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From one man He made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. - Acts 17:26
“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” - Galatians 3:28
Sometimes, social media, talk radio, and 24-hour news channels convince us that unbreachable differences divide our community. However, as the verses above explain, a body of Christians should be a unified body. Nashville Christian School aspires to be a place where students of any race, any ethnicity, any socio-economic background, and any learning style feel welcome and included. To that end, the administration formed the Diversity Team, a group of teachers pulled from each school, athletics, and fine arts. This committee’s early efforts included brainstorming a vision for our school and writing a biblically grounded mission statement.* In addition, this year they have begun to study texts about cultural competency, gather curricular resources, attend workshops, and look for speakers who bring messages that celebrate a variety of cultures and histories.
For example, September 15 through October 15 was Hispanic Heritage Month. The committee provided teachers with curricular resources as well as encouraging teachers to think of their own ways to celebrate Hispanic heritage in their classrooms. Spanish students studied the role of oxcarts in Costa Rican culture, where families utilized the carts to transport goods but also vividly painted them to represent their culture. Students then created their own oxcarts and decorated them in ways that highlighted their own family traditions. In English class, high school students studied poetry by Francisco X. Alarcón, and some wrote their own pieces of poetry. In the elementary school, first graders listened to a story read to them in Spanish by special guest reader Mr. Danny Coradazzi.
Our recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month is just the start. In the coming months, the committee hopes to help our campus become a place of celebration as we acknowledge the diversity that enriches our country. We want our campus to become a place of awareness as we consider the ways that God makes us different but also makes each of us a precious and valuable part of His family. We want students, teachers, and staff to embody unity in Christ and treat each other with love, grace, and compassion. If you are aware of any resources, workshops, books, speakers, or programs that can assist the committee, please feel welcome to reach out and share that information.
*Mission Statement: The Diversity Committee of Nashville Christian School commits to creating inclusive spaces for students of any race/ethnicity, of any social class, and with any learning needs and to equip faculty and staff to be culturally competent. The vision of the committee is that teachers, regardless of their background, will bring cultural understanding and self-awareness to their work in order to help students develop attitudes that bridge cultural differences and grow an appreciation for multiple cultural perspectives.
Every year, high school students from Nashville Christian School are given the opportunity to participate in a mission trip to New York City through the Center for Student Missions. This past June, a group of 22 students and teachers spent eight days embedded in the culture and diversity that New York City offers. It was truly a life-changing opportunity, and during the trip a very authentic, gut-wrenching experience took place.
The group was serving in East New York at a community farm. As they were eating lunch, a discussion came up about how much we take for granted in America. One of our seniors, Mente Rudolph, began to share his experiences in Ethiopia. Mente is at Nashville Christian School because he was adopted from Ethiopia by a local family. He shared that he and his family received one meal a day in Ethiopia and that they were extremely grateful. All of the students were impacted by what Mente shared and began to brainstorm about ways to help. Student Government Vice President Tanner Goodman and National Honor Society Treasurer Sydney Cantrell challenged the group to think outside of the box.
In the end, the chaperones and other mission team members made a decision to challenge the entire NCS student body to help feed children in Ethiopia. This project is designed to take the small change that we consider trivial, and use it to feed hundreds of children in Ethiopia. We collect change and small bills each Friday to contribute to this cause. It takes $250 to feed 100 children, and so far we have collected $2,103.87! Ordinary Hero sent this special thank you video which we hope brings home the impact of your donations.
We are asking each student to give one dollar every Friday through the rest of the school year. You can send in small change or donations with your student, give donations to Leslie Dahl at the front desk, or catch one of us in the traffic line. If you would like to know more about Ordinary Hero, click here.
November is typically thought of as a month dedicated to giving thanks, but NCS students took that a step further and made November a month of giving back.
After a beautiful Praise and Thanksgiving service together, all NCS families K-12 shared a meal together. As usual with Thanksgiving, there were lots of leftovers. The National Honor Society arranged to have “to go” boxes ready, and students and staff immediately set about packing up the leftovers into individual meals. Coach McPherson then drove some of our high school students through the streets of downtown Nashville, looking to give those meals away to the homeless. We estimate that over 400 lives were touched by smiles, hot food, biblical messages and sweet tea that day.
