Tag Archives: Hillcrest Children’s Home

Be Present, Love Freely – The 2016 Hillcrest Trip Report

2016 Hillcrest team(Special thanks to Hillary Coffman for this report.)

As a team, we set foot on the Hillcrest campus knowing that our mission for the week was to Be Present and Love Freely. Both are counter cultural ideas that look simple when printed, but begin to grow vastly more complicated when you try to live them out. We had an idea of what we would be doing, but also knew that everything could change, “Blessed are the flexible for they shall not break.”

From the start we were given the amazing opportunity to eat lunch with kids in their homes, an honor given to few groups. We ate together, laughed together, played games together, and were immediately confronted with what it looks like to Be Present and Love Freely. These amazing kids wanted very little from us. All they wanted was our attention and love. Each day we spent time with a different cottage and each day we fell in love with a new set of kids. We took them to the water park and nodded “yes” when asked, “Can we ride that one again?” even though we’d already ridden that particular ride 5 times in a row. “I’ll watch you from here” just didn’t seem to cut it. So we all fastened our seatbelts and screamed our way through round 6 because on that day, that’s what it meant to Be Present and Love Freely.

Other days we had our 7 girls ready for Princess Training where we talked about what it meant to be a daughter of the One True King. As a team, we’d seen these girls and wanted them to be reminded of how God sees them, and how we see them. On our last day of Princess Training we wrote all of their names on pieces of paper and passed them around our team adding words like: Loved, Cherished, Beautiful, Funny, and Joyful. We wrote little notes and verses specific to each girl. At the crowning ceremony, because what Princess Training would be complete without a crowning ceremony, we invited each girl to come up individually. We called them by name put a crown on their head and read the words out loud over each girl. We then asked the girls to add words for each other. They were quick to shout words like: Brave, Nice, Fun, and Helpful. Each girl beamed as she received praise and affirmation from our team, and her friends. I wish I were able to better describe how beautiful it was to watch the uncomfortable smiles become genuine 100-watt, toothy grins.

In the blink of an eye it was the end of the week and we weren’t ready to go. We were just getting started. As a team, we would connect each night before bed and talk about the day. We would laugh about things that kids said, we would share special moments with special kids, and we would cry for our new friends. We don’t know their life stories, but we know that something brought them to Hillcrest and that something was more than likely traumatic. After having dinner with the maternity home and spending time with a sweet 14 year old and her 4 week old baby, we prayed together, because our hearts were broken for her. We prayed together because God brought her to this place where she hears about Jesus and is loved by amazing cottage parents who told us, “It’s not hard. What we do isn’t hard. Someone has to do it, and God asked us.”

We spent our last night praying for kids and their parents wherever they may be. We struggled through the realization that God really does have a plan and His plan is best, even if we don’t understand it. When all we can see is an amazing kid so deserving of love and can’t imagine why their parents would give that up. We were present and we loved freely and that made leaving feel impossible. In the end, those kids will forget our names. They will forget how old they were when they met us. They will forget how many times we rode the Arkansas Twister with them. They won’t remember us, but they will remember God in us. They will remember that there was a group of people that loved them honestly and immediately. They will remember the group that gave them crowns and told them they were enough and in the end, that’s what matters. We will remember them though. We will treasure the time we spent with those kids, and pray for them regularly.

In the week since our return I have been struck by how different life is when your goal is to Be Present and Love Freely. My day to day interactions feel different and I don’t want to lose that. I don’t want to forget what God did in Hillcrest. God’s movement on the trip was evident from start to finish. From bonding us as a team, to bonding with the kids. We saw God on that campus and it was beautiful. I remember sitting on the porch in a rocking chair knowing that we were leaving and our theme words and verse kept rolling through my head.

Be Present. Love Freely.

