Category: Bus Ministry

On the Prowl: Gold Lions Bus Ministry Update 10/29/10

What?! The Two-Bit… guy is posting again?! Why, yes! I know. I know. I pretty much abandoned this project for a while, and I can’t seem to coerce the other two to post anything.  So I’m posting a quick one just to have something for the October archives. Enjoy!

God blessed the Gold Lions bus with 15 riders last week… that may not be an impressive number for you (or for me), but I’m glad that all the kids that rode the bus last week… rode the bus last week. Ahem. Since I didn’t really have a promotion in mind that day, I decided to treat the kids to a bag of Oreo cookies and their choice of grape or orange soda. Who says I’m cheap when it comes to promotions?

…Actually, I kinda am, because I got me an offering plate, which I’m dubbing it, “the promotion offering.”

Next week, it’s “Beat the Devil” Sunday.  Or as I’m dubbing it, “Let’s Try to Get More Than Fifteen Kids on the Bus This Time, Guys” Sunday. To that end, I’m pulling out all stops and using our church’s bus fund (we get $20 a month for this kinda thing, which I was saving for a special day. I think this calls for it) to have our very own pizza party with soda! I’m hoping Saturday we can sign up a bunch of new kids and maybe encourage some of the ones that have left to come back.

Sunday I am also preaching for the teenage class.  I haven’t really taken the time to explain the current status quo.  After Bro. Robert Graf left to pastor a church, I was approached to be the new group leader… and quickly passed up on it, unless there was no one else who could do it.  And there was.  My friend since the old teen department days, Steve Lemmon, also captain of the Yellow Jackets, is now running the afternoon teen program with his wife Liz.  With the invaluable help of Valerie Green, who plays the keyboard, and Ben Armstrong, who does a contests before the lesson, and the other staples of the SS class, things are going great, and the transition was without consequence.  He is a good fit for this group.

Sunday being Halloween and “Beat the Devil” Sunday, I thought of preaching on the devil, straight from the Bible. At the time of the writing, I’m still trying to come up with a few ideas to “spice up” the presentation of the message. Nothing fancy, but there is this projector that we use, and I do have this flanograph laying around… I don’t know yet.  I’m confident it will come together on Saturday.

So that’s it for now. I’m hoping to get back into the swing of things and update more frequently, but I already envision posting another apology post late in November.  Here’s hoping!!!

Leave your comments in the section below and share with your friends!

~My Two Cents


On the Prowl: Gold Lions Bus Ministry Update 09/30/10

AKA Why I am a member of Trinity Baptist Church, Arlington, TX

First of all, I’d like to apologize for the lack of updates these past two weeks.  I can’t speak for Tim or Phong, but I know I’ve been kinda lazy, followed by extreme moments of busyness, and so I haven’t been able to just sit down and type. Believe me, I have several pre-typed articles that just need to be fine-tuned before they go live. For now, enjoy this late ministry update.

The Lord blessed our bus on the 19th with 23 riders.  On the 26th, we had 34 riders.  Our workers (not so much me) were shooting for at least 47.  You see, we made a little deal that if we hit 47, the bus captain (aka me) would have to shave his eyebrows.  To further sweeten the deal, if we somehow managed to hit 50, I would shave my whole head.  Needless to say, I still comb my hair in the mornings. Continue reading

On the Prowl: Gold Lions Bus Update 09/14/10

God blessed the Gold Lions bus with 35 riders last Sunday, September 12th.  The previous Sunday, we had 34.  These are some interesting days in the Gold Lions bus as some of our kids have dropped off the face of the earth, and thus, we cannot pick them up.  Now that our crew has been fortified again, we hope to be able to invite some new kids.

What’s that you say? Our crew has been fortified? YES! We gained a new recruit to our bus in the course of the last two weeks. He’s actually Sarah’s brother, Steve (or Stev-0).  So, yeah, you know I’m excited.  I feel like an old man sometimes because I can’t seem to do all the running on my own, which is crazy, because I’m only 23 years old.

Something that I failed to mention previously is that Jennifer’s father passed away a few weeks ago.  She’s currently in the Philippines for his funeral.  Be sure to be in prayer for her.