The Nashville Christian Service Club also encouraged everyone to give back by organizing a schoolwide can drive in November. Elementary students lined the halls with their food donations, middle school students held a house competition to see which house could bring in the most donations, and high school students stacked up some of their cans in the shape of a Christmas tree. When it was all said and done, we took 2,695 pounds of food to The Ark in Pegram, TN where it will be distributed to those in need. This was the largest private donation they have ever received!
Service is a staple at Nashville Christian School and a great catalyst for equipping our students to become global leaders! Go Eagles!
On Saturday, November 12th, the NCS Men of Faith put their hands to work on a couple of needs around the NCS campus. The men were able to give the Main Gym some much-needed attention by cleaning the basketball goals, floors, and bleacher area. Though middle Tennessee experienced the first hard freeze of the season, the men braved the cold, cleaning up the sidelines of the football field and putting up the sideline mats. Thinking about getting involved? A December service opportunity is currently in the works! If you are interested in serving with the NCS Men of Faith, come to their next meeting on December 6th at 6:00pm in room HS-16 or contact Brad DiPasquale at email@example.com for more information. Thanks to all the men who have come out to serve!
With bullying, school shootings and teen suicide on the rise, NCS senior Tollie Boone was inspired to create this powerful spoken word and song in response – Only Yesterday.
"When I started writing this, it was just a short little poem that I really thought nothing about. It was just something to get off my brain to help me fall asleep. After I finished writing, I realized that this world isn’t as safe as it was when I was younger. I used to be able to go outside and not have to worry if someone was going to hurt me. Now in today’s society, we have to increase security and make rules more strict. Keeping people out only invites more problems in. The only way we can help someone is if we ask. We can’t keep ignoring one another thinking that one day we will say something to them. That 'one day' we have now might not always be there. Galatians 6:10 says, 'Therefore, as we have the opportunity, let us do good to all people…'"
Last week, the entire campus has been participating in Spiritual Emphasis Week. Our theme verse was Luke 6:45 which says: "A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of." Through this verse we explored what it looks like to speak with good purpose, as well as how what is stored up in our hearts is what we reflect in our speech.
We had activities each morning including small groups, older students teaching lessons to younger students, special speakers, and a special campus-wide quiet time. On Monday evening, parents and staff gathered for a prayer walk and covered the campus and Nashville Christian students in prayer. After the prayer walk, Dr. Walter Surdacki from Lipscomb University joined us to talk about technology and social media usage, the dangers and opportunities presented to our students, and how that relates to our faith.
On Thursday morning, we had an all school chapel time in the gym to hear an inspirational message from Chris Nichols from Crosspoint church. On Friday evening, high school students finished the week by heading off to the Spring Spiritual Retreat. It was a great week of coming together to teach and learn and study God’s word as well as spending time alone reflecting on our theme. To get a student perspective, read junior Dominic Stephens' article about Spiritual Emphasis Week here.
The Praise and Thanksgiving service was once again a special time for the Nashville Christian family to worship and share a meal together.
After a short morning of classes, students, parents, staff and friends dropped off their delicious dishes and gathered in the gym for a special program. The first graders were dressed in their newly-designed handprint turkey shirts for their reading of Psalm 100. We also enjoyed performances by the NCS Entertainers and the Middle School Chorus.
Our special speaker this year was a new Nashville Christian parent, Dennis Ferrier. Mr. Ferrier is a reporter with Nashville’s Fox 17 and has won multiple prestigious awards for his investigative work. He told us the story of Black Hawk pilot, Michael Durant, and his hero, Gary Gordon. Gary Gordon knew from the age of 10 that he wanted to be a military hero and set out to research how to do it. Mr. Ferrier encouraged everyone, even the very youngest Eagles, to make their own mission statement and to ask for guidance and help from the Lord as we set about serving Him.
