SWAM New York Mission Trip 2011

Welcome to the official blog for Idlewild High School Choir's SWAM New York Mission Trip. The trip will take place from June 19-25, and throughout the week we will be posting pictures, videos, and updates for friends and family to enjoy. So subscribe to the blog or continue to check your email as we embark on our journey to New York City to spread the message of God's love through our worship music and service to the community!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Friday Update... Airport Info

In the morning, we met Boto at a Queens park and did our last service project clean up work. Boto expressed his gratitude to us for coming to his community and doing the work we did. After lunch we split into groups and went out to Manhattan for our "free/fun day" (although they were all fun ;) ). Depending on which group, they got to see the statue of liberty, Ellis island, Chinatown, central park, ground zero, times square and many other places. In the evening some of the groups went to see Spiderman on Broadway and the Yankees game. I can tell you that the Spiderman show was spectacular and all the kids that went to see it were truly astounded. After the performance, the girls wanted to wait outside in the street by the stage back door to meet the actor who played Spiderman. He was very sweet to the girls and gave autographs and took pictures with each on of them. I'm sure you'll see them up on Facebook. ;) I overheard one of the girls say "This is the best night of my life!"...they're so funny... Heading to the airport early Saturday morning. We arrive to Tampa at 1:30pm unless any delays. Please pick up your child promptly at the Delta baggage belt for flight 1931 from LaGuardia. This is the end of the trip and it's been an unforgettable experience for the students. Very proud of them. Everyone is healthy and safe. Please make sure to thank our adult leaders/chaperones for taking great care of your children. Don't forget homeconcert Sunday night...students need to arrive to worship center for sound check at 4:30pm. Wear RED NY Good News tshirt and jeans. It's been a pleasure ministering with your children this year and here in New York - Leo


Video links from Friday:
Boto singing in Hindi
Redeemer Remix at Queens Park
Tai Chi in the Park
Brooklyn Bridge Prayer Walk
Jesus Worship in Hindu Temple

Friday, June 24, 2011

Thursday Photo Slideshow

Thursday Update

Today was the best day. I began the day by reminding the team that God's strength is perfected in our weakness and that therefore the tiredness and wear out we're experiencing is actually an advantage for our Mission...we cannot depend on our talent or skill or looks or energy anymore so we are forced to now depend ONLY on HIS power. And so we did and sure enough, God showed off. We met up with pastor Boto Sema at our first Queens park. Boto is Indian and is a man ON FIRE for the Lord with a great passion for reaching the lost in NY, specifically Hindus and Muslims. We cleaned up the park and began our concert. Halfway to the concert we got rained out but not before Boto gave a passionate gospel invitation to the mainly Chinese audience in the park. Our kids went around the park, greeting people and doing one on one evangelism. It is so exciting to hear them speak so enthusiastically about their experiences sharing Christ. Boto then took us to a Hindu temple. This was an eye opening and very educational experience as we were able to witness hindu worshipers coming in and doing their ritual. Boto explained what was happening every step of the way and contrasted it with Christianity. He challenged us that we need to be as disciplined and have as much respect for the Scriptures as they do for their rituals because we have the Truth in Jesus. He borrowed a guitar and basically led us in a mini (Christian) worship service inside of this hindu temple. Pretty mind blowing. We did our second concert of the day at another Queens park mainly to an Indian crowd and this time the weather cooperated. A highlight of the concert was that Boto and the praise team from his church led the crowd in worship songs in Hindi. At night we closed the day with Big Group and we had each of our seniors come up and do a little speech. It was moving and humbling to hear from them how our SWAM ministry has impacted and even changed their lives. It was a very special meeting and all I can tell you is that the Spirit of God suddenly took over to the point that I knew I wasn't in control of the meeting anymore. The manifestation of love, grace, mercy, unity and students ministering to each other is unlike anything I've ever seen in my entire career. God is good. Both, students and adults are pretty worn out...please pray for continued health and renewed strength and vitality. One more day to go...we're almost home. ;) - Leo


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Wednesday Photo Slideshow

Interview w/ Charlie

Wednesday Update

In the morning we did a Brooklyn Bridge prayer walk. We split into family groups and prayed for the city as we walked across the mile long bridge. Among the topics we prayed for were 1) the NY school system, teachers, students, 2) the financial district 3) stranded people, aliens, homeless, 4) the NY Church, unity among churches, 5) and tourism. It was of course a great photo opp for beautiful Manhattan scenery and I'm sure you'll see all the pictures your kids took. Once across the bridge we went to a well populated park and did one on one evangelism. The challenge to the students (and us adults) was to be able to share Christ with at least one stranger by the end of the day. It was cool to see the students engaging people seated on benches around the park in eternal conversations. I got reports that some of them were led in a prayer to receive Christ by our students. How exciting! Very proud of them. In the evening we led worship for chapel back at NYSUM and performed some of our concert material for them. Afterwards we split into small groups and went to do Homeless Compassion ministry in various parts around the city. We gave out bibles, toiletry packets, sandwiches, and water bottles. It was another late night for us so please continue to pray for stamina for our team as some of them are already showing signs of getting worn out. Still they've been troopers and going out back out there into battle again and again and maintaining a sunny, loving disposition. Everybody is safe and still healthy so that's a praise. Thursday will be another big day with our last 2 concerts of the trip at different Queens parks. Keep those prayers coming...our Help comes from above! - Leo

