Throughout the summer, every Royal Servants team experiences transitions. The Nehemiah team is no exception. For 2.5 weeks, Nehemiah students served others and prepared for their time overseas. Nehemiah set up tents and large 20x30’ tarps which the teams meet under for meals and teachings. Moreover, the students created and taught dance, drama, and puppet routines to the other Royal Servants teams. The team prepared for overseas ministry by creating a three-day VBS program, reading through “Tactics” by Gregory Koukl, a book on how to share your faith effectively, sitting through leadership training, reading through the Word, and bonding as a team. During this time, Nehemiah has worked hard and has had good attitudes with hearts eager to serve and learn.
Departing Training Camp, the team experienced another transition. Suddenly, we were submerged in Turkish culture and stayed in a small hostel in downtown Istanbul. At the last minute, the team’s previous accommodations were canceled unexpectedly and without notice, so we pivoted and stayed in a smaller hotel with much fewer accommodations. Nehemiah maintained good attitudes as they shared beds, slept on floors, and ate more oatmeal than usual. The next day, the team separated into small groups and eagerly engaged in ministry, talking to local shopkeepers and asking them about their beliefs and culture. As students debriefed their experience, they shared their experiences with excitement. For example, Bergen, Nate, and Lizzy expressed disappointment that they were leaving Istanbul shortly and couldn’t share tea with one particular shopkeeper the next day.
Now, Nehemiah enters into another time of transition. Currently, the team is traveling to some of the seven churches that John writes to in Revelation, learning and experiencing the Bible in a new way through these experiences. Yesterday, we visited Ephesus, an important city in the New Testament. Before visiting the city, Nehemiah watched a video on the city of Ephesus and read through Ephesians so that they could appreciate and understand the city in more depth. The team walked through the ruins with joy and excitement. After the time, students discussed their experience and its impact. As Viola processed the day, she noted that it was exciting to be able to visualize the city than simply reading about it. Noting that there were a lot of pagan religious ruins present in Ephesus, Katie highlighted that her experience helped her to realize how much the Ephesian Christians would have encountered idolatry and idolatrous practices and understand how challenging it would have been to be a Christian in Ephesus.
Today, the team visited Pergamum and Sardis. They have watched videos on both of the churches and experienced a long day full of bus rides, hot sun, and amazing experiences. The adventure continues!