After some final words and a prayer, everyone headed for the tables full of Thanksgiving favorites – turkey, ham, dressing, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie, and so much more. Following the feast, the leftovers were packed up by a group of students and staff and taken to the homeless. It was a wonderful day of reflecting, expressing thanks and serving others. Here are some photos from the day:
The 7th and 8th graders had a fantastic time at the spiritual retreat this fall. We were excited to have Coach Kayce Green and her husband Josh lead the worship songs. Jordan Davis, student minister at Church of the Hills, and Chandler White, a senior here at NCS, were our featured speakers and Scott Huddleston, youth minister at Western Hills, also joined in on the fun. The theme was friendship and choosing good relationships that help to glorify God. There was some quiet, reflection time set aside to focus on these friendships.
Of course fall retreats also mean fun! Prior to the rain moving in, there were lots of games including dodgeball, kickball, volleyball, and an all-time favorite, human foosball. When they moved indoors, the students had a blast playing “over the mountain” which gave the adults a big laugh.
Many friendships were strengthened over the retreat while our students spent time growing closer to God. A big thank you to Landry Smith, our campus minister, and our middle school faculty and staff for making this event possible. We also appreciate our parents for sharing your child with us this weekend!
On Monday, October 9th, several of our English students had the privilege of watching a powerful performance of Stand, a new play by Jim Reyland that brings a new perspective to homelessness. Stand has only two characters: Mark, a salesman, and Johnny, a homeless man struggling from years of drug addiction. It is a true story based on Reyland’s relationship with John Robert Ellis, a homeless man he befriended and tried to help for nearly a decade before Ellis was killed by a hit-and-run driver in 2011.
The show is part of TPAC’s Humanities Outreach in Tennessee and ticket sales benefit Room in the Inn, a Tennessee organization that offers emergency services, transitional programs, and long-term solutions to help people rebuild their lives. The Founding Director of Room in the Inn, Charles Strobel, was in attendance and spoke to our students after the performance and answered their questions. Here’s what some of our students had to say about how they were impacted by Stand.
The thing about the play that was so impactful to me was the realistic portrayal of recovery, showing how it’s more of a two steps forward one step backwards kind of process rather than a straight line constantly going upwards. I liked how the two characters helped each other equally, and the relationship they shared. – Jolie Harper
I like that the man [Mark] stepped out of his normal routine and helped the homeless man. I learned that sometimes we need to step out of our comfort zone and help others. – Hampton Taron
It was super eye-opening as to how we should treat others no matter the circumstances they are in. - Anna Jones
I thought the play was very deep on how you may think you are better than homeless people, but you are really just the same but with more money. And other people who may be homeless don't always have the childhood and conditions it takes to be successful, and they end up that way, all by things they can't control. - Hope McWright
I learned that homelessness isn't easy to get out of. It is not necessarily about being lazy, but about falling into a cycle of hopelessness. Homeless people aren't treated with the same respect as other people are and that was really impactful to me. –Annmarie Alexander
I found the fact that the man took a lot of time to befriend and take care of the homeless man very impactful. I see homeless people people all the time, but this man had the courage to help him on a personal level. – Riley Griffin
Addiction is a serious thing, and its not easy to walk away from as people may think. Also, homelessness is a serious thing that many people ignore, but there are those who recognize it like Mark did. What we don’t realize is that the homeless can help us too. They give us a whole different view of life. – Ben Simpson
The act of helping someone is where the real worth is, not whether or not they've recovered. It's a 'journey is more important than the destination' type situation. – Nate Lewis
This was my second time seeing Stand as I first saw the play on a drama field trip freshman year. I believe that this time I put more thought into the idea that it may not have been Jonny's fault for the situation he was in. I took away that some people may have genetic traits that simply make them more likely to become addicted to substances and that substance abuse may be less of a choice and more of a trap people fall into. – Dominic Stephens
Charles Strobel encouraged students that the best way they can help right now is to support the larger systems which are already in place and change the conversation about the homeless. Room in the Inn currently has 190 congregations in Middle Tennessee that provide food and shelter, a downtown campus, and over 6,500 volunteers. To learn more about how you can help Room in the Inn, go to roomintheinn.org.
We had the incredible privilege of hearing from Tim Shaw at chapel on Wednesday, September 20th. Tim is a former linebacker for the Tennessee Titans and the brother of Nashville Christian’s strength and conditioning coach, Andrew Shaw. He was diagnosed with ALS in 2014 and has been sharing his story and his faith around the country ever since.
