Preparation for Internship Program

Hello, my name is Tyson Kuyper. I am 19 years old and currently live in Jasper, Georgia which is about an hour north of Atlanta. It’s hard for me to believe that I will be leaving so soon for Green Cove Springs to work with TEAMeffort as an intern. TEAMeffort is a youth missions organization that takes youth groups on mission trips around the United States. Working as an intern means that I will be helping with spring break camps, helping to prepare for and serve in summer camps, going on a domestic mission trip, working alongside TEAMeffort staff and learning from the TEAMeffort staff, and community leaders. I am very thankful that TEAMeffort has an internship program that will help grow my faith while helping me discover opportunities for my future. The Bible verse that best describes my hope for this time is Matthew 5:16; “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven”. God is the One who deserves all of our praise and our focus should be on Him. The purpose of serving others is not to make ourselves look good, but to bring those we serve closer to Him. Over the past few weeks, I have been getting ready by packing, praying, being mentored by my uncle, and helping daily at my church. As much I am excited about this opportunity this will be the longest time I will be living without my family, so I am nervous about being on my own. I am glad that I will be on a TEAM that will be there to support and help each other.   

Starting the Internship Program

After months of planning and preparation, it feels great to finally start the internship and have the opportunity to serve those in need. As I start this program, I hope that it helps make me grow both in my faith and in my maturity. I am also happy for the opportunity to work with TEAMeffort. I love mission work and after last summer got canceled it was great to hear about a chance to serve others. While my drive down wasn't very exciting, it was my first time driving through Atlanta. It was also my first time driving to a different state on my own. While I enjoyed controlling the music and where to get lunch, I did miss the road trip atmosphere that driving with my family has. When I arrived at the camp, it was weird knowing that this would be my home for a while. It was nice to meet the other interns and the office staff in person. I am excited to serve alongside everyone for the next 5 months. Thank you to everyone who has helped me get here and to those who have kept me in their prayers. I can't wait to share my experiences and stories with you.

West Virginia Retreat

If you would have told me that I would go from swimming one day to skiing the next, I wouldn't have believed you. But that all changed last week when we went to West Virginia for a couple of days. It was a nice way of taking a break from work before we have campers show up. Growing up in Georgia, when it snows you can sled but that's about it. In West Virginia, not only did the resort make enough snow that you could ski down the mountain, but on our last day at the resort, it actually snowed. I'm not really big on snow or cold weather but it was beautiful. Nights on the trip were used as a time to fellowship and worship. Someone would share a devotion and we would sing some songs. It was nice. After worship, we all sat together laughing and talking. That Saturday we drove back to Florida sharing favorite things about the trip. And while I didn't ski much, I will never forget the time I went to West Virginia with TEAMeffort and the memories we made there.

Preparation for Spring Break

Spring break is on its way, which means we have done a lot of preparation to get ready for campers. We are doing everything from shopping to practicing worship. I am super excited to start working with campers. It will be great to get to know these youth groups and get to pour into them for the week. I am a little nervous to lead a mission site for the first time. But at the same time I am ready to start serving in the community alongside campers. 

At nights I will be on the worship team for chapel. It's been fun to learn music and rehearse alongside some very talented people. I'm also excited to give a message on one of the nights. What's great about the message is it was a fully collaborative project for all the interns. 
My hope for the campers is that they come here and have the time of their life. That they use this week to grow close to Christ and their youth groups. For me, camp was one of the most influential times in my life and I pray it's like that for the campers. Over the past month of being here I have grown a ton. I have grown close to God in a way I never imagined. Through weekly discipleship I have started to find who I am and what I'm meant to do. I couldn't have done any of this without the prayers and support of everyone out there. I am excited to be able to share what I have gotten out of this experience with everyone. I just want to say thank you again to everyone for praying for me. I have changed in ways that I never thought possible until I came here. So thank you again, and have a great day.

Easter Break

After three amazing weeks of spring break camp, I got the chance to go hang out with some family. It was nice being able to sit and talk with family and tell them all about what I had done for the past few months. This was one of the first times I can remember hanging out with my grandma and cousins without my parents. Because of that, I sort of became the favorite. This led to some super cool moments of playing with cousins and even getting to feed some bears (this was at a ranch where they let you do this kind of thing). But honestly, my favorite part was getting to spend Easter with my grandma. Since my dad is a preacher, we don’t really travel around Easter and the last time that I spent Easter with my grandma was 10 years ago when my grandpa had died. It was nice being able to talk about him and what he meant to both of us. I didn’t really notice how much I have changed until my family had pointed it out. For one I have this really cool tan line on my feet from wearing sandals. They also said that they noticed how I have matured both spiritually and emotionally. Because of that, I was able to open up and be honest about what I have planned for my future. Spring break was incredible. Serving alongside teens who have a heart for helping those in need was amazing. One week we were able to go and work with some homeless shelters. Seeing these kids just walk up and start talking to people and asking how they could pray for them was incredible. When it came to the construction aspect, that was challenging. If you have ever met my family, you know that construction is not our strong suit. So, leading a group of teens to build a pump house was a challenge for me. But seeing it be finished and seeing the homeowner’s reaction was worth it. One of the ways that I saw God move was how the kids responded to the chapel messages. It seemed like the kids took what we said to heart. I thank God for three incredible weeks of camp, a great vacation, and a fantastic and rainy drive back.

