On the Home Stretch

Posted: July 16, 2014 in Uncategorized

We are driving through Arkansas right now, just passed thru Little Rock (we’ll be approaching Texas by the time I finish this and find the cell service to get it posted). Most of the teens are resting as we travel along. While the miles on the road may seem to pass slowly, the Destination: Scioto County, Ohio trip has passed by quickly. When Rex first asked me to consider coming on the trip, I did not think it was a possibility because of events already on my schedule for the summer. I am incredibly thankful that God orchestrated a path for me to be able to join the team. It has been a blessing to watch every member of the team share the story of God’s work in his/her life. I have also enjoyed watching how dedicated and hard working each teen was on their REACH Workcamp crews. The projects at each worksite were difficult and sometimes dirty and the teens endured and worked hard to the best of their God given abilities to complete these projects. They helped repair and replace floors, roofs, ramps and much more.

The work crew I worked with had teens from Illinois, Pennsylvania and North Carolina working together to repair and replace the subfloor and floor in three rooms of our neighbors house, build steps for the rear exit of the home and stain the wheelchair ramp. We also trimmed tree branches to get them off the roof, cleaned the entire exterior of the house, and did some landscaping. On Thursday we discovered that the water heater was leaking and had not been functional in a while. REACH was able to get the funds to replace this too! Our neighbor, Charlene, is disabled and unable to take care of her property without help. She also has two grandchildren and a daughter living with her. It was heart breaking to see the conditions they were living in and remember how much God has blessed me with.

One night for our youth group reflections we discussed the difference between wounds, callouses, and scars (whether physical, spiritual, or emotional) in our lives. We further talked about what prevents wounds from healing, what turns wounds into callouses, and what scars represent in our lives. Scars represent healing. They show a place God has worked and mended wounds in a life. Each of the teens shared stories of wounds and scars in their lives. They were open and honest about where there are still places to let God work and heal their wounds and transform them into scars that paint the story of God’s restorative work in their life. It was a reminder for me that we all have wounds and scars and they can be used as a tool to share His story if we let Christ work and restore.

This trip has been a chance for me to step out from my behind the scenes role at the church and get involved in ministry in a different way. It was a special time for me to get to be involved in a more face to face avenue of ministry and be able to directly see the individuals who we were ministering to and the impact it had on their life.

Thank you for supporting the Destination: Scioto County, Ohio team both in prayer and in financial support. God has used your support to make this trip possible. Thanks!

In Christ,

I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
and put their trust in him.
-Psalm‬ ‭40‬:‭1-3‬


Thank you to everyone who helped me come to Ohio for the work camp. I am so happy because I met some new people and also got to socialize with our youth group especially the girls because i was able to learn so much from them this week. My work was fun because our neighbor had three girls who were so sweet. They were shy the first day. As time goes on, they helped us paint and they always ate lunch with us at our worksite. We shared the gospel with them and they were so interested. They came to our closing program on the Friday (the last day of work camp). My crew was the best because they opened up to me and they respected each other. I had fun and I hope to come back again next time. 



Good day y’all! For everyone back home, I’m sorry there is absolutely no service in Ohio. This has been a great week for me, being new to the leader position on a mission trip I came into this week rather skeptical if I could lead or even be taken seriously by the students. I have been getting great feedback from people on our team and the crews we were on. This only encourages my passion to become a youth pastor. My crew consisted of Rex and I plus 13 strangers from Illinois, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina. We spent a week building a roof (Rex’s team), redoing siding for a wall, and building a brand new porch (My team). I loved working with my crew I saw the love of Christ in them by the second day we had opened up and fellowshipped as if we had known each other for years. The worship in the evening was fantastic and gave us great topics to talk about and discuss.
-Ivan Rios


Today, we worshipped with Faith Baptist Church in Wheelersburg, Ohio. Garrett, Esai, and I shared our testimonies with the Teen Sunday School Class. Pastor Bryan White also asked me to share with the church about how we approach missions in the student ministry at Scofield. My dear friend Jason and his wife, Megan, joined us for lunch.

Yesterday, we helped the Reach staff tear down their equipment at South Webster High School. Then, we stopped at the Wheelersburg Flea Market for some shopping. We spent most of our day at my mother and stepfather’s house, where they had prepared a cookout for us. Dustin shared his testimony with my family, and my sister, Jade, shared her story.

We were quite exhausted, and honestly, we still are. I think God and adrenaline helped us get through Friday to finish all of our work projects. While I initially thought our work projects would be somewhat light renovations, we were actually doing major renovations at most of the homes. I am super pleased with our students and have enjoyed watching them work so hard.