Tim spoke to our kindergarten through 12th graders about how each and every one of us is made in the image of God, and that makes us awesome! He also shared one of his favorite verses, Colossians 3:23, which says, “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.” (NKJV) He encouraged everyone to embrace his or her God-given gifts, to be authentic, and to not worry so much what other people think. It is only important that they be pleasing to God.
Lisa McPherson is another member of the NCS family who has been diagnosed with ALS. Lisa is the wife of NCS boys basketball coach, Mike McPherson. Mike and Lisa have made a strong connection with the Shaw family, and they have encouraged one another through their struggles over the past couple of months.
To help raise funds and awareness for the ALS Association, the NCS football team and many other students, staff and family members will join Tim Shaw and participate in the one-mile Walk to Defeat ALS this Saturday, September 23rd at Lipscomb University. To join team Eagles Against ALS, or to make a donation on their behalf, click on the link below.
February 27th through March 23rd was Spiritual Emphasis Week at Nashville Christian School. Elementary students used a theme of SOAR (Seek God, Obey Him, Attitude of Service, Respond to Him). They kicked off the week with a program from SOAR South, an organization who educates about birds of prey by sharing the birds they have rescued and worked to rehabilitate. The students learned about the different attributes the birds were created with that make them unique and able to thrive in the wild.
Throughout the week, middle school and high school Bible classes taught Bible lessons and prepared skits to share with elementary classes. Students also wrote prayer requests and praises on cards posted in the commons area in the high school and in the main hallway of the middle school. Several classes also be made cards to take to a local nursing home.
We had a week filled will special speakers for all students. High school students enjoyed a special chapel with Christian magician Steve Bargatze who shared his magic along with his powerful testimony in one of our most moving chapels to date.
At the end of the week everyone enjoyed a whole-school chapel lead by Jimmy Hampton. Mr. Hampton is a former NCS campus minister. He taught on walking with Jesus and keeping Him as your companion through times of challenge and times of victory.
On Friday afternoon, high school students left for the Spring Spiritual Retreat. The theme of the retreat was “There Is No BC.” Students were encouraged to look at the Bible in a new light, seeing it as one story that is all about God’s redemptive plan through Jesus. There was also time for fun and relaxation with an intense game of Family Feud, a skit competition, and a few brave souls who zip-lined into the icy cold waters of the lake. Here’s what some of them had to say about the retreat:
“The retreat was very fun. I was a big fan of the food. I really enjoyed the amount of free time we got, and I felt the reflection on the last day brought everyone that went a little closer together. I had a really great time and look forward to going next year.” – Kayli Mothershed
I thought the retreat was enlightening. I was happy with how many people opened up in the end and talked out loud to the group. Finally I loved how much more we worshipped God when we were there.” – Charlie White
“My favorite part of the retreat was when Coach Kayce led the singing in the worship part. Also, on the last day when all the seniors got up and spoke was both moving and inspiring.” – Kylee Boen
“The retreat this year was really fun. I think this year we had a more tight-knit group, and it was all around a great time. The message throughout the whole week was really good because I had never thought of the Bible in that way. I really enjoyed the quiet time and how Mrs. Robinson came up with the whole activity we did. I also really enjoyed doing the skits and getting to impersonate the teachers. I also loved getting to play handball with Coach Brothers and Coach McClary and getting to play cards during free time with them and Mr. Morrison. I just loved getting to hang with them and stuff.” – Bobby Clark
“I went on the retreat, and I had a great time. I really enjoyed getting to spend time with friends and with God. My favorite part was the alone time we got to have after each devotional message, it really helped me think about what we had just learned.” – Warren Hanson
Overall it was a great week for spiritual growth at Nashville Christian School! Here are some additional photos from Spiritual Emphasis Week for you to enjoy!
The Christmas season at Nashville Christian School has been full of festivities. Students have been seen from preschool through the 12th grade wearing Christmas pajamas, giving gifts, eating cookies, singing carols, and taking pictures with Santa Claus! But more importantly, our students have remembered the true meaning of Christmas by serving others.
Elementary students have collected Change for Children to be donated to Timothy Hill Ranch to buy presents for at-risk children. They also filled boxes with goodies for Hope for Haiti, collected can tabs for The Ronald McDonald House, collected donations for Children and Adolescents at Vanderbilt Behavioral Health Hospital, and sang Christmas carols to residents at The Meadows retirement home. Middle school students led the charge to provide Christmas stockings for the 200 Angels on the ARK Angel Tree in Pegram, TN.
