Southwest Park DNOW

“Above all else, put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity” Colossians 3:14. 

This weekend, the Glowing Heart team traveled to Southwest Park Baptist Church in Abilene, Texas. We were told before hand by the youth pastor that they like to heavily focus on teamwork. Because of this, the church had planned a team oriented recreational time that they called “The Goat Games”. The youth group was split into four different teams by host home, and each team was given a color and animal mascot to represent themselves. This added a unique element that most weekends do not possess. After our first session, we spent time working on decorating our mascot. My group was the middle school boys and our color and mascot was a purple goat. Our kids wanted to name our mascot Gucci Goat, so we decorated him accordingly, giving him a nice tie and a lot of flashy beads to make him look pretty awesome. Not only was decorating the goat a ton of fun, it allowed us to bond with our kids in a super easy and time consuming way. 

Saturday was the big day for The Goat Games. In the morning we had a few more hours to continue prepping our mascot for the games, but after that we had to head out to the gym so the games could commence. There were many ways to earn points (not just physical activity) which covered all ends of the spectrum. While the physical aspects were still present in things like racing, creative aspects were present in the decoration of the goat and critical thinking aspects were involved when two people had to wear their animal costume and perform certain commands. Over all, the Goat Games was an awesome idea that involved every students’ strengths and was very heavily dependent on teamwork. 

Saturday night was unique for me. Henry’s message was powerful; he put the story of Jesus’ death on the cross into a more modern perspective. That really resonated with the students and it moved me to an emotional state. Once again, Henry called those who were struggling with anything to give it up at the altar and asked those who were lost and wanted direction to ask God into their lives. I know I like to mention a number of salvations typically at this part, but Henry said something that made me stop caring about that number. He said that he stopped counting the numbers about five years ago because it does not matter how many students get saved or how many recommit, it matters that we are here being a vessel that God uses to change those students; God will keep count and know the number of His children. I will still say that salvations happened as did recommitments, but as for the number, I do not know, nor do I concern myself with it. Every student walked away from this weekend changed; everyone involved with this weekend walked away changed. 

“The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the fall prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever” Revelation 20:10

-Ryan Smith