Monthly Archives: March 2014

The Greater Love? Laying Down Your Life for Another!

Parents:  Don’t forget – You are picking your student up at the airport tomorrow!    We are flying in to Austin on United 1541  at 6:32pm.  Please be on time!

John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this…  pretty much sums up the whole week!

I always struggle to write the last night of debriefing because so much has happened during the week and so much has been shared it is really hard for me to articulate it. The student’s hearts are full, the leader’s hearts are full.

Today we toured the Capitol Building. A thank you to Thomas Moye for helping make that happen!

After lunch we had the honor and privilege of laying the Wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier! It was an amazing experience.

Tonight we shared about what impacted us the most or our favorite moment of the week or both.

Here are some of the responses

  • The changing of the guards – so precise – it showed the honor and respect that was deserved– that we got to show the honor and respect for the sacrifice was awesome –  Arlington – it’s all about that, it’s so  beautiful – made me proud of America
  • Seeing John McCain this morning
  • My favorite time has been the debriefing – everyone has been so open and it’s been so wonderful
  • I liked everything today – being the Capitol – it was awesome – knowing that’s where all the decisions are made and we were there –  the statue of Ronald Reagan – the bronze and marble- but in between it had the pieces of the Berlin Wall … it represents how each president has made our nation so great
  • my  favorite event was laying the wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington – it means so much to me I’m very thankful for that opportunity
  • This week has been fantastic –  my favorite part of the trip –  Mount Vernon, the Holocaust Museum  and all the war monuments – today made me very proud to be an American  – this trip has been very powerful and impactful on my life
  • I liked everything – I can’t pick just one thing
  • I liked everything –  it was so great for me –  what I can I say about this trip is I learned so much and if I can define this trip in one word –  inspirational
  • The way they honored Abraham Lincoln – the way 9-11 was honored – I’m honored to be around people I can share everything with – I’m honored to have walked where great people have walked – I was honored to have been a part of the wreath laying ceremony – It was life changing to me – if only our leaders would remember where we came from – it might be life changing to them
  • I don’t like the partisanship in our country –  not once did you hear – oh he was a great democrat – or a great republican –  but we heard about unity –  we are one
  • I love D.C. so much it made me realize I want to live in a big city, and I love Mrs. Castello, I loved everything she had to share
  • I really loved everything –  getting to walk around the memorials – reminded me of the quote I saw by Ghandi “ my life is my message”     right now …  I don’t think I’m leaving behind them message I want to
  • first I really want to thank the class for choosing me to represent you guys to help lay the wreath – thank Mr. smith for encouraging me –  I was pretty scared –  I get stage fright –  Mr. Smith shares lots of information throughout the trip –  through the trip over all  – like what Michael said –  the holocaust museum –  Arlington –a lot of it was really heavy – over all makes me proud of this country – makes me proud to be an American Christian – sort of person that Summit promotes – Christianity doesn’t have a great reputation – I just wish that for myself I could be the kind of person that would make every American Christian  –  say they are proud  – I have a lot to up hold and a duty to do it
  • (from one of our former Summer Alumni that joined us) hanging out with you guys – you changing – impacts us – changes us – you’ve had an impact on us for Christ and the Kingdom – you fill us back up – seeing you gain an appreciation for America-  watching you have your own light bulb moments. You have been a blessing to us … thank you … you are different … you have the power to do great things
  • (from another of our former Summit Alumni) being with you guys recharges the soul and the mind.  I’m not going to take the time to tell you all the ways  you have had an effect on me as a leader –  I’ll take those things back as a leader to those I’m with every day
  • Mount Vernon was very special to me – and the young man playing the part of the slave Christopher – he was so masterful it was intriguing … the over-arching piece is this – I’ve been to Arlington, the Holocaust, the monuments, but I’ve never been to those with you!  I’ve not done any of those things with you – you guys are different – there’s a certain spark – intellect – different lenses to process data.  I think God has got great things in store for you!
  • (shared by one of the leaders)
  • Thomas and Matthew – you are two young men of strong faith – you just don’t know until you go out in the world –  I love how you are  holding each other  accountable – so impressed by both of you ( they are impressive young men)
  • I loved everything – Kennedy’s speech!
  • The 911 memorial
  • I feel like this trip has been one of the past, the present and the future
    • Past – Thomas and Matthew – how you are still godly young men
    • Present – Getting to know this class – already knew some of you but I love you
    • Future – God has been doing great things in me through this trip and I feel my future is different now
  • I loved the Holocaust museum and today! I learned so much! Makes me proud of America!


    (and that’s just to name a few of the things shared)


    11th grade class… you are so amazing! I love you so much! I am praying that you continue to embrace each other and grow together as a class! I pray that you will desire to know God and to make him known.  I pray that you will not forget what you’ve experienced this week and it will become a part of who you are as a person and a believer.



    A BIG thank you to Mr. Jeff Smith – (former SCA parent) He has been helping lead these trips since we started them 8 years ago.  His love for Christ, our students and this nation – help make this trip a success! No Words!