High school students were rewarded with milk and cookies, dress up days and photos with Santa during morning break for bringing in their Toys for Tots. Class officer Katie Cain said, “I think it went really well! When I went to deliver the toys to a Toys For Tots receiver, they had nothing so far. So it was so nice to see that we were not only helping the kids but helping them. I think it got everyone in the spirit, and everyone loved break.”
It gives us great joy to see our students growing spiritually, evidenced by their heart to serve others during a time when many are thinking of what they want for themselves. We are so grateful for the Nashville Christian family and we wish you a very merry Christmas and a blessed new year!
The High School Spiritual Retreat at Deer Run in Franklin, TN was an incredible opportunity for experiencing a deeper connection with God and stronger relationships with peers and adult mentors. Students selected three activities to do from low-ropes course, high swing, paintball, climbing tower, archery, and leap of faith. Campus Minister Brian Tipps said, “I feel humbled by how open our teenagers were to new experiences and seeking God in a variety of activities and settings while at Deer Run. I am proud of them for how inclusive and supportive they were of each other through the challenges presented to them. I also feel grateful that our school’s leadership and community of parents promote and support these unique spiritual efforts and opportunities for our teens and adults to build stronger relationships with God and each other.”
Here’s what some of our high school students had to say about the Fall Spiritual Retreat:
I thought that the retreat was one of the best ones yet! It was really cool how everyone no matter what grade was able to bond with each other and build one another up. My favorite memory will be all the Seniors sitting around the campfire and getting to spend quality time together as a class. - Elizabeth Mays
As I expected, I had a great time on the retreat. I bonded with people I didn’t know, and I learned a lot about new people. - Noah Schurman
I had a really good time getting to hang out with all my classmates and teachers outside of school. I never regret going on the retreats. - Katie Cain
This retreat really opened my eyes to the true potential of all the people I thought I knew. With relaxation and free time on our side, we were able to make bonds with people that we never even get to talk to during a normal school day. God moves in mysterious ways, and one way He moves (on these retreats) is through others. - Chandler White
The following weekend, our 7th and 8th graders had their Spiritual Retreat at Camp Lake Benson in Bon Aqua, TN. Once again, it proved to be an incredible time to grow spiritually and bond with each other outside of the normal classroom structures and academic pressures. We took the largest group of student campers and adult counselors in five years, so the energy in the group was noticeably at a high level. The focus was on seeking God through different opportunities during time together.
"The middle school students had a great time on the retreat. They loved the human foosball court, scavenger hunts and team-building activities. They were also able to connect with teachers and staff on a spiritual level discussing what it looks like to seek God in their lives. As one kid said, 'The food was good, the games were fun and I hardly slept,' said Middle School Counselor, Melissa King.
Our students were extremely cooperative and engaged in the activities and devotionals alike, which were all designed to engage their hearts, push their thinking, and encourage them to grow in their understanding of themselves in relationship to God. About 20 of our students indicated they had never participated in a retreat, so we are glad this was a fun and positive first experience for them!
Here are some photos from each of these great weekend events:
We recently had the special opportunity to honor teacher Marsha Forehand as she moves into retirement. Mrs. Forehand was so loved by generations of students at NCS for her kind heart, gentle spirit, and love for the Lord. Mrs. Forehand taught at NCS from 1995 - 2016. She served in several capacities including teaching PreKindergarten, 1st grade, 2nd grade, and Leadership/Bible. She impacted children with her passion for reading and the Lord. Her classroom was covered in "stuffed lambs" given to her by years of NCS students because of her commitment to teach them about the "Lamb of God." Here’s what some of our staff and students had to say about Mrs. Marsha Forehand.