I had an interesting problem happen to me in the last two weeks.  I am very happy that our bus kids are interesting in helping out.  During the summer, some of the little girls were helping with pouring cups of water to battle the blazing Texas heat.  Recently, they have wanted to help me knock on the doors on the Sunday ride.  I love this.  This is what I want for them, to get involved in the bus ministry!  I decided to reward them with some chocolate.

And I never imagined how problematic that would turn out to be.

I have mentioned Tammy Friddle in the past.  She is a tremendous help in our bus by providing keeping things in order in that back of the bus.  She also has a certain amount of influence over half of our bus.  So much so, that sometimes she gets a little carried away with the authority that we’ve given her. And I’m not complaining or anything like that. Here’s what happened: I promised one bus girl from her neighborhood to give her some candy for helping out on the bus.  Tammy overruled me by saying she wasn’t going to get any candy, because that’s not what volunteering is about.  Since I already made the promise and intended to keep it, I gave her the candy anyway.

The next week, Tammy was upset because I gave the girl the candy. Why? Because I went against her authority. I didn’t know this at the time, but she has become responsible for all of the kids from her neighborhood.  She knows everyone there. She’s involved in their lives. And they all look up to her. The little girl began to brag about the candy, and apparently all the kids began to cry about how unfair it was. So Tammy had to buy them all something to keep them happy. And she basically resented that. Nothing bad came of it.  I just gotta be more careful how I reward the kids.

But what I find disconcerting is the reasoning behind this. Tammy, she says, was raised to believe that every kid should get something and that no one should receive any special treatment.  And I agree to a certain extent, but I personally believe in rewarding good work.  The little girl helped.  The others didn’t.  It seems unreasonable to me to give them a prize for doing absolutely nothing.  And yet they did.  Not by my hand, mind you, but nevertheless they did.  And my problem with this situation is the lesson being taught: if someone gets a prize for helping, you are entitled to the same prize, regardless of whether you helped or not.  And that is not the kind of lesson I want them to learn.

I understand her point of view: the kids should be helping not for reward, but for the Lord.  But even the Lord rewards those that do His work.  And besides, these are kids.  Most of the time, they don’t have spiritual things on their mind (same could for said for some adults), and they need some sort of incentive to get involved before we can expect them to do them for spiritual purposes.

Just something to think about. What are your thoughts? Please leave your comments on the section below and share with others.

~My Two Cents

On the Prowl: Gold Lions Bus Update 08/30/10

I apologize for not updating last week.  It wasn’t so much that last week was nowhere near a stellar day on the bus like I wished I had and I didn’t want to update about it, but it was simply the laziness to write about it (well, that, and work was crazy).  This is for the best, because I get to update on the last two Sundays and do a little comparison.

On August 22nd, God blessed the Gold Lions with 29 riders.  This is a huge hit from our usual numbers, but situations beyond our control forced us to quit picking kids up halfway through.  Looking back, we had everything against us (and we always do, but this time it felt so much worse): we were short-staffed again, we had a 105 degree Texas weather, and I was careless and got dehydrated quick.  One of our little girls got sick on the way to church.  We had run out of napkins and baby wipes, and plus she ruined her beautiful dress, so we stopped at a dollar store to buy her a quick change of clothes and some more napkins.

And from here, everything went downhill.  The captain got sick as well.

With no other runners and with the danger of seeing more kids sick, we decided to call it a day and take what kids we had back to the church. We got there early but it wasn’t a good feeling.  Now my throat was sore and I still had to preach twice (one of those with only an hour of notice, which ironically turned out much better).  Needless to say, I felt horribly defeated. To be honest, I felt like I failed my bus kids for letting this happen, even though it really was beyond my control.  I especially felt bad about not picking up the other half, including a few kids that we have been working on for weeks.  Hopefully that effort will not be in vain.

So the next week came and I was afraid we would end up not doing well at all.  A situation with our foundation had me stay home and help while only one worker did the visiting (and she couldn’t do the whole route).  Luckily, the kids know we stop by regardless, so I was glad that this didn’t set us back.  I’m glad to report that on the 29th God blessed us with 37 kids, none of which got sick.  We were still short-staffed but I’m thankful for Sonya Stover who helped us out, and no workers got sick either.  Ben and Sonya also provided our promotion that day (freezer pops, or more like cool Kool-Aid, but it’s all good).  And we actually got there early in spite of the fact that we did the whole route today (and that I became more of a “walker” than a runner for the bus).  All in all, I’m happy for how things turned out.