    A BIG thank you to Dave MacLeod (Dawson’s Dad)  Thank you for bringing your love of prayer and your heart for young people in to the mix!  He brings joy into every situation!  What a gift and valuable asset he has been to the team leadership.


    A BIG thank you to Nan Castello!  A precious friend who loves God and speaks life into our young people.  This was the perfect year for her to come!  Her love for our students to walk in truth and to know how precious they are, encourages and empowers our students to push themselves.


    A BIG thank you to Thomas. I am so proud of you and love that you would take time out of your busy schedule to encourage, challenge and point the way to Christ.  He is such a part of you it shows in every conversation whether you mention the name of Christ or not…. Not to mention… I love how you love to laugh and you make others laugh!


    A BIG thank you to Matthew.  I was so excited that you were finally able to join us! I’m proud of you and loved how you and confirmed that the things the students learn on this trip – can be life long tools … important in their walk with Christ.  Thank you for your service!


    A REAL BIG THANK YOU to Summit and to you… the parents!

    It is an honor and privilege to lead a team of young people like this!  It has been an incredible time.  Again our hearts are full.  Your student may immediately talk your ear off OR they may have a hard time articulating how they feel and what all they experienced.  Give them time and pray for them.  Ask questions from my blog, that might help!


    This class can impact their world …. If they want to!   Let’s pray that they want to!


    mrs. g

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Praying for the Nations – The Evening at the Memorials

We can pray for the nations anywhere, but it’s really powerful to be able to pray for them in front of their embassy here in Washington D.C. We are divided into our groups with assigned blocks on Embassy Row. Within the blocks are embassies of nations all over the world.

We walked and prayed for:

Their relationship with other nations

The freedom of religion


The Gospel to be shared/ mission work

Leaders of the nation- the decisions made – for the good of their people

Whatever God lays on the heart of the person praying

It was fun for Mr. Smith’s group to be able to go to Paraguay with Maria and for her to pray specifically for her own country! AND in Spanish! A very special time

The team that went with Mr. MacLeod went to International Dr. This is a very different kind of prayer walking situation. The nations that are side by side don’t necessarily like one another making it an interesting thing to see. They also got to see a small ‘political demonstration’ in front of the Egypt embassy.

This evening we walked the war memorials and the Lincoln memorial.

It was a precious time for me as the class had purchased a wreath to leave at the Texas pillar in honor of my dad who recently passed away! It was beautiful, with blue ribbons and blue flowers (that looked similar to bluebonnets) Blue was my dad’s favorite color! It also had the T patch from his infantry! It was very moving for me. A wonderful memory I will always treasure!

WWII memorial – the gold stars representing the hundreds of lives lost! The incredible quotes around the memorial! The rope representing the whole nation coming together and standing up for the rights of others! Our men fought in the Pacific campaign and the Atlantic campaign.

Vietnam Wall – Mrs. Castello’s father fought in that war so on the walk over to the memorial she was able to share from a very personal perspective. It made the experience even more meaningful for many of the students. It’s so moving seeing all the names…thousands of them. Being the only war where the men and women came home and were not honored, in fact just the opposite. Many of the students had never heard that. Naomi was able to get a couple of names of her grandfather’s friends that were on the wall. It was quite an ordeal getting the ladder, etc. but in the end a very special moment for her and those helping her.


Korean Memorial – Stunning. It was a favorite of many of the students. This quotes at the Korean memorial.

Our Nation Honors Her Sons And Daughters Who Answered The Call To Defend a Country They Never Knew And A People They Never Met –  1950 Korea 1953

That quote really summed it up for many.

We ended the day at the Lincoln Memorial and Mr. MacLeod reading the 2nd Inaugural Address. We came away from the evening knowing we are so grateful to live in this great nation. We are in awe of the men and women who have fought for freedoms here in America and the freedom of others around the world. We are thankful for the countless heroes that all the memorials stand for.

We all struggled being able to articulate how grateful we are and how moved we are by the sacrifice of others.

Tomorrow we tour our nation’s Capital and then we go to Arlington to Lay the Wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier! It will be another impactful day!

Thank you for your prayers!

Mrs. g




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How do you save a broken world?

Today was an amazing day – We attended/participated in 3 separate events/exhibits at the U.S. Holocaust Museum.  The first person series with Henry Greenbaum, a holocaust survivor! The ‘They Were Neighbors” exhibit and the Holocaust Exhibit! (Get your student to tell you about Henry – we all loved him – an 85 year old survivor of the Holocaust)

I don’t even know how to do the debriefing justice! It was intense, sweet, sad, thought provoking, intimate, gut wrenching…

It was a long debrief session because we had really spent the whole day in the Holocaust Museum!

Hearing the first person testimony and seeing the Holocaust exhibits you can’t help but ask the question? How did this happen? Did anyone care? Where were the people that would stand up against injustice? Did anyone try to help? What motives and pressures led so many individuals to turn a blind eye… or to report? Why did others make the choice to help?

