On Mission in Mexico: Meet Jesse

Jesse is 14 years old and a freshman at Chickasaw High School. He may be the youngest on our team, but he is the oldest of three boys in his family. Jerel is 12, and Jeremiah is 10. Jesse hopes to become a role model for his brothers, “like a superhero” he says, “strong, smart, courageous.” He plans to achieve this by showing them respect and love.

Jesse starts as the small forward on the LOV lions basketball team, and plans to go out for the Chickasaw High School football and baseball teams next year. In school, he enjoys Science, and even admits to watching Animal Planet and Science Channel in his spare time. He likes the creativity involved in making new things and would like to work in a field involving science when he “grows up.”

Jesse has been coming to LOV since he was about 6 years old. Jesse was so young when he started coming to Light of the VIllage, he doesn’t remember his first time at LOV. Jesse was even one of our first kids to start coming from neighboring Gulf Village.

This is Jesse’s first time outside the state of Alabama. Though it was his first time flying (we are currently in Houston), he handled it well! He says only taking off and landing were a little scary. Jesse is excited about building a house for a family in need. He is asking God to help him emotionally, physically, and spiritually to help others this week. Please be in prayer with him for this.

To hear more about Jesse’s journey to Mexico, join us for our annual banquet Night in the Light on March 5 at 6pm at the Fairgrounds. Seats can be reserved here: http://nightinthelight2015.brownpapertickets.com/

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Jesse (age 7) with his youngest brother Jeremiah (age 3) at LOV.

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Jesse working hard at the after school program this semester.

On Mission in Mexico: Meet Justin

Justin is 16 years old and a junior at Vigor High School. He enjoys making people laugh and hopes to, at some point in his life, be a successful comedian. Justin knows all of the lyrics of almost any Taylor Swift song. It’s real. Try him. He’s not entirely sure what he wants to do after he graduates, but he intends to go to college, most likely in state, and would like to try his hand at theater while he’s there.

Justin loves kids, and they LOVE him. Justin was a TeenLeader at Camp Faith in its inaugural summer, and has won TeenLeader of the Week no less than seven times in his Summer Bible Camp “career” of four years. He likes to think, “Nobody be TeenLeading like I TeenLead!”

Justin was about 10 years old when he started coming to Summer Bible Camp Light of the Village. He admits he didn’t like LOV at first because he felt like he didn’t have enough “freedom”…like every child. But he finished the summer because his step-father wanted him to, then began coming to the after school program and Sunday Bible studies. He says Sunday Bible studies were what hooked him. He liked that John’s Bible studies were easy to understand and that he could ask questions.

Justin is most excited about meeting new people and the plane ride. He says He is super excited that we get to help some people and serve God. He’s a little nervous about not being able to understand the Spanish in Texas and Mexico, but he’s not too worried. He says “body language is always available.”

He is praying that everything goes well and that we make it back safely. He is also praying that through this journey, he will become more grateful for everything he has. Will you pray with him?

To hear more about Justin’s journey to Mexico, join us for our annual banquet Night in the Light on March 5 at 6pm at the Fairgrounds. Seats may be reserved here: http://nightinthelight2015.brownpapertickets.com/

Justin, Skylar, and David

Justin in his first summer working at Camp Faith with two of the boys in his group.

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Justin selling candles at last year’s Thanksgiving Eve Meal at LOV.

On Mission in Mexico: Meet Patricia

Patricia is 20 years old and a 2014 graduate of Vigor High School. To know her truly is to love her. She is goofy and fun-loving, while kind and capable. Her friends call her Pony, and her family calls her Red. And while we know that she prefers “Patricia” over any nickname, we enjoy working in the phrase “Pony ain’t no phony!” almost any chance we get!