Video of "Waging War" on the deck of the USS Intrepid:


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tuesday Update

We made our way to the USS Intrepid in the morning. Because of the venue, we included some patriotic pieces in our concert. The folks visiting the ship were a great audience and we led them all in the National Anthem at the opening. As you'll see in the photos and videos in this blog, there's something special about seeing the beautiful Mahattan skyline in the background while our students perform and minister in Arts. The staff at the Intrepid was very welcoming and professional with us and even helped us celebrate Pastor Steve's birthday with a cake and candles they brought out as we started singing "Happy Birthday" to him at the end of the concert. Afterwards we toured the museum part of the ship and headed back to NYSUM where we had a quick turn around time to eat dinner and go to the Brooklyn Tabernacle's prayer service. The kids seemed very excited as we entered and could hear the worship music already in progress. We definitely had a special worship experience at that place. We closed the night by stopping at legendary "Junior's" and enjoying their famous cheesecake. Sweet time of fellowship and lots of laughter as I showed some of the kids some very embarrassing baby pictures of mine. Because we are using subways as our mode of transportation, that implies that we've had to do a LOT of walking as well. Today alone we walked several miles for several blocks to get from point A to point B. It is pretty tiring. Please pray for us because, usually as we approach the middle of the week in our trips, that's when we all begin experiencing exhaustion, lack of focus, tempers flare, and health decays. This has not happened yet but 12 years experience doing these type of trips tell me that it's coming, so help us pray for that. Good day all in all. - Leo

Monday Update

We woke up bright and early and had breakfast in the dining room along with a team from Indiana and Kansas. This was followed by orientation and training. As always, first days can always be a little rough...the generators that were supplied to us up here to power up our concert were defective so our tech team (who has been doing a tremendous job) had to improvise and rent a new one from a local store. One of the vans that were supposed to transport us to Coney Island broke down over the weekend so we had to do the whole commute via subway with instruments and all. A commute that was supposed to take 45 minutes ended up taking close to 2 hours. But the team remained flexible and with a positive and fun attitude through it all. They even took advantage of the opportunity and gave a little acapella mini concert to the people in the subway during the long ride. You can see some of the fun in the videos included in this blog. We finally made it to Coney Island, set up for our concert and performed/ministered for an hour and a half on the boardwalk facing the beautiful beach. We had a current stream of onlookers and people passing by. Many of them would stop and listen. We even a had a drunk crazy man try to disturb our concert and distract the audience from our message but the beach patrol took care of him. The audience welcomed our music, dramas, and dance routines very enthusiastically and we even had some people raise their hand during the gospel invitation. After the concert we ate at the legendary Nathan's Hot Dogs and returned to NYSUM. Before bedtime, as we always do in these trips, we had Big Group which is a time of debriefing and testimonies from the day. I spoke to the team about the power of words (from the book of James) and shared specific examples throughout my life of how I've been lifted up and encouraged by people's words but also how I've totally been demolished and devastated at times by reckless words...how sometimes we listen to the wrong voices and believe lies that totally handicap our lives and how we need to listen and believe instead those voices which speak truth, encouragement and hope into our lives. We concluded by exercising encouragement...I asked them to give a shout out to someone in the team who has been encouraging to them. What I thought would be a brief exercise took a life of it's own and 40 minutes later, I finally had to stop the "lovefest" because it was getting late. We gained a lot of territory for the Kingdom today and are steadily taking back what the enemy has stolen from us. I am very proud of this team...we are finally becoming one and only united is that we will succeed in our Mission. Tomorrow, noon concert at the USS Intrepid ship in Manhattan and then Brooklyn Tabernacle in the evening. Please keep us in your prayers...


Monday, June 20, 2011

Monday photo Slideshow

We've got so many photos from today that I decided to put them in a slideshow to take up less space... enjoy!

More Travel Photos...

Here's the photos from Sunday and the trip to New York

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sunday Arrival

We had a nice flight and arrived safely at NYSUM. We held hands and prayed at the gate before boarding the plane. A lot of excitement in the group. During the flight, we played our usual game of "musical chairs" as we switch seats with each other to sit next to students we want to get to talk to and get to know better. I know it always makes the flight more enjoyable for me as I catch up with students' lives and find out how we can pray for them and better minister to them. Some incredible stories in our team, you'd be surprised of the laughter, tears, and ministry that takes place in a simple 3 hour flight. As we flew over Manhattan it was cool to see the students looking out the windows at the beautiful lights, buildings, and bridges down below us. After picking up our luggage, the NYSUM vans picked us up and we went straight to our rooms to sleep...well almost everyone...some of us are writing daily blogs for parents ;). Tomorrow, evangelism ministry and concert all day at Coney Island...keep us in your prayers. Will post another blog tomorrow. - Leo