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

These words still rock through my head. If I’m not present, I can’t know the needs of those around me. If I don’t love, it all means nothing. Those wonderful kids at Hillcrest affected me more than I affected them, as is usually the case on mission’s trips. They planted those words deep in my heart. Wherever you are, whoever you’re with, Be Present Love Freely.

Team Heading to Hillcrest Children’s Home

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A seven- member team from Timberline Church will be leaving on June 26 and headed to the Hillcrest Children’s Home in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Over the next 7 days, they will be working with the elementary girls and going through Princess Training, a curriculum written by one of the team members. Princess Training teaches girls that as God’s children, we are Princesses of the King and God cares so deeply about what is in our hearts and not what we wear. He gives us our value and worth, and we should know what He has to say about us. The team is also excited to share meals with each of the cottages, take kids to the water park and paint the therapy room. To top the week off, they will be hosting Hillcrest Got Talent and give all the kids there a chance to showcase what they can do.

While they are gone, please pray for team unity, for all the girls that participate in Princess Training to feel encouraged and loved, for God to use the team to make the kids and cottage parents feel known and loved. Their theme for the week is to Be Present and Love Freely. Pray for God’s strength and encouragement as they do just that.

Introducing Timberline Ambassador Abby Stewart

Abby

Abby Stewart has attended Timberline for ten years with her family. After graduating from high school last year, she’s been working two jobs and seeking God’s direction. While she’s been a Christian most of her life, the past two years were filled with some serious health problems that opened her eyes to the world and as God spoke to her heart, she discovered what it really means to be a Christian.

During last year’s short-term missions trip to Hillcrest Children’s Home in Hot Springs, Arkansas, Abby began to feel God pulling on her heart and by the end of the trip, she did not want to leave. After investigating whether it was possible to return and serve by herself, Abby will be leaving on May 31st to return to the Hillcrest Children’s Home. Over the next six weeks, she will be working with the kids and staff there as well as helping with visiting missions teams, including one from Timberline Church.

Her main goal in this journey is to learn. As Abby shares, “I want to learn the hearts of the staff members but also the kids. I want to see how God uses me. I want to be able to speak into lives and not just talking but being present in lives out there.  My main goal is to fall so hard in love with the Lord and I want my actions to show how much I adore the Lord! People usually ask “why Arkansas?” Well, why not? I don’t just love the campus but I love walking out the airport doors and feeling the humidity and knowing this is where God has placed me for a reason.” She is looking forward to this trip because of growing together with those she already knows as well as the opportunity to meet new people.

While she is gone, please pray for Abby because this is the first time she’s been away from home this long. Pray that her health stays in good condition and that God would confirm His will while she’s there.  Also pray for strength, wisdom, and confidence. As Abby shares, “My biggest challenge is going to be the fact I will have to be strong for myself and for the people on the campus. I’m an emotional person so that’s going to be a big challenge is that I will be facing more adverse situations than I have before.”

Sweet Memories in Hot Springs – The 2015 Hillcrest Trip Report

Hillcrest team 2015

Once again, the Timberline Church trip to the Hillcrest Children’s Home in Hot Springs, Arkansas was filled with special moments that turned into sweet memories. The team’s theme verse this year was from John 15:4 to “abide in the Lord” and they discovered practical ways to stay connected to God while busy serving others.

After painting one of the cottage parents’ apartments in the morning, the team planned afternoon and evening activities with the kids and the young adults. The team’s favorite memory from the trip was their annual talent show. This year the team did several skits together and also participated in skits with the kids.

Travelers-Little-Rock

One of the many memories they treasured was the minor league baseball game in Little Rock where they took the entire campus to see the Travelers play. They were treated to an awesome fireworks display and had a cook out with hot dogs, hamburgers, chips and soda.