So what’s the lesson to be learned? I personally believe that my “failure” on the 22nd was simply due to my attitude about being able to do anything without any help, not even God’s.  It’s embarrassing to admit it, but it’s probably a more commonplace problem that we care to admit.  Without God, there is no bus ministry.  Without His blessing, I will not get anything done.

I’m just one man.  I can’t possibly do everything by myself.  And I’m glad that I have the help and support of my bus staff, who make up in the areas where I need that help. So thank you, Jennifer, Sarah, Grace, Ben, and Sonya.  I know sometimes life and other commitments get in the way of our service, but I know you are committed to our bus and do what you can, which is all I could ever ask for. I’m not the Gold Lions bus. We are all the bus, together. Thank you.

~My Two Cents

On the Prowl: Gold Lions Bus Update 08/02/10

So yeah… exactly a month ago I published my last post and then went on a little hiatus. I really meant to update more often but first church and family obligations took precedence, then laziness conquered all.

During July, our bus has maintained stable as far as attendance is concerned. We fluctuated every week, having a low of 38 and a high of 46.  This is pretty good considering that other buses have struggled to stay in the 30s.  This is not to mean that our bus is better (despite what we may sing on the ride to church, ahem), and, truthfully, the bus would benefit from a more organized bus captain.  Never in my life has the verse “for a living dog is better than a dead lion” (Ecc. 9:4b) been truer than it is now.

Last Sunday, we had an attendance of 45 riders.  Last month, our promotions had to do with a variety of typical summer snacks: freezer pops, ice cream sandwiches, and pop-sickles.  This time, our primary focus was a water-balloon fight, with a can of grape or orange soda for each kid.  It went really well (I don’t see how anyone can mess this up, anyway), and the kids even helped with picking up balloon pieces afterwards.

The water-balloon fight encouraged some of our kids to bring visitors.  Two weeks ago, I signed up a couple of kids who were able to ride yesterday.  Perhaps our most prolific worker is actually one of our bus moms, Ms. Tammy Friddle.  She has not only brought new riders but has encouraged a family that has quit our bus TWICE to come back, and she is responsible for the four baptisms we’ve had in July (I wasn’t even AWARE that we had riders getting baptized until later in the same day).

Finally, I will take this opportunity to thank our Gold bus workers: our bus secretary Grace Kossia (who hides a wild persona behind that serious veneer), our ammunitions dealer Jennifer Collins (who prepared our water balloons), our rations provider Sarah Salinas (who is kind enough to buy the promotions for me, with my money), and our driver pro tem Ben Stover (who makes a mean steak).

Leave your thoughts on the comments section below and share with your friends!

~My Two Cents

On The Prowl: Gold Lions Bus Update – 06/21/10

God blessed the Gold Lions on Sunday, June 13th with 42 riders.  On Sunday, June 20th, God blessed our bus with 40 riders.  We’ve been having a pretty good summer (which technically starts today, mind you).  In our bus ministry, there is always that summer slump when kids inevitably find a myriad of things to do other than riding the church bus.  In this aspect, God has blessed us with many faithful riders.  Right now I have on my mind several kids that I know and whose parents I know.  Those kids love our ministry and what we have to offer.  Those parents respect our ministry and what we are trying to accomplish.  Almost without fail, I can count on those kids to ride the bus on Sunday.

We’ve had some new riders in the last couple of weeks.  One of them was reached as a result of the soulwinning efforts of our church.  They enjoyed our church, and I’m looking forward to seeing them back next week.

One of the things I discussed with my girlfriend on Sunday is that, as a captain and sole male worker (outside the bus driver), one of the things I’m no longer able to do that I absolutely loved doing as a worker is to spend time with the kids while on the bus.  Everyone loves the attention, especially kids.  It burns me when workers (not speaking necessarily of my own) sit down and stare out the window while we still have kids on the bus.  We play an important role in the lives of these kids, and the bus ride is a crucial time as we try to form brotherly relationships with them.  I loved asking the kids about their weeks and hearing their silly stories.  Usually, I have to do the role of a runner, so I stay at the front of the bus and can’t usually talk more than a minute with anyone, so I depend on my workers to fill this need.

