Tag Archives: mission

Our Week in Eureka Springs

2016 High School Mission Trip

“To do a common thing uncommonly well brings success.” -Jesus

Okay, let me clarify this quote isn’t actually from Jesus. In fact, I bet you won’t find it anywhere in Scripture. This quote was shared with us by Ketchup Ken, one of two men (Ken and Joe) whom we worked with directly at our mission site.  Two men we affectionately referred to (at least among ourselves) as the Jesi.

Right now you might be asking yourself what about the setup to this mission trip blog sounds common? And why were our youth referring to the two guys at our mission site as Jesus?

Well, you are right that this mission trip was the opposite of common. For starters, when I think of youth mission trips I usually think of doing repairs on an underprivileged person’s home or place of living, or natural disaster recovery work like “Mission on the Bay,” or something in that vein. This was not the case in Eureka Springs, AK.

When we arrived, TEAMeffort told us that Eureka Springs is organized different than all of their other locations. Eureka Springs is an economically poor area, however it is also uniquely a tourist area in the summer. Most people in Eureka and the surrounding towns have a hard time finding full-time work year round. In the summer during the tourist season people can find jobs in the small shops downtown, at the area caves, and at one of their biggest employers and sources of income in the area, a not-for-profit organization called the Great Passion Play.

TEAMeffort prayed about how they could be most effective at serving the people of this area and found that as a construction-based mission organization that operates in the area 10 weeks out of the year, the biggest impact they could have is to partner with other ministries who serve the area year round to help them be as effective in their ministries as possible by doing work on their facilities and grounds, freeing them to be able to focus on other tasks of the ministry.

rakingOur group was assigned to work at The Great Passion Play. The Great Passion Play is “America’s #1 Attended Outdoor Drama” with seating for 4100 people in an outdoor amphitheater. The multi-level set, special lighting and sound effects, live animals, and a cast of 150 Biblically-costumed actors come together to create the epic drama of Jesus Christ’s last days on earth. The play is not the only on-site attraction on the 167 acre park though, there is the Christ of the Ozarks statue, the Holy Land Tour, Moses Tabernacle in the Wilderness, a section of the Berlin Wall, the Church in the Grove, the Bible Museum (the second largest collection of Bibles in the U.S.), the History Museum, and the Sacred Arts Museum are also on the grounds.  This is where our team, along with our TEAMeffort leader Cali, got the chance to meet the people maintenancewe would be serving for the week – Ken and Joe, the “Jesi.”  Ken and Joe are really the heart and soul behind the ministry at The Passion Play.  They do everything from strategic planning to construction work and marketing, not to mention they both play the role of Jesus in different areas of the park as well as in the play. So they both have an uncanny resemblance to what we typically think our Savior looks like. They also represent Jesus in their love for his people and in their desire to use this place to help people experience Jesus’ life death, and Resurrection and bring people back to God.

concreteWe had various tasks from watering the flowers (which takes 3-4 hours a day), construction work, roofing an area in the market place, painting, lots and lots of painting, weeding/deforesting an area for a future Noah’s Ark petting zoo, cutting down trees, extracting boulders, and building a 3 mile walking path through the woods to the sea of Galilee (which is going to be dedicated to Rejoice). We did a ton of work even though many of things we did just seemed ordinary in and of themselves. Such as watering the flowers and painting garbage cans. However, our youth worked extremely well together and accomplished a lot. I shouldn’t leave out we also had a lot of fun in small-group, caving, zip-lining, playing volleyball, and dizzy flash bangs.


passion playAt the end of our last day of service they asked us if we would like to be extras in the play and 14 of us took them up on the offer – what an amazing experience! We were able to see what our efforts all week went toward.  We had the privilege of being a part the cast who are a dedicated group of Christians from all walks of life who come together 150+ strong 4-5 nights per week to share the gospel with everyone in attendance, and to share Christ’s love with everyone they interact with. The lady we partnered with as an extra just arrived back in town that morning from Berlin, as she works as an international flight attendant but takes time to do this as her ministry whenever she is home.  When all was said and done at the end of our last night, Joe and Ken took pictures with us and Ken left us with the opening quote “To do a common thing uncommonly well brings success.”- Henry John Heinz.

Ken said when he was 16 years old he read that quote at youth group on the back of a Heinz ketchup bottle and it changed his life. It is what inspires him to approach all of the various tasks and challenges at the Great Passion play with an uncommon passion and zest. He told us that all of the tasks we performed this week no matter how common they might have seemed were done uncommonly well by our youth! I couldn’t agree more. I couldn’t be more proud of the work effort that our youth put forth in the 100 degree plus heat each day. In the end I think each one of us would say that we were blessed to be a blessing to such a wonderful group of Christ followers who are on a mission to share Chris’s love with the world. No, Ken and Joe aren’t Jesus, but we sure saw a lot of Christ in them!

