By Rob Pifer
In Four Oaks Students, we have always prioritized our summer trips as a vital part of our ministry and I’m excited to say that we’ll be taking that to the next level this summer! Our middle schoolers will embark on another wilderness adventure up in the mountains of Kentucky in June. This trip is all about team building and living in gospel community...more on that in a minute.
Last summer, rather than our usual mission trip to New Orleans with Urban Impact Ministries, we took a group of high schoolers abroad for the first time in our history and served the Cabaret Haiti Mission for a week in Cabaret, about two hours north of Port au Prince, Haiti. My plan going into last summer was to begin a rotation of mission trips for our youth, alternating New Orleans and Haiti on an every-other-year basis. After all, Haiti is much farther away, more expensive, logistically challenging, and potentially dangerous, so doing it every year might just be too much!
Then I went there, and all of that went right out the window. That week was the highlight of my year, even trumping seeing U2 perform the entire Joshua Tree album live with my wife and three boys! I fell in love with Haiti and its people. I forged a deep bond with the missionaries there, Papa Mike and Mama Bonnie. I played with children who had barely the clothes they wore, but yet who woke up each morning singing praises to God. I met men who looked different, spoke a different language, and came from a world that I can hardly fathom, yet they became brothers. It was perhaps the most impactful week of my life, and I was not alone. CLICK HERE to learn more about Cabaret Haiti Mission.
One of my own sons took this trip with us, and I have seen the impact it had on his young life first hand. Parents of other kids who took the trip with us have told me the same, and I know it’s true because almost immediately upon our return, those kids told me quite emphatically that we HAD to go back! They didn’t have to twist my arm much at all, but what about New Orleans and our longstanding relationship to Urban Impact?
Well, I decided we’re just going to have to do both! We have a team of younger high schoolers who will travel with me to NOLA at the end of June, and another team made up of older high schoolers and college students making the trek with me down to Haiti. It’s ambitious, I know, but I cannot wait!
Last year, God moved in a mighty way in the hearts of so many people and our trip to Haiti, which costs around $1500 per person, was mostly provided for. One of the biggest ways that trip was funded was through a really special event at Maple Street at FSU that so many of you attended. The silent auction and ticket sales brought in over $7,000! Those of you who attended know what a fun and special night it was!
We are so excited to be hosting another event on April 27th, this time at Maple Street right next door to Four Oaks Killearn! We are gathering items like vacation homes, party packages, jewelry, and gift baskets for our silent auction. We will have live bluegrass music with outdoor seating.
And of course, there will be biscuits! Our neighbors, Maple Street, are serving up their usual delicious fare, but this time with a bit of a twist. We will have a build-your-own-biscuit bar set up for you to make your favorite Maple Street treats, just the way you like it!
To help make this a fun night out for parents with young kids, we are offering free childcare at the church for babies, preschoolers, and elementary school age kids. Tickets are on sale now for $20 each, but if you gather your Community Group or friends and family, you can get the special group rate of $10/ticket if you buy 10 or more. CLICK HERE to buy your tickets now and register for childcare.
If you have already bought your tickets in the lobby, from a Haiti Team member, or through your community group, but haven't signed up for childcare, click here.
This event combines two of the things I love most about our church: people living in community with one another, and an emphasis on reaching our kids, our community, and our world with the gospel. Join us at Maple Street on April 27th and enjoy fellowship with your church community while supporting our mission to Haiti.