whether the role seems to be “in the spotlight” or no one but you knows it even gets done… whether you’re 9 yrs old or 90.  It is so encouraging to be serving and learning and growing and worshiping in a place who values each person for who they are and honors the gifts they bring to worship our King.


“Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” 1 Corinthians 12:27


“Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.” ~ 1 Timothy 4:12 


Blessing, Crossroads, First Trinity, Joy, NY Adventures

JB… Two months of Joy and Blessing!

Well, as of yesterday, I’ve officially been in New York for 2 months.  In some ways it’s hard to comprehend it’s been that long and in other ways it feels much longer.  In any case, I truly am loving life here.  As Jason pointed out though, it’s crazy to think that 1/6 of my internship is over.  What’s even crazier is that it seems like everything is just now getting ready to begin!


Fall programming starts tomorrow (well kind of today with Youth Band) and I’m excited to see what God has in store for this year.  (Another post is coming about this). 



In the mean time, check out some more exciting adventures and blessings that happened recently:


On labor day, the Whited family invited me to go hiking/geocaching with them and I had a wonderful time!  Here’s a picture that Wisken took of me by The Eternal Flame (I think that’s what it was called) at Chestnut Ridge Park. DSCF6624 Natural gas comes up in the rocks behind a waterfall and someone lit it at one point. 




It was a beautiful day hiking, geocaching, picnicing and just enjoying life together out in God’s beautiful creation.  Here is one of my favorite pictures from the day:



Now fast forward from Monday to earlier today (Saturday).  Some amazing youth that came to help around church today.  Our main task was cleaning/rearranging the youth space, but the youth are so awesome that they agreed to help out for a few minutes on the renovations taking place in the preschool. 


Here are some pictures of the youth (and the amazing Mike Zekas) in action:

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Awesome job team!



I truly cannot thank God enough for the COUNTLESS blessings that I’ve found here in New York and specifically at First Trinity in the last two months.  Thanks to everyone who’s made it so wonderful!  I’m excited to see what adventures the next 10 months bring as well!

NY Adventures

Adventures of the New York Variety #3 and #4

Yay for more New York Adventures!  This past week provided two more opportunities to explore the area and have some fun.


Past New York Adventures (In case you missed these posts)

Going to the Buffalo Italian Heritage Festival with the Mongielo Family

Trip to Niagara Falls with my sister and her fiance (I guess I never wrote about that…. hmm.)

Shakespeare in the Park with Darcy and Touring Niagara County with my friend, Mark


Adventure #3  – Elmwood Arts Festival

I’m pretty sure Buffalo, NY has more festivals than any other place I’ve been.  My personal philosophy is that we’re snowed in all winter that we have to take every excuse they can get in the summer to be outside.  Seriously, I think there’s been SOME kind of festival every weekend I’ve been here (though I’ve only gone to two) and many weekends there are multiple festivals going on at the same time.


Anyway, on Sunday, my friend Tracy invited me to the Elmwood Arts Festival.  It was a beautiful day and fun to walk around and see all the art, hear the music, watch the parade, etc. before heading back to her friend’s house nearby for dinner. Here are some pictures:


Vendors with all of their homemade art and crafts



Music and Dance taking place on a stage at one end of the festival.



All wrapped up with a giant parade with the kids waving and wearing the crafts they made!


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Adventure #4 ~ Waterbiking on the Erie Canal

I’m constantly amazed at how our God provides.  Just as I was maybe starting to get a little lonely here in New York, God has provided opportunities to get out and hang out with other people.  One of those moments was when the Canfield family randomly called up Monday afternoon and asked if I wanted to come over for dinner that night. It was a delicious meal and was nice to share with such a wonderful family.


The fun continued after dinner when we went down to the Erie canal to ride waterbikes.  When they told me about them, I was thinking more like a paddleboat, but think more: stationary bike meets pontoon boat.  Well I guess you can just see for yourself:

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Kristina joined up with us too (though sadly couldn’t do the paddleboats because of her knee).  BUT we had a wonderful time wrapping up the night down by the river (I believe it was the Niagara River) eating ice cream and sharing my pictures/stories from Uganda.


Thanks God for wonderful people, wonderful adventures, and for being a wonderful God! 🙂

NY Adventures

Joyfullyblessed… New York Adventures #2

The past couple weeks have contained a couple WNY adventures.  I’m truly enjoying the time I’ve gotten to explore this area that’s new to me.  This blog title includes the phrase “#2” in hopes that there will be many more adventures to blog about throughout my time here. (and I’m counting my trip to the Buffalo Italian Festival as #1 even though it’s not labeled that way) In any case, HERE WE GO (and yes… a lot of adventures means a lot of writing… if you haven’t figured it out by now, that’s just how I work):