Mike Willis
Rejoice Youth Minister

Help Local Moms in Need

Movers for MomsAgain this year Rejoice is honored to partner with Two Men And A Truck in their annual Movers For Moms Project, where we will be a collection site for donations of care package items which will be delivered to mothers in need at Lazarus House  in St. Charles and Mutual Ground in Aurora on Mother’s Day to help them create a better life for themselves and their families.  Items can be dropped off here at Rejoice any time between now and Sunday, May 3rd – read on for a list of donation suggestions:

  • Manicure supplies
  • Tweezers
  • Make-up and items such as brushes, remover
  • Cotton pads/squares
  • Women’s/children’s socks
  • Underwear (l/xl)
  • Sweatpants/sweatshirts (l/xl)
  • Gift cards – fast food, grocery stores, gas cards, bus passes
  • Hats
  • Gloves
  • Scarves
  • Shelter items, such as – cleaning supplies, Lysol wipes, toilet paper, Kleenex, paper plates, garbage bags
  • Non-perishable pantry items, such as – snack/cereal bars, cereal, fruit snacks, pasta

Mission on the Bay 2014 Info Meeting

Rejoice returns to the Gulf Coast this fall to serve and we want to invite anybody who is interested in learning more about this life-changing trip to join us for an informational meeting on Monday, July 21st at 7PM here at Rejoice.  We will be serving two organizations:  helping a local veteran through East St. Tammany Parish Habitat for Humanity, and feeding the hungry through Loaves & Fishes in Biloxi, MS.  Trip dates are Oct 19-26, 2014.  Click here for more information and fundraising activities for this mission trip.

Love Project 2013 North Carolina

June 22-30, 2013

Join us this summer for theLOVEproject2013 – North Carolina!  We will travel to Topsail Beach, NC working with a group called TEAMeffort for a week of serving low-income people through rebuilding projects.  TEAMeffort is a non-profit, inter-denominational Christian youth mission organization dedicated to providing opportunities for both youth and adult leaders to reach out to others through Christian service and live out a passion for God, in the context of “putting our faith into action.”

Through TEAMeffort’s partnership with WARM (Wilmington Area Rebuilding Ministry), we will be working on home repair projects. Our mission will be to rebuild homes and restore hope for our low-income individuals and families, many of whom are elderly or disabled. Our work will allow them to live safely and independently in their own home. The work may include building wheelchair ramps, repairing siding and flooring, building or repairing decks and roofs.

We will be staying at the Salt & Light Christian Center which is equipped with dorm-style sleeping facilities and on-site showers, dining area, Chapel, and recreation facilities.  Nearby beaches will be enjoyed for cook-outs, worship and recreation. All meals are provided except two lunches and two dinners during free times.

Rebuilding Together Aurora Spring 2013

April 26-27th 2013

Rebuilding Together Aurora

This year RTA will perform a first Community Block Build, focusing on Aurora’s Pattersonville neighborhood. Would you like to help rebuild safe and healthy homes for your neighbors?

Although Rejoice will not be managing a team this year we know that several of you would like to participate in the 20th Anniversary April Rebuilding Event on April 26-27th and RTA is looking for helpers!

General Event Day Volunteers carry out repairs and provides general labor for landscaping, painting or other projects during the Community Block Build, under the instruction of Rebuilding Together Aurora Captains. Activities vary, but no advanced skill is required. For 2013, General Event Day Volunteers can participate on April 26 (Friday) or April 27 (Saturday), or both days if they would like.

Hospitality Volunteers assist in taking care of all Rebuilding Together Aurora’s volunteers with:

  • Event registration (checking in volunteers and passing out t-shirts)
  • Pick up of lunches
  • Distribution of lunches
  • Overseeing tents (first aid, registration, hospitality, etc.)
  • Assist in clean up at the close of a build day

Volunteer and register online now and RTA will group all Rejoice volunteers in the same work teams.   Click here to access the online sign-up form and make sure that you select Rejoice Lutheran Church in the affiliations section.  All volunteers must be at least 14 years old. If under the age of 18, a parental or guardian must be present and a permission slip must be signed.

Rebuilding Together Aurora is a safe and healthy housing organization that provides low-income homeowners in Aurora, Illinois with critical home repairs, home safety modifications, and energy efficiency upgrades.  For more information, click here.


Spring Blood Drive at Rejoice

Did you know?

  • Every 3 seconds someone needs blood.
  • You can donate blood every 56 days.
  • Blood cells are produced inside the bone marrow, at a rate of 4 to 5 billion an hour.
  • Blood donated to Heartland Blood Centers is provided to hospitals in Illinois and Indiana.
  • Type O negative is the universal donor and can give blood to any other blood type.
  • Blood makes up about eight percent of a person’s body weight.
  • Blood is needed every minute of EVERY day, summer, winter, spring and fall.
  • Donating one unit of blood can help save the lives of at least three people.


Save the Date. If you have an hour to spare, stop on by and donate a pint of lifesaving blood!  Rejoice’s spring blood drive is on Monday, April 1st from 3:30-7:30 PM right here in the lower level.

Serve at Feed My Starving Children

feed my starving children

Join a Rejoice Team that will work at Feed My Starving Children on dd/mm/yyyy.  Register your participation now, enter a group name of ‘Rejoice Geneva‘.  Alternatively, if you our group schedule doesn’t  fit yours, you can register as an individual and pick the date(s) that you’d like to serve.

Feed My Starving Children is a non-profit Christian organization committed to feeding God’s children hungry in body and spirit. The approach is simple: children and adults hand-pack meals specifically formulated for malnourished children, and we ship the meals to nearly 70 countries around the world.

Rejoice supports FMSC with all-ages volunteer teams.