They also spent two afternoons with the younger kids and their cottage parents at the local amusement park. The kids chose whether they wanted to go to the water or rides side of the park. Then the team members joined up with the kids to go on the rides while the cottages parents got to relax and enjoy some time for themselves. Team member Abby Stewart said, “It was amazing to watch the parents relax and not have to worry and chase down their kids.”

crystal-falls

More ending thoughts from some of the team members: “It was a great experience and I look forward to going again next year.” – Evan Vaughn

“I really like going on the trip because I get to see all the kids and I love seeing how much progress the kids have made in the past year or so.” –Sadie Orphan

Team Heading to Hillcrest Children’s Home

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A 13-member team is leaving on the morning of June 28th and heading to Hot Springs, Arkansas. They will be gone for 6 days as they paint the therapy rooms in the basement of the office building. They will also be interacting with the kids at Hillcrest Children’s Home by playing games, being present, taking them to an amusement park, a ball game and much more.

While they’re gone, please pray for safe travels, good weather, and opportunities to show God’s love in action.

Spending Themselves – The 2014 Hillcrest Trip Report

2014 Hillcrest painting

“And if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.” ~ Isaiah 58:10 NIV

With this theme verse and mission, the team that traveled to Hot Springs, Arkansas spent themselves completely as they served the children, youth, young adults, and staff at the Hillcrest Children’s Home. Through long days packed with activity, they focused primarily on being present in the lives of approximately forty children who had previously experienced abuse or neglect.

In the mornings, the team pitched in to paint a staff member’s apartment on campus, painted the dining hall, and cleared brush off of the property as part of the preparation for this fall’s 70th Anniversary celebration event. One morning, several of the boys on the team were excused from work to play basketball with the teen boys on campus and continue to build relationships. Their afternoons were spent interacting with the children, often at a nearby water amusement park. Some watched the children care for or ride Belle and Amber. Their evenings were full of more activities and opportunities to build connections including when they treated the entire campus to the annual 4th of July Arkansas Traveler’s ball game and fireworks.

2014 Hillcrest scenery

One night, they went bowling. One young man had never been bowling before and seemed very nervous. A team member gave him pointers like looking at the arrows instead of the pins, then stepped back to watch as the boy knocked down eight on his first try. After a thumb’s up from his cottage dad, his face lit up to know that he had done well. The team later learned the boy had never had a male in his life before coming to Hillcrest.

One new highlight from this trip was organizing the first “Hillcrest’s Got Talent” show. There were 14 different acts including a lot of singing. One girl wrote the lyrics to a song and read it as a poem. A cottage of younger kids played patriotic songs using bells. And one teenager who had been part of a high school marching band’s color guard prior to coming to Hillcrest, presented a swirling flag routine … then attempted to teach the difficult moves to a member of the team amid much laughter. Overall, the event gave the children the opportunity to shine in front of their peers and the success impacted their lives even more than the team had anticipated. The evening’s fun was capped off with the annual all-campus ice cream social.

2014 Hillcrest work

Despite the long hours and numerous mosquito, spider, and chigger bites, the team was blessed to be able to identify times where they had spent themselves serving the kids or other team members as well as spot God’s redemptive work in the lives of the children who call Hillcrest home.

 

Team Leaving For Hillcrest Children’s Home

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A 19-member team (10 youth and 9 adults) from Timberline Church will be leaving for Hot Springs, Arkansas and the Hillcrest Children’s Home on June 29. The theme of their trip is “Spend Yourself” based on Isaiah 58:10 that says: And if you give yourself to the hungry, and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then your light will rise in darkness and your gloom will become like midday.” Over the next seven days, they will be doing light construction projects on campus as well as activities with the children and youth on campus in the afternoons and evenings. The highlight of the trip is attending a minor league baseball game on July 4th with the youth and staff at Hillcrest.

While they are gone, please pray for:

  • Safety/Health in travel and during the trip.
  • Authentic relationships that breathe life into those that they are there to serve.
  • That as a team they have a deeper understanding of what it means to spend ourselves on behalf of others.
  • That the only expectation they have on this trip is that God will show up in ways they could never expect.
  • Courage and Patience for both the youth and adults.