As a high school student, she was an athlete and a leader, playing basketball for four years while serving in JROTC and becoming the battalion commander her senior year. She’s pretty impressive. We know. And let’s be honest, the girl was born to play basketball. She has hands that were practically made to palm a basketball, and her height doesn’t hurt either. She started college in the fall of 2014 at Bishop State where she is playing basketball while pursing a degree in culinary arts. She has goals of being a chef and serving in the military or perhaps even serving in the military as a chef! Patricia is not only a college freshman with big dreams, but a remarkable mother to her beautiful, highly ticklish six-year old daughter, Natalia.

We have been blessed to have her as a TeenLeader for the last two summers, working with our children at our Summer Bible Camps. But Patricia’s journey at LOV started much earlier. Patricia started coming to Summer Bible Camp at LOV when she was about 12 years old. She has been a regular participant in our Wednesday high school girls’ Bible study and brings her younger sisters and brother to church each Sunday. We are so proud that Patricia is creating such a legacy of service to Christ for her daughter and siblings. Who knows? Ten years from now, one of them may be traveling with us on a mission trip!

Patricia never meets a stranger and is excited about meeting new people on this trip. She says she is excited to visit another state. She, like most, is nervous about the plane ride because it’s her first time flying. Her goals for the trip are to stay focused on what she has to do and remember she is doing this for Christ. She asks that you pray for our safety, that we have a smooth trip there and back, and pray that Jesus will watch over her daughter and keep her in safe hands at all times.

To hear all about Patricia’s journey to Mexico, join us for our annual banquet Night in the Light March 5 at 6pm at the Fairgrounds. Reserve your seats online here: http://nightinthelight2015.brownpapertickets.com/

Patricia and Natalia SBC 2011

Patricia (age 16) and Natalia (age 2) at Summer Bible Camp 2011.

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Patricia being baptized by John on 9/29/2013 at Spring Hill Baptist Church.

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Patricia scoring the first points of her college basketball career at Bishop State.

On Mission in Mexico: Meet Dacino

Meet Dacino. Many of you have probably met Dacino at LOV or Night in the Light. After all, he has been hanging around LOV since he was very little… if he was ever little. Dacino is 22 and has been part of LOV since its very beginning in 2001. He participated in Summer Bible Camps and Sunday Bible studies for years, then, in 2007, became one of seven boys in Mrs. Dolores’s first class of the Light of the Village Christian Academy.

When Cino was 16 he started working his first job at Popeye’s Chicken. At age 17, with the help of LOV, he moved into an apartment in Spanish Fort and began working at Premiere Cinema. His lovable personality made him easily promotable and eventually got him recruited away to the entertainment center at Wind Creek where he now works as the entertainment center lead. All along, we should mention that he has been working Summer Bible Camp, helping at the after school program, attending church regularly at LOV, and generally attending every LOV event possible. He probably wouldn’t admit it, but we know he misses us when his work schedule conflicts with LOV programs.

Dacino is unique to our team because he is the only student who has previously traveled to Mexico with us. Dacino accompanied a team of staff and interns to Juarez, Mexico in May of last year. It is because of his response to what he experienced that we decided that other students could benefit from the same opportunity. Dacino says his biggest takeaway from his journey last year was that, though his life has been hard, there are people out there whose struggle is harder than his. He says he learned that he has “nothing to complain about and to be thankful.” So here we are, less than a year later, returning with six more students, expectant that Christ is going to do something truly transformational in their lives in the next week.

Dacino is excited about going back to Mexico to help people. He says, “the first time, I was nervous, but now I know what I’m going into.” And he asks that you pray for his safety and that God would give him the power to show His love.

To hear all about Dacino’s second journey to Mexico, join us for A Night in the Light on March 5 at 6pm at the Fairgrounds! Reserve your seat here: http://nightinthelight2015.brownpapertickets.com/.

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Dacino (center) around age 10 with his younger brother Marco (left) and older brother Jermichael (right). 

Dacino & Friend, Juarez, Mexico

Dacino with a new little friend in Juarez, Mexico in May last year.

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Dacino (center) after being awarded the Shining Light Award at Night in the Light 2013.