Mission Trip to North Carolina

We just got back from our mission trip to North Carolina which was an amazing experience. Our team worked on a bunch of different work sites in helping the damages from Hurricane Florence that drastically affected the communities in NC. Going to a new place for missions always gives me insight and a reminder of the need and how it's where you least expect it and how anything is done to help gives the greatest impact! We mainly did drywall work, helped build a wheelchair-accessible ramp, part of a bathroom demo, and some framing which was all newer work for me, so it was a fun learning experience. I think waking up early was the most challenging thing I encountered, but I had a very nice and gentle alarm clock thanks to one of the office staff. Eating cake every night was a definite highlight and the cookout on the way down! My favorite bonding experience would hands down be jamming to worship music while mudding and sanding with everyone! On the day we did the bathroom demo, God was moving in ways we didn’t notice immediately. The removal of the tub was a difficult process that went on four hours, but the tub was only moving a couple of inches. But the project wasn’t the real reason we were sent to this house in God’s eyes, it was the homeowner! 
Ms. Ginger was the sweetest woman, and her heart was so full of love. We noticed that while throwing this beautiful broken-up tile that she had mentioned it was put in by her mom and dad so long ago and we could tell her heart was hurting as it was gone. We three decided to save a piece of the tile and chip it away and put it on a stand for her, and she was beyond grateful, and it brought tears to her eyes. It made me realize that yes, we are on a mission trip to help rebuild homes, but God had a mission of His own all along to reach Ms. Ginger and her heart! This mission trip was fun and always moving and on the go. The internship has prepared me individually to fuel myself so that I can go out and fuel others on the mission field. Someone explained it to me like a bucket and a hose…. there is only so much you pour into others before your bucket runs dry so it's always important to spend alone time with the Lord and fuel your body!

Summer Prep

In two weeks staff training starts and not long after that we start the summer. I am a little nervous about juggling all the responsibilities I will have over the summer. I am also nervous about making sure I spend time with God and not letting being tired get in the way. But I am excited to be able to serve in the community I have been living in since February. With Jacksonville being the smallest camp, I am excited for the chance to build closer relationships with the campers.

This summer I have the honor of staying here at the Jacksonville camp. I am ecstatic about staying here since this is where I have been since the start of the internship, I know it pretty well. I love the area around it and just love the camp in general. We have a lake, a basketball court, and lots of wildlife. I think the best part about staying here is I already have the perfect spot to do my quiet time.
When thinking about how I want to grow this summer and what I want God to show me, one thing that comes to mind is that God shows me what is next for after summer. I have a few ideas of what I want to do but nothing is nailed down. I also hope to learn how to maintain an intimate relationship with God despite being busier than I have been the past couple of weeks.

I am praying that God uses me to impact their lives and give Him all the glory. I also pray that God uses these campers and other staff to make an impact on me and teach me new things as well as grow together as a youth group.

Summer with TEAMeffort Missions

What an incredible summer it has been so far! I have had the opportunity to be a part of 3 different staffs for the summer and each has been very different. The first staff in Jacksonville was the smallest staff and amount of campers I have worked with. My group was so much fun and really made a difference in my homeowner's life. The next week I made my way up to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. I was able to make a quick pit stop at my parent's house which was great just to relax and sleep in a non-camp bed for a night. In Gatlinburg, I had 2 groups who were both amazing. We worked with a super cool ministry helping do some sorting for a thrift store and added onto a trail. One night I lost a game with my group and had to wear a wig as part of leading the game for chapel. Apparently, I looked like Ed Sheeran. After that, I made my way to Copperhill which is where I have been since. It is super exciting to be able to serve in an area close to where I live. I have also been able to share a message on Monday nights and sometimes do some worship. This summer has been both fun as well as hard sometimes. But through all of it, I have relied on God to help bring me through. Thank you for all the prayers for me and those whose lives I touch.

Nearing the End of the Summer

It's hard to believe that the summer is almost over! It feels like I have only been gone for a month when really I have been away since February. These last few weeks have been hard, because I know I'm getting to the end. All of the growth I've had and all the memories I've made will impact my life forever. I've built decks, lead worship, and made lasting relationships with youth groups.

The past couple of weeks have been an eye-opener to me. I have been able to share some of my testimony most weeks during chapel and the past few times, I had some good conversations about how I got to where I am. It's amazing to see campers relate to what I've gone through and be able to help them through it. Its also been fun to learn from the chaperones and hear how they got to where they are. I have been given countless pieces of advice that will help me as I strive towards being a youth minister.

I think one of the things that have helped me this summer is how close I am to my home. Having the opportunity to take a break from camp and go home for a weekend or two has been extremely helpful. It also allowed me to share my experiences with my family and my church. Being able to hear from my family that they have noticed a change in me has been incredible and I hope I can continue to change.

I want to say thank you to everyone for praying for me through this internship. I ask that you keep praying and that you pray for all the campers going to each of the camps this last week. Thank you so memorable!