We have also experienced a deep fellowship within our group. There are a number of occasions and conversations that have helped us grow closer to Christ and to learn more about one another as we walk with Christ.

Please pray for our rest and good sleep tonight and tomorrow night. We head to King’s Island for a fun day tomorrow. Then, we will begin our long journey back to Dallas on Tuesday morning. We’ll stop in Memphis, and finish our journey home on Wednesday.

Here are some pictures for you. More of the students will post tonight about their experiences. Thanks for your prayers and support!









Serving others is simply a form of glorifying God. I myself am not a very social or outgoing person; I tend to be quiet and introverted. This week placed me significantly out of my comfort zone as I was placed among a group of complete strangers and told to fix a house with them. They were kind and loving people, there to glorify God through the fulfillment of his commands. I was blessed to see them love on the homeowner’s children, and reminded of the love our Savior has for little ones. Most people who know me know that desire to be a doctor someday, hopefully a pediatrician. So the love I saw in my work crew for little ones warmed my heart and encouraged me despite of my reservations.  This week reminded me of something I know, but often forget: that God calls us to fulfill all his commands, not just the ones we are comfortable with obeying. As I revere my earthly father and hesitate to cross him when he lays down the law, I must trust in my Heavenly Father’s rules with the same faithful obedience.


“So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.'” -John 17:10


-Bethany VanGoethem

Reach Work Camp: Day 3 (June 8th, 2014)

Today the theme of our study was scars. This was a very hard topic for me seeing as how my life is full of scars. Physical, emotional, and mental. I don’t like to talk about my scars but if the time is right, I will with those I love. The MC tonight showed us an amazing video. It was a music video for the song “Beautiful Things”. In the video there were 3-4 very depressed people who were staring at pictures of themselves holding plaques like mug shots that read words such as “lust, greed, gossip” and so on. Throughout the video a little girl came up to each of the individuals and held up a Polaroid camera and snapped a new picture, she handed it to them and walked away without a word. Soon, as the photos were developing, the people started to realize that they are no longer their past selves. They are only who they are in The Lord right now. And they have all been forgiven. At this point, tears were silently streaming down my face along with the man next to me, Andy. This video means so much to me because I can’t help but see myself when I think of it. I have always clung to my past as who I am. But it’s not who I am. I am a child of The Lord, the most high God and I am forgiven. After the evening program the 6 girls from my youth group had a reflection time siting outside in the parking lot and watching the beautiful Ohio sunset while we dug deeper and talked more about scars. Every single one of us cried plenty of tears for our own pain and the pain of others. I discovered that my past is not a scar yet. It is still a wound that I am dealing with. It is very tender and it is going to take me a while, but with time, and help from my Lord I will recover from my battle wounds of life. I do not hate those who hurt me. I only pray for them that they will see their own foolishness.

These are the verses that we read and discussed during our time of reflection:

Psalm 107:2

2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Psalm 30:2

Acts 17:28

Psalm 40:1-3

Hebrews 6:19

Isaiah 53:4-5

Proverbs 24:1


In Christ,

Hannah Jenkins



The music video for Beautiful Things can be viewed at http://youtu.be/Is6weMrenls

Humbling Worship

Posted: July 12, 2014 in SSM Missions

Greetings!! My name is Shelby Taylor Graham-Ashcraft and I am a proud Texan. When I left on this mission trip, I had one specific prayer request in mind from the prayer cards that had been shared. That was for my relationship with God to be restored and strengthened. That did, indeed, happen this week I am proud to admit. Throughout the week, there were several times in which I could feel myself growing a deeper will to serve the Lord; listening to testimonies, giving testimony, serving my neighbor, having fellowship with my Christian brothers, having individual prayer times, etc., were all times that I felt this happening. Above all though, the times when I could physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and intensely feel closer to God was through our worship. Just to start, I loved the band that Reach hired, but that’s all I’m gonna say about the band. The fact that I could scream as loud as I could along with hundreds of other believers as we praised God through music could bring a person to their knees, and did a few. It was a supremely humbling experience to see how much glory God commands, just knowing that nothing else could ever command so much from so few. I could feel God’s presence as we all sung his glory, and it was a great time for fellowship as well, as brothers and sisters raised their hands to God in worship. Worship and glory is what God demands, so I gave Him everything I had and it was truly humbling. Well, Rex gave me like 15 minutes to type this so I just thought that that was DEFINITELY an experience I wanted to share. Shelby Graham, signing off.