On Mission in Mexico: Meet Johnnie

Some of our regulars at the ministry will read the title of this post and think “Who’s Johnnie?” That’s because he is known around LOV as Bingo. If we had to say what Johnnie is known for (other than his dashing good looks of course) it would have to be that he’s always wearing a goofy smile and that he’s one of the easiest people to get along with EVER!

Johnnie is 16 years old and a sophomore at Vigor High School. He and his twin sister, Johnell, are second to youngest of the family of eight children. They have been coming to LOV since they were about five years old, and have been a part of every Summer Bible Camp since. You could almost call Bingo a “founding member” of LOV. 🙂 This past summer Johnnie got to be a part of something very special at LOV. He helped us open a new camp, Camp Hope, in south Prichard. Johnnie was chosen from a pool of around 50 applicants to be among the first group of TeenLeaders to work our third camp. He worked with a group of about 20 boys ages 8-10 every day (not an easy task, mind you), and truly came to develop great relationships with the boys in his group and his college intern, Austin.

His favorite thing to do (at LOV and otherwise) is play basketball.  He typically plays power forward (for all of our basketball fans out there). Bingo has played for the Light of the Village Lions and several city and park leagues over the years, even getting to travel to New Orleans for a tournament last year.

About his upcoming trip to Mexico, he says he is most excited about crossing the border and getting on the plane. And even though “it’s gonna be hard work building that house,” he says he’s “still looking forward to it.” That’s good news, because he’s exactly right; our team has some hard work ahead of them.

He asks that you pray with him that God would use him to help others while he is in Mexico.

To hear all about Johnnie’s journey to Mexico, join us for A Night in the Light on March 5 at 6pm at the Fairgrounds! Reserve your seat here: http://nightinthelight2015.brownpapertickets.com/.

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Johnnie (bottom) with Dolores at LOV around age 8.

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Johnnie working at Camp Hope last summer, age 15.

On Mission in Mexico: Meet Philanesha

Meet Philanesha, better known as Phil Phil. She has been coming to Light of the Village since she was about 7 years old. She is now 17 and getting ready to graduate from Vigor High School in May! She plans to attend Faulkner State in the fall and live on campus in Bay Minette. After completing her first two years there, she will transfer to a university where she can study psychology. (We think she’d make a wonderful child psychologist, but we’re just sayin’!)

Phil has been involved in most every aspect of LOV at one time or another. It’s pretty impressive, really! During her 6th and 7th grade years, she was a student in the LOV Christian Academy. She has attended or worked EVERY Summer Bible Camp Light of the Village has ever hosted! That’s 10 years of Summer Bible Camps! Now, she stays connected throughout the school year as a TeenLeader, making candles to raise funds for this mission trip to Mexico, attending our Wednesday high school girls’ Bible study, and helping at the after school program.

Philanesha is the oldest of four, soon to be five, girls in her family! So she has lots of experience with babysitting! At Vigor, Phil had the opportunity to take cooking and drawing classes and through these classes found that she really enjoys both of these hobbies! As if her days weren’t full enough with volunteering at LOV and babysitting, she is also playing varsity softball for Vigor this year. Go Lady Wolves!

As with most of our team members, Phil has never been on a plane. (We are in for a real treat!) So naturally, she says she is most nervous about getting on a plane for the first time. The farthest Phil has ever traveled is to Atlanta, GA (by car, of course), and she is excited to go and see what Mexico looks like and to see the mountains. And we can’t say we blame her!

She asks that you pray specifically that she will be able to complete her assigned tasks and persevere in the hard work that is ahead of her in Mexico.

To hear all about Philanesha’s journey to Mexico, join us for A Night in the Light on March 5 at 6pm at the Fairgrounds! Reserve your seat here: http://nightinthelight2015.brownpapertickets.com/.

IMG_1868       Philanesha

Philanesha around age 7 or 8.                                                           Phil last year as a high school Junior.
Taken at LOV.                                                                                            Taken at LOV.    

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