We made it home!
We are grateful. We are changed. #wearetpcc
Who goes on a mission trip and gets a tattoo? Seriously.
Cindy and Jen got small (yes DAD… small!) crosses on their wrists and Tyler got a cool HE > i tatoo. This could be a first Traders Point.
There are no words for the emotions people are feeling for the victims and their families of this terrible tragedy. Memorials were popping up in a few different places, but one of the most impactful memorials was when the carpenter from Illinois, Greg Zanis, drove across the country to put out 58 crosses to honor those killed in the shooting. (He also did this for the Orlando nightclub shooting, Columbine and Sandy Hook school shootings).
As the weekend went on, these crosses were adorned with flowers (almost as tall as the top of the cross itself) candles, signs, messages, photos, and personal mementos to each individual. There was a steady line for hours and hours as people came to pay their respects.
Our team wanted to see the crosses. We had no idea it would turn into such an emotional evening. You see, all weekend, we had been watching Jeff McClintic (an amazing man of God on the trip with us) just walk right up to people and engage them. He would talk with them, pray with them, and just love on them….The security officer at Wal-Mart, a gal at McDonalds and her atheist son in the car, 2 people fighting outside a tattoo shop, and a man at one of the memorials… just to name a few. Oh and by the way, he actually got Kim, the lady from McDonalds to attend Verve AND her son was also willing to talk to Jeff. WHAT?!?!! Jeff inspired us all. While at the crosses, several of us had the opportunity to talk and pray with prople. It was truly transformational. There was a small tent with a group of people signing praise songs. The entire experience was emotional and moving. Thank you Jeff for your boldness for Jesus. Thank you.
Our very own Aaron Hoover made a sign that said Need a hug? Me too. At one point he had line waiting for hugs. People are searching for hope and healing.
He was a great leader for the entire trip and showed so much compassion for those hurting in Las Vegas. Aaron Hoover is the real deal…. following after the Real Deal.
VERVE means passionate vigor and enthusiasm. This is the perfect name for this church. They live it. They love it. They well, Verve. The stories and lives we encountered were transformed by our Almighty God. Verve is seeking the unchurched and changing lives everyday.
Sunday morning our team got to serve alongside Verve members for all of the services. We were able to assist the volunteers with coffee, kids ministry, volunteer breakfast, communion, and cleaning the church afterward. It was such a blessing to serve in this way.
This particular Sunday, Verve began a new series called Vegas Strong which wrestles with the idea of faith and searches for hope in the midst of tragedy. Vince’s sermon was spot on. Some questions he thought people might be wrestling with:
The Lord is our refuge and strength, and ever- present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear. Psalm 46: 1-2
We need to trust God. We need to develop an accurate picture of who He is when we have a clear head. (John 14: 7-10) If you get to know Jesus— really know Him— you will know that He is powerful, inspirational, a forgiver, healer, compassionate, and he is so madly in love with us. And if God is like that, then I can trust him. And you can trust Him too. Even in the midst of tough times when things don’t make sense.
Vince and the worship team were so encouraging to the congregation, and our prayer is that many of the first timers will return for the remainder of the series and that their hearts felt something that will make them want to return again and again to pursue Jesus. Right now it might feel Las Vegas is stuck on “Friday…” but you hang on… because SUNDAY IS COMING!!!
Verve is loving God and loving people… and turning Las Vegas upside down. #VerveStrong
The Verve Family
While in Vegas, we have been able to spend time with a few of Verve families. First, Mark and Jana Kamp. They hosted our team…. and we all can probably say we never been to a dinner like this before! First impression: they told us where the “Batroom” was. Wait… you mean the bathroom? Nope.
You heard me right folks…. the BAT-ROOM! They have a bathroom decorated in all Batman. You know this is going to be fun if there is a Batman bathroom. Only in Vegas right? Marvelous Mark is a former Vegas entertainer (1980’s Show) and they also invited Darren, the Toastmasters world champion, and another friend Tony that dresses way cooler than all of us. They shared their Verve stories, and how this church is changing lives here in Las Vegas. They shared how grateful they were to have a missions team here to support them and spread the love of our Jesus. It was beautiful. It was unique. It was fun. It was intentional. We ended the night with karaoke and Marvelous Mark drumstick party favors. It was Vegas.
It’s a Block Party!
Vince shared with us that Verve had met with dozens of city leaders as they were preparing and planning to launch, and Vince asked one question- what can we do for Las Vegas? Overwhelmingly, he got one answer. Las Vegas needs a sense of community. So that’s just what Verve set out to do. They bought a bounce house, a popcorn machine, a snow cone machine, a cotton candy machine, some face paint, corn hole boards and said “Lets throw some block parties!”