"There is nothing more beautiful than someone who goes out of their way to make life beautiful for others. And that’s exactly what Mrs. Forehand does." – Robbie Lewis (Administrative Assistant)
"Mrs. Forehand always has a servant’s heart. She demonstrates the love of Christ in all that she does. Anytime I think of someone as being most Christ-like, I immediately think of her." - Anissa Demonbreun (5th Grade Teacher)
"Mrs. Forehand has such a caring heart. She always wanted to know about what was going on in my life." – Makenna Paszek (11th Grade)
"Ms. Forehand was extremely encouraging and welcoming when I came back to NCS to work. Her frequently written notes always reminded me to go to God first with all things. Ms. Forehand showed love and care with my Kindergartener, and we will never forget the impact she had on our family's beginning at Nashville Christian School." - Lauren Brasel (Elementary Principal)
"Our family is so grateful for the years of devotion she gave to the students and families. She has a unique ability to find in students a way of encouraging each child to feel good about themselves. I will always be grateful for her encouraging spirit." – Martha Faust (LIFE Teacher)
"Marsha Forehand was one of the first teachers I met when I started teaching at NCS. She referred to us as "the Senior Saints." I miss stopping by her room to see her in the mornings.. She is extremely quick-witted and funny." – Fran Sexton (Elementary Art Teacher)
"Mrs. Forehand was a very kind teacher. Even though i was in 2nd grade, I still remember some of the things she taught me. She was one of the only teachers I’ve ever had to apply life lessons in school almost every day. She acted in a Christ-like manner that's for sure no matter what. Mrs. Forehand was one of the best teachers I’ve ever had, and I will never forget about her." – Zach Hamilton (12th Grade)
"Mrs. Forehand was my second grade teacher, and I couldn't have been more thankful for her. While she might've been my teacher in second grade, she still makes appearances in my life today as a Senior. I randomly see her out and about, or just around NCS, and Mrs.Forehand gives me a hug, asks how I'm doing, or simply just says hi and tells me that she misses me. I'm so thankful that Mrs.Forehand has been in my life since second grade!!" – Brittan Jarrell (12th Grade)
"Marsha Forehand is one of the most thoughtful people that I have had the pleasure to know. She has spent the last twenty-one years serving our students and modeling Christ. I had the amazing opportunity to honor her in elementary chapel this past Wednesday. We celebrated Ms. Forehand for her unwavering example of seeking God first, speaking faithfully, and expressing humility in all things. I am grateful for her commitment to Nashville Christian, and I know that our children loved celebrating her! – Connie Jo Shelton
As we wrapped up our lesson on Creation, Kindergarten,1st and 2nd grade collaborated to celebrate God’s creations! We sang songs, prayed and mixed a spiritual trail mix. Each part of the trail mix represented a day during creation:
Oreos - light and dark
Frosted shredded wheat - land and clouds
Pretzel sticks - nature and the trees
Goldfish - fish in the sea
Animal crackers - animals
M&Ms - the colors and the flowers
Yellow M&Ms - sun, moon and stars
Marshmallows - everything else in God's creation
Here are some picture from our lesson!
This year the Elementary Eagles are participating in Small Groups twice a month during the designated Chapel time. From PreK to Fifth grades, the students have been divided into groups of around 12 students. Each teacher hosts the same group each time to foster relationships across grade levels. Today was our first meeting to get to know one another and it has already proven to be a great exercise in leadership for the fifth grade students. They are each paired with a PreK buddy to help during group time. The teachers have preplanned lessons that involve a hands-on activity or demonstration for the group to participate in that aligns with a lesson from the Bible. The groups will share their prayer requests, pray together, and get to know one another.
Doing small groups will be a way to build leadership, develop strong bonds with schoolmates, create a better sense of community, and teachers can build rapport with students in other classes. We are so excited for this new opportunity for our Elementary NCS family to grow spiritually!
NCS Graduate Austin Bishop and rising Seniors Brady Simpson and Andrew Sullivan share about Day Four on the NY Mission Trip!
Austin Bishop - Group One
Today, we began the morning with a devotional, where we were reminded that no matter how tired we may be, we are to not grow weary from being the hands and feet of God as we serve those who need it. First we went to a food pantry in Harlem, where we had the opportunity to assist people in shopping for their food. We had an interesting challenge because of the language barriers between us Nashvillians and the people of Harlem. 98.6 percent of the people spoke Spanish and zero English. Because of this, we had to work together to understand what they wanted in order to help them shop. Next we went to an Arab-American after-school program and had the opportunity to play games with kids and assist them in their homework. All in all, we grew together as a team to accomplish the mission that was set for us.