Speaking of my girlfriend, I was absolutely thrilled that she was able to ride the bus these last two Sundays.  Her name is Lydia, and she lives in San Antonio, so our time together is usually short, but she was with me all day both Sundays.  It made me feel all awesome to have her see me in action as a captain.

On the 13th, we had ice cream sandwiches, which Sarah was kind enough to get for me while I preached for the 5th and 6th graders.  On the 20th, we tried freezer pops again.  The kids were excited that they were actually frozen this time around!  I was also missing two workers that day, one being sick and the other one at work, and it was felt as I couldn’t particularly deal with a couple of rowdy kids AND walk the rest of the kids home at the same time.  Those moments of frustration, thankfully, are brief and are overshadowed by a good sense of accomplishment after they are all home.

I mentioned in another post about the idea of getting a water cooler for our bus to counter this summer Texas heat.  I got a message today from Jessica Lundy, who told me she and her mom were going to help us out by buying our bus a water cooler!  That is a great blessing!  She was already one of my favorite people because of her love for retro videogames, but this is just very awesome.

Please leave your comments on the section below and share this post with your friends!

~My Two Cents

On the Prowl: Gold Lions Bus Update – 06/09/10

God blessed the Gold Lions bus with 38 riders.  We had a great day.  I honestly did not expect to have that many kids, and it was evidenced by the fact that I had to have someone get some more pop-sickles because we didn’t have enough! Speaking of pop-sickles, those silly things failed to freeze in time.  We’ll get it right next time.

I was very happy to see some former riders get on the bus on Sunday, namely two girls that we stopped visiting because they didn’t show any interest in coming back.  It was their friends that encouraged them to do so.  I’m glad for kids that do their part in the Great Commission by encouraging their friends to ride the bus.  Their efforts will not go unrewarded.

I had the privilege of preaching to the teenagers again (been doing so every other week lately).  I’m glad my own bus kids like to hear me preach.  I made the statement that, if I was to classify my message as either milk for babes in Christ or strong meat for mature Christians, this message was a hamburger.  With that I mean that some of the things said would probably be kinda hard for them to grasp right away.  The basis for my message was the tabernacle, but the subject was actually Jesus being our high priest and also our sacrifice (from Heb. 9).  I tried to be as a clear as I could be, and I hope it was a blessing.

I’m looking forward to next week.  I’m expecting to see former riders, missing riders, and brand-new riders.  It’s going to be awesome.

Please leave a comment and share with your friends!

~My Two Cents

On the Prowl: Gold Lions Bus Update – 06/02/10

Summer is here, and it was clearly felt last Sunday in our bus ministry.  God bless the Gold Lions with 22 riders that day.  I’m thankful for these 22.  They are the faithful ones, or at the very least the ones that didn’t have other plans so they chose to ride our bus.  God will bless them for it.

I more or less could tell how our results would turn out based on Saturday visitation.  I visited the whole route by myself (and don’t get me started on that), and a lot of the kids weren’t home.  Those that were home were dying to go swimming.  For our promotion, we had double pop-sickles.  I’ve learned in the past that you don’t buy pop-sickles until the last minute or you’ll have a mess in your hands… literally.  The kids enjoyed them.

One of the things I’ve always wanted to do was to have a cooler with water and paper cups on the bus during the summer.  It gets unbearably hot, and I don’t want the kids to faint (or complain that they are going to faint).  I have to look into that before next Sunday.

As you may know, I have been the captain for the last 5 months.  To this day, I’m still having kids asking me where my predecessor is or if he’s coming back anytime soon.  I’m a little conflicted.  On the one hand, I am a little hurt because after all this time I have not been able to win over these kids (one girl made it a point to let me know that she hasn’t been riding because the former bus captain is gone).  On the other hand, I too wish he was back, especially because it’s tough being a bus captain!  And expensive!  But I have the opportunity of a lifetime to make a difference in these kids’ lives, so I’m not about to get upset because some of them don’t want me to be captain.

