Wow, what a trip! We just returned last night night from our mission trip to Orting, WA, and we didn't walk through the door until 10:15. Traveling with 4 kids was an adventure, especially on such a long flight, but the flight home was much better than the flight out there (probably because Deacon slept for 3 1/2 hours on the way home).
Simply put, Orting, WA, is a beautiful community. It's a pristine little town at the base of Mt. Rainier (the picture above is what you see from the town) and the people love being outside. Each neighborhood has its own park and the middle of the downtown area is a park as well.
During the day there, we held multiple "parties in the park" at these neighborhood parks where we invited the kids to come and play games, have their faces painted, and then hear about Jesus in a Bible story time. While this was going on, several of our guys and girls held a free basketball camp at the school that served as our home base and the rest of our group was going door-to-door collecting information on surveys. On first night, we had the Next Generation Power Force come in and give strength demonstrations and on the second night I preached and laid out the gospel. Before each night meeting we had inflatable games for the kids and lots of food.
Overall, 56 people in Orting made decisions for Christ. The big challenge that lays ahead of for RiverChase Church to follow up on these decisions. They are still a young congregation and I would ask you to pray for their more mature believers to be diligent to disciple these many men, women, and young people who surrendered their lives to Christ. It's a big task but they are excited to undertake it.
One big thing that has stuck with me about Orting it's the draw that it has on a person. The last day there was supposed to be our "free day" and everyone either went into Seattle or to the trails on Mt. Rainier. My family along with Mark and Alicia Senter and their daughter went to Seattle, but the kids wore out pretty quickly. After a short rest at the hotel, we went right back to Orting (which was 20 minutes from where we were staying) and let the kids play in the park until it was almost dark. There is just something about the small town atmosphere with a beautiful view that's hard to resist.
And the people of Orting, though they live in the shadow of God's splendor with Mt. Rainier, have little time or interest in worshiping the Creator. Many were closed to even discussing church or spiritual issues and, though they aren't out there worshiping Satan or building pyres to the moon gods, they are just simply indifferent to the gospel. The entire time that I was in Orting, I saw only one other church besides RiverChase and it was in a neighboring town.
For many that went with us, this was truly the first real mission field that they had entered. What I mean is that this was the first place where the vast majority of the people either hadn't considered Jesus or didn't care to. It was certainly eye opening yet it also gave each of us a chance to see the power of God in action as many lives were changed with the truth of the gospel. And that's what it's all about, proclaiming the truth of Jesus Christ and allowing His Holy Spirit to take care of the rest.
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