Brady Simpson and Andrew Sullivan - Group Two
Yesterday we went on a prayer tour. We started in China Town and Little Italy. We then made our way through Grand Central Station, Upper East Side, Harlem, Madison Square Garden, and the 911 Memorial. We were told not to speak but to observe the surroundings. We stopped in parks, under bridges, in the subway station, etc. Our guide would read us facts and statistics about the area. We learned about serious issues that affect God's people...labor trafficking, sex trafficking, poverty, homelessness, conflicts in community, and took a moment to reflect on September 11, 2001. We then took hands and prayed about the issues these areas face everyday. We are grateful to CSM and their focus on prayer. New York City is prayed over every single day of the summer.
NCS Graduates Michael Pope and Hendrick Shelton report on Day Three of the NY Mission Trip!
We started an early day by leaving at 7:45. We went to a church and led a worship where Brady opened the service with prayer followed by Ebby singing songs of praise. Ben, Bobby and I gave testimonies about life struggles and how the scripture has helped us through it. Coach Brothers led the sermon and Katie then prayed for the offering. To end the service, Andrew prayed for all of us.
After that we gave out cans of food to those who attended the service.
Our next stop was Coney Island where we were challenged to go up to random strangers and start conversations with them and ask them questions like how the New York life is, how they were affected by hurricane Sandy, etc. We met some great people and were able to share why we were in NY.
We wrapped up the day by eating Nathan's famous hot dogs and riding Deno's wonder wheel and seeing an amazing view of the beach and city.
Today could be summed up simply by the word: "humbling." We started out our day serving at the World Vision New York Warehouse. Now at first I that this was an optometrist office, but when we arrived I realized that wasn't the case. What's so amazing about this place is that large companies like Target, Costco, and many others donate their surplus supplies. We packed backpacks filled with school supplies that the company would donate to schools and after-school programs. It's a humbling place because at home we don't face the issue of "do I buy school supplies OR food for my kid?" I mean it's a blessing not to have to deal with this problem, and I'm glad that we were able to help 600 families.
The other part of our day was very interesting, in that we got to have a closer look at homelessness through their eyes. Each person was allowed $2 each, and that was all the money we had to pay for four of us and another homeless person. Thanks to the help of $1 slices of pizza we were able to accomplish it, but it was very difficult looking at places I regularly eat, and not being able to have it because all I have is $2. It was a very eye-opening and humbling experience. Stay tuned for more, this is Hendrick Shelton signing off!
Please keep this amazing team in your prayers as they continue to serve!
On day two of the trip, the team divided up to conquer the city, serving in several different capacities. Group One's word of the day was "Good". Mr. Barnett lead our devotional and told everyone to think about and try to see the good in the day ahead. They began their adventurous day by boarding the subway to Queens to begin a prayer tour. They stopped at different locations to pray for the people, the city, the injustices going on throughout the city and so on. A big issue in Queens is human trafficking. At one point in the tour the team was not allowed to talk was asked to imagine what it is like to not have a voice - just like the victims of human trafficking. Next, Group One went to the New York Common Pantry to serve dinner to the homeless and those that are on welfare. This was eye opening because the people were so grateful for whatever they were served.
Group Two began their day of service with a quick devotion led by Coach Brothers. Their word for the day was “Yes!” After taking the subway to Manhattan, they joined Meals on Wheels at the Stanley Isaac Senior Citizen Center and took hot meals to those in need. The kids loved it, even though it included marching up 25 flights of stairs. Wow! Next they went to South Bushwick Reform Church in Brooklyn. They spent time with Reverend Martin and helped him organize the office, including working with him on his finances. The boys on the team did some handiwork throughout the church building.
Everyone finished up this day of service by indulging in a Venezuelan dinner and a devotional back at their home church. What a special way for team members and recent graduate Michael Pope to spend his birthday – serving others and then celebrating with cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery.
It was a great day for our mission team!
Saturday's goal was to spend the day touring the Big Apple! We began the morning in Central Park to enjoy the diversity of this wonderful city. We were able to visit the following spots: the chess and checker house, the "Friends Fountain," Bethesda Fountain, and the statue of Balto.