God works in great ways, and here’s why: our church is going through a similar situation but in a grander scale.  When Dr. Bob Smith announced his retirement, I was crushed.  It’s not that I don’t like Dr. Todd Lasseter, but after all these years you get used to “Preacher,” and you know things are never going to be the same… but I am realizing now that that’s not a bad thing.  It’s just a different experience.  Later on, when I became captain of the Gold Lions, it hit me: I have a unique insight on what the kids are going to go through.  They are feeling what I was feeling.  Some are going to be mad.  Others will be sad.  Others simply won’t care.  Things are going to change, but they need to know that I love them and that God loves them.  It may take a while for them to get used to me, but we’ll get there.

I hope this was a blessing to you.  Please feel free to comment in the section below and share this with your friends!

~My Two Cents

Gold Lions Update – 05/23/10

God blessed the Gold Lions with 35 riders in attendance on Sunday–a significant drop from last week, but it’s not too bad considering that the effects of summer are already being felt even though it’s not “technically” summer yet (because kids still have one more week of school).

We had a problem right from the get-go:  Two kids decided to be outright disrespectful to the workers and myself.  I was initially opposed to having to take them back, but their defiance became more than what I could stand, and we took them back home.  We even had to wait until mom got back from the laundry place.  This is the first time I ever had to do something like this.  Not even as a worker did we ever resort to this.  I’m thinking about not letting them back on the bus for a time, because this is not the first time they caused trouble.

Sunday I had the privilege of teaching Bro. Robert Graf’s class.  Even though we’ve been through Exodus already, I taught on the call of Moses.  I hope the kids liked it.  Apparently, I am also kinda long-winded.

We gave the kids the cookies I had been saving since last week (the Sanders family bought fudge bars for all the kids that time).  Buying cookies from Family Dollar is turning out to be a good alternative for weekly promotions.  I really hope we can raise enough money to get our bus tag and thus get a pizza party, though it seems very unlikely seeing how we barely have $30 (and the goal is $150).  We still have a week to accomplish this.

At the time of this writing, I still don’t know if any of my kids landed in jail or how the other buses fared.  I’m also toying with a few ideas for our bus.  I still believe we have the bus with the greatest potential in our fleet.  We’ve overcome so much to get to where we are, and we haven’t seen anything yet.

~My Two Cents

Gold Bus Update – May 16th

Normally, I update on the same Sunday the results in our bus ministry that day, but now the news are making their transition to the Two-Bit Special.  On the 9th, God blessed the Gold Lions with 45 riders, and on Sunday we had 46.  It is a great blessing to see our bus recuperating from the low numbers that crippled us during the Arlington to Anchorage Bus Race.

We also had a boy get baptized from our bus.  His name is Devon Thibodeau.  His siblings Jacob and Brittany Tamez have also gotten baptized from our bus.  They are great kids with a lot of potential that seems to be hampered by a difficult upbringing.  Once the mom had to remove them from our bus because of a problem that arose with their other brother, Simon.  I’m happy that they are back, but don’t you know it Simon got in trouble again on Sunday.  When Brittany and Jacob got baptized, Simon got in the trouble that caused him to be kicked out.  I see a sad pattern here, clearly the devil’s work against our bus.  We’ll see how it turns out as Saturday comes around.

Tiffany Yazzie is gone for the summer, and in her place we have Sarah Salinas helping out.  The Sanders family are a great help and asset.  Joshua and Brooke are nice kids and like to participate in the bus.  Twice now the Sanders have helped us with our bus promotion by buying fudge bars (the first time I didn’t even have anything in place, so it was a great blessing).

I really don’t see us raising enough money for the bus tag.  I don’t think we’ve been pushing this enough.  Hopefully this last week we’ll have the funds we need and get that pizza party.

I love seeing our faithful riders come every week, like the Mitchell girls (little Sarah turned 4 last month so she’s been riding for a few weeks now) or a girl named Daniella.  It was also great to see some new faces, such as a boy named Ian (his mom stopped me last Sunday and was very much interested in him going) and two Puerto Rican little girls that I met on Saturday visitation.  They hadn’t realized that they’ve been to our church before on the Purple Pirates.  I’m sure they meant no ill will, but they were quick to point out that they beat us at some contest we had before (grumble grumble).  I told them how lucky they were to be on the best bus at TBC now.

If you work on a bus or Sunday school ministry, how was your day on Sunday?  Leave a comment on the section below and don’t forget to share!

~My Two Cents