DSCF6550Two weeks ago Darcy invited me to Shakespeare in Delaware Park.  Every summer one of the parks in Buffalo puts on presentations of Shakespeare’s works for free most nights of the week.  We caught a showing of Macbeth.  Quite the creepy story, but the actresses did a wonderful job.  Yes, I just mentioned ACTRESSES not actors as the entire cast was female.  It was an interesting twist on the fact that originally the play would have been a fully male cast, but it made for a fun opportunity for more females to be involved in the show (swordfights and all!).  Here are some pictures from that night:




So that was last Thursday night.  Then earlier this week (on Monday, my day off) a met up with a friend from school who’s lived in the area since he was in high school.  He had an entire tour of Niagara county planned out and I’m not sure how we packed it all in one day.  I was amazed at how much farmland and even CORNFIELDS there are out here.  Seriously, for a while I thought I might actually be back in Nebraska.  Here’s how the day unfolded:


Mark picked me up in time to grab lunch at The Silo in Lewiston. The Silo is just a typical burger/sandwich place but the restaurant happens to be in an old coal silo along the Niagara River. It has a beautiful view of the river (and appears to be a busy fishing spot).  It was a gorgeous day to sit out side and enjoy lunch.  



The day continued and we headed North.  We passed by Mark’s summer vicarage church and went on up to Wilson-Tuscarora State Park along Lake Ontario.  Here we went our separate ways and spent some time alone with the amazing God who created the beautiful sight we were seeing.  It was awesome to look out, unable to see anything but water and realize just how big God is.  It made me also think of that passage when Jesus calms the storm and the disciples exclaim, “Who is this that even the wind and the waves obey him?!?”  (If you look closely at the first picture you can see a sailboat). 

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DSCF6584After a short drive through many more fields, farms, and vineyards we arrived at a similar sight further down on Lake Ontario.  This was at Golden Hill State Park which is exactly 30 miles from Niagara Falls marked by the Thirty Mile Point Lighthouse” which we toured.      It was awesome to stand at the top of the lighthouse, getting beaten around by the intense wind coming off the lake and once again look out at God’s creation and be at awe.  That’s not to mention that I think we DSCF6578made the day for elderly woman who got to give a tour of the lighthouse to some “young people.”

The day continued with many more adventures.  We crossed briefly over into Orleans county and visited an Amish Store called Yoder’s Country Cupboard where I got some fun homemade candy as well as fresh homemade peanut butter.

Okay, so this next part I have to explain a little more for those of you that aren’t familiar with Western New York (WNY).  What the rest of the country calls “Buffalo Wings” aren’t real wings at all.  CHICKEN wings are originally from Buffalo, NY (hence where were got the name in the rest of the country) and everyone has their favorite place which they claim has “the best wings (or DSCF6589fingers) in Western New York.”  Well, another claim was made and we ventured off to Mr. Ed’s in Middleport.  (I have not had enough experience trying wings or fingers to be able to judge any claims but Mr. Ed’s did have some good fingers).  We picked up the fingers and headed to a picnic table by the canal to eat them… yep… the Erie Canal that most midwesterners have only heard about in history books. As we were driving away from Middleport I even got to experience one of the bridges going up to allow a boat to go underneath.  (If you look on the left side you’ll notice that even when the bridge is up, there is still a “sidewalk” for people to walk across the canal.)

As our journey continued through Gasport and onto Lockport (yea, all the “ports” along the canal), I started to get a little worried.  Mark commented, “And now get ready to have a true Western New York experience.”  He pulled into a parking lot with a Reid’s hotdog stand, handed me some money and said, “Go order…. Good luck!”  Now, even more petrified than before I walked up to the DSCF6600 stand and was a little confused.  Sure, I could figured out what a Shake was or that “Hamburg” means “Hamburger” and “Cheeseburg” means “Cheeseburg”  I figured all the ones with “Hot” in them were hot dogs but what’s the difference between a “Red Hot”, a “White Hot”, or a “Hot Ham”? And did I want the special “Reid’s” sauce… I have no clue.  I ended up ordering a Red Hot with fries and a strawberry shake which the cashier called back to the cooks as a “Red Fry Straw”.  Mark got some extra onion rings with the special sauce so I could try it too.  It was pretty good and as he said… quite the experience… complete with pigeons and everything.

The day wrapped up with a few more stops at a vineyard, that was closed, the Lockport Cruise Night (basically a weekly car show…. a lot of the towns up here have them), before heading back to my home in Amherst pointing out the “cheapest gas station in Niagara county” (apart from “the Res”), the drive-in movie theater, and Niagara produce along the way.

What a wonderful, joyfulllyblessed day in Western New York.  Now all of you just need to come visit me so I can take you to these wonderful places as well!

Well, that’s all I have for now.  I’m super excited for this weekend …. I get a chance to share my stories about Africa at the VBS reunion and my aunt and uncle from IL are going to stop through on Sunday after an impromptu vacation to Niagara Falls.


Blessings from New York!