We headed to the Stanton Island Ferry to see the Statue of Liberty. Our ferry was escorted by the United States Coastguard and we were all reminded of how blessed we are to live in America. What an amazing sight to see Lady Liberty!
Another reminder of this blessing came while we visited the 911 memorial. We were humbled by this beautiful tribute to the lives lost on September 11. We had time to take an audio tour narrated by Robert DeNiro which helped to understand the overwhelming circumstances of the time. Stories of heroism, bravery, strength, and sacrifice allowed us to connect with such a difficult time in our nation's history. God bless the USA!
We ended the night eating the best cheesecake that New York City has to offer! If you ever get the chance to visit, be sure to find Junior's in Times Square.
On Sunday morning, we gathered to worship and share opportunities that we had experienced God on our trip. Mr. Barnett shared a passage from 1st Corinthians 12 that reminded us to celebrate our diversity and allow God to bless us through our differences.
Reflecting on the past couple of days, He has shown is the beauty of diversity within our group and within this city. As we prepare to head to Brooklyn to begin our service, please pray for opportunities for our students to bless others by using their unique gifts.
Today we had a special chapel with Pre-Kindergarten through 12th Grade all together to honor those in the Nashville Christian family who faithfully serve every day “behind the scenes.”
They take care of matters like preparing food for us, cleaning our hallways and restrooms, maintaining the facilities, making copies for teachers and taking on so many other tasks and projects they see need to be done.
Our staff and students are so thankful for the opportunity to show our appreciation for this special group of servants. They are:
As part of Spiritual Emphasis week, our middle and high school students enjoyed hearing the music and powerful testimony of singer-songwriter Megan Moreaux.
Megan was abandoned by her mother at birth and was raised by her drug-dealing father in California. She was often abused by her father’s girlfriend, and found an escape from her traumatic childhood through country music. Though Megan never got involved with drugs herself, she struggled through many abusive relationships and even attempted suicide.
Megan shared that although she was not raised in church and had not heard the gospel, she had an imaginary friend growing up who encouraged her and showed her the right way to live. She now knows that imaginary friend was Jesus who was with her even through her darkest days. Eventually Megan was invited to a Bible study where she came to know Jesus as her Lord and Savior.
Megan now writes inspirational songs of hope, healing and love and shares her testimony with others. Her story really penetrated the hearts of many of our students. Here’s what some of them had to say:
I think that Megan was right when she said that the definition of love is when we help and are interested in everybody, even the ones who hate us. We need to be like Jesus and forgive those who hurt us, just like Megan did with both her parents. She broke the chain to her dad’s lifestyle, because of Jesus in her life. I think that she is a living testimony to why God is real.
A lot of people use the word love all the time, but I understand her explanation of love. It is when you put stuff aside and do something for a person. I'm the kind of person that really doesn't like to talk about struggles and really get into detail about my problems, but hearing her story today makes me want to really open up more, because her just standing up there sharing her story was really brave.
I feel like she was talking just to me. I have been dealing with a negative relationship and have similar emotional stuff to work through. The way she emphasized God’s love being unconditional and how He is always with us really helped me.
I believe Megan’s life story was very inspirational. If she can get through that and commit her life to God, then we can get through whatever we are having trouble with, and commit to Him as well. She turned a life that may not have any upside to a life filled with joy and happiness with the love of God.
Megan’s story kind of shocked me a little when I first heard it. How could a child know to stay away from all the drugs and alcohol that she was so used to seeing? She had to have somebody. So, when she told us that the imaginary friend was Jesus, it all kind of made sense. God is our father, and it definitely showed in the story that she told us. If we did not have Him in our life it would be a mess. No matter where you’re raised, what kind of parents you had, and or where you graduate from college, you need Him. That really stood out to me, and I hope that it did for others.
Megan now has a flourishing singing career and has opened for major acts like ZZ Top, Loretta Lynn, and Martina McBride. She continues to write with some of the industry’s top songwriters and shares her story of hope with others. Thank you Megan for being a part of Spiritual Emphasis Week at Nashville Christian School and encouraging us with your unyielding faith and uplifting words and music.
For more information about Megan, and to hear some of her music, go to www.meganmoreaux.com.