Our missions team was able to help our trip coordinator, Karla and her husband Todd (and 3 pretty amazing cotton candy eating kiddos) throw a block party in her neighborhood. We were so thrilled to be there to help so she and her husband could solely focus on building relationships with their neighbors. We are so happy to report that many new relationships were formed and neighbors that live side-by-side on the same street for 30 years met for the first time. Success! Jesus is awesome.
Love is contagious.
Hands down one of the best parts of this trip thus far has been when the lead pastor of Verve, Vince poured into us with a Guerrilla Love seminar. What is guerrilla love? So glad you asked. It is based on the concept of guerrilla warfare- low intensity, surprise attacks, a creative, smart and intelligent ambush if you will. A LOVE AMBUSH!
But let’s face it, life is busy. We are running straight from work to the grocery store to soccer practice, and the list goes on. How do we keep the “Love Ambush” top of mind? We have to CHANGE! We have to change the way we think, look, feel, hear, and move.
THINK– We need to think of ourselves as Christ ambassadors. I am someone that God has called to love the world to Him.
LOOK– We need to change the way we look at the world. Many times we think of others being here to serve us… meaning the server at your favorite restaurant, the cashier, your garbage man. Have you ever thought about your garbage man? Probably not- until he missed your garbage that one week. Our garbage men are children of God! We need to change the way we look at people.
FEEL– We need to feel sick. We need to feel compassion for this hurting world, and God’s children. Over and over Jesus feels compassion and heartache for his children. As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy. James 5:11
HEAR– Today’s culture is all about getting revenge, justice, judgement, and fairness. Instead what would it look like if we imitated Jesus and showed grace?
MOVE– When we are feeling rushed and pressured for time, are we being the best ambassadors for Jesus? I know I’m not.
This week our team has been able to participate in a few Guerrilla Love projects.
Krispy Kreme Delivery
Our team got to deliver 60 dozen warm Krispy Kreme doughnuts to unsuspecting businesses around Las Vegas. As we delivered the doughnuts, some were suspicious, but delighted. Most were surprised and grateful that someone would do such a kind thing for nothing. We explained that we were from Verve Church and we were out and about loving people. Most of our encounters were brief, but we were still able to have some meaningful conversations.
One Krispy Kreme delivery was especially meaningful. We went to the Davis Funeral Home. This is the funeral Home that processed all but 3 of the victims from Sunday’s shooting. After the doughnut delivery, it was clear that this needed to be our guerrilla love project as well. We needed to go bigger. We needed to love these funeral home associates that have probably had one of the worst weeks in the history of like ever.
It has been so wonderful– the first responders, police officers, hospitals etc have all been overwhelmed with support this week. It is unimaginable to think that 50+ bodies will be coming through your doors in a weeks time. So the associates of the funeral home have been working around the clock. We thought it would be really nice to put together a basket full of gift cards along with handwritten notes on how much we appreciate them, love them, and are praying for them. Giftcards included things for them to get away- dinner, movies etc.
We have been so blessed to GUERRILLA LOVE people this week. How are you going to love ambush someone this week?!
“We have been here for you in the good times. Thank you for being here for us now.” This has become the new town slogan. We have seen this on several electronic billboards. While this city has come together in an incredible way over this horrific act- as Christians we know that what this city really needs is total transformation.
So many times throughout Jesus life, he spent time with unexpected people. If He were here today, Las Vegas would probably be a place he would come. After all, healthy people don’t need a doctor.
Jesus heart is broken for Las Vegas. Is yours? Is mine? Those are some extremely alarming statistics. From what we have seen thus far, Verve Church is ALL IN to reach people who are far from God. The word compassion in the original Greek language is SPLAGNA. In Matthew 9:36, Jesus has compassion on them because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. We need to have some splagna for Las Vegas. When we hear these statistics, we should be on our knees. Here is our challenge! Las Vegas is the third most recognizable brand in the world behind Coke and Google. Whenever we hear the word Las Vegas- PRAY! Feel that splagna deep in your gut and move to action!
A few items we have done to come alongside Verve this week are:
Invitation Cards– this is a neat experience.
The way Verve tries to reach people is through postcards delivered in neighborhoods, to local shops etc. Our team passed out 3000-4000 cards this week! We all hopped in the van on 3 seperate occasions and went out to reach the neighborhoods. We had such positive response from this postcard. This one is a bit different than usual- it is focused on a VegasStrong vs the usual- “A church people who don’t like church.” A few of us replaced the cards we already saw on the doors or cars…. while 1/2 half off a haircut is a good deal- life in eternity is a much better deal ❤️
Building projects / Set up and tear down – Verve Church does an excellent job with their facility, but it was absolutely our pleasure to go in and release some of the volunteers from their normal duties. They had several programs This week – a 5/6 lock in, a support group help minister to the grieving, bible studies etc. We cleaned and organized their kitchen area, vacuumed, folded laundry, It felt so great to help their volunteers!