An evening of thankfulness for all the Lord has done for us. Pies. Baptisms. Family. Gratitude.

Amid the hundred degrees summer days, God is at work here at Belk Farm. For years, PCC has been partnering with the Tesoro Club in Coachella Valley – an organization that strives to disciple children and youth through various camps, sports, and Bible studies. Throughout this week, our small yet encouraged PCC team is running a week-long VBS for middle school students.

We have just made it through the halfway point and the students are beginning to truly engage. In any week-long program, there is always pressure to break down walls quickly. I honestly was a little discouraged that we were not initially resonating with the students; but, a few days of intentional fellowship through small groups and goofy games had a major impact on even the most hesitant of kids. Suddenly our days are filled with a sea of smiles, kids constantly jumping all over us, and difficult yet meaningful conversations. It’s in those moments I remember why we came back. The environment here is intoxicating, drawing each of us in and fostering everlasting camaraderie.

As a young youth pastor, the Tesoro mission trip brings an extra level of joy for myself. I get to watch many of my students serve with humble hearts and perseverance as they grow into natural leaders. I feel like a proud parent watching their kid – or at least how I imagine a proud parent feels. I have been asking a lot of them. It’s nerve-racking to stand in front of 40-50 middle school students and preach the word. I think about Sarah Keller. Just this last year she was a sixth-grade student in MSM (Middle School Ministry). For this whole year she has been participating in small group Bible studies; but now on this trip, she is helping lead one. That gives me so much hope for the future; as our youth group is very young but full of students who want to know God and let him be known. I want to encourage our younger members to step out of their own comfort zones and expand beyond their personal faith. So if you are a high school or middle school student, watch out, because next year might be your time to serve in the desert.