Collaboration & Complicity – Some Were Neighbors – it’s a small but important new exhibit and it takes a look at the decisions of lifelong friends, family members, neighbors that either helped or felt it their duty to ‘turn in’ and abandon their fellow human beings. It made each one of us think about our own lives and how would we respond?

Just a few comments from the day/evening/

  • I try to block things out – important to put yourself in those people’s shoes – you won’t get there but should try – at every exhibit – try to think…what if that was me… family.. sister … friends what if that happened to me… horrific   we won’t be able to comprehend it…   I was a little angry – I’ll never be able to feel anything remotely close to give them what they deserve
  • it was frustrating the way some people there were acting – there were people who were rushing through it – having irrelevant conversations   =   on the other side – there was this mother walking down a display with two kids – little boy knee high – asking these question – did all these people die? Yeah a lot of people – it was touching to see – almost made me cry to see this little kid learning about that …
  • I saw this one response of a follower of Hitler “I will blindly follow Hitler to the end of the earth” –   that is terrifying –
  • The question to Henry – “Did you lose your faith during your experience?” his answer really moved me – he never gave up his faith – I get mad at God – about silly things – I realize how we are all so selfish – we take it all for granted – it really should not be hard at all to keep our faith – we’re not going through anything like that
  • The pile of shoes – every one of those shoes was a person – they had hopes, dreams, hates, fears, favorite colors, they are dead – so important to remember – so it never get repeated … things like that are happening right now- not enough awareness on any level –
  • when we first went into the They Were Neighbors Exhibit .. think about  hiding Jews– why were people complacent – if you think about that – first you think, of course I would hide the Jews– that is not at all what the  vast majority did– you have to think…  you have just sentenced yourself to death – are there … am I that compassionate that I would let my family die for someone we didn’t know?… there’s no doubt that not doing good things – was the  worse decision – but could I do it?  I don’t know?
  • We hear that we have to learn from our mistakes so history doesn’t repeat itself. That doesn’t work because history does repeat itself…  Rwanda, Armenia, Syria, Apartheid, Christians in Indonesia, Malaysia, North Korea, etc. etc.

Then I loved what Dave MacLeod shared…

…   the conclusion – there is a solution – it is Jesus – he is the only solution – you want to solve slavery – bring Jesus to the world – end racism – bring Jesus – Jesus is the way … the only way is by bringing Christ to the world

He is the way … the life… the truth …    these things happen because they don’t have, know the truth…

Bring him to the people that you meet!   I don’t do enough on a daily basis … to bring Christ to the world Romans 9 talked about Paul laboring over the Jews to be saved ..

The world is a horrible place where the light of Jesus does not shine!

Please pray for your student and for what God has done and is doing in and through their life this week. We ended the evening praying in our small groups.  I can’ t speak for the other 3 groups but I know in mine there was brokenness, repentance, thankfulness for God’s grace and commitments to pursue Christ and to let this week really change them to be people that will make a difference!

Tomorrow we prayer walk Embassy Row and the War Memorials ending at the Lincoln at dusk! Pray for health, strength and divine moments!

The prayer time on Embassy Row can be powerful.. please pray that we will pray God’s heart for the nations!


Impacting Our World Together!

Mrs g

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Snow Day! ! !

snow… snow…snow…snow…snow…

What an amazing sight … Mount Vernon … covered with snow!

It is hard to write tonight – to try to put in adequate words – what the students shared about today’s experiences. New insight, the things discovered, opinions expressed, thought provoking concepts … you would be proud – convicted – amazed – humbled!

So… background of the day –

  1. We road the ‘Spirit of Mount Vernon’ small cruise boat on the Potomac to Mount Vernon – It started snowing before we even embarked on our trip
  2. We toured Mount Vernon – Home – the Learning Center – We Fight for Freedom Film Washington’s Tomb – the plantation’s slave monument – the period re-enactment of George Washington’s personal man servant (Christopher)
  3. The ride back on the boat
  4. The American History Museum
  5. Dress up dinner at the Vantage Point Restaurant
  6. Debrief


Being able to walk on the same grounds that our first President owned and walked on

Looking into the room where he died

Standing within a few feet of the first Presidental office chair – walking the same halls he walked… that’s crazy!

So here are some thought that were shared – it makes me weep to think about the fact that our kids are brilliant, insightful, fun, caring, passionate…. Just to name a few

  • George Washington – to see what his natural life was like and to realize what a huge impact he was on our country – how he struggled with the concept of slavery – he fought for our freedom, yet he owned slaves – how I thought he was like a comrade to his slaves because we learn that he worked along side them – but after hearing Christoper (period actor) talk, I realized he was no comrade – he was a slave ‘owner’
  • When Christopher was asked – did George treat him kindly – he closed his umbrella and gave an amazing monologue on ‘the life of a slave’ there’s no such thing as being treated kindly when you are owned by someone else. That interaction time was spontaneous but it grew a crowd and it impacted the lives of all our students and leaders
  • All the small bits of history at the Smithsonian – that you never knew about – it’s important – yet had you not gone to the museum you would have never known about it.
  • We’ve seen and heard some intense things today – do I even give it the proper amount of concern and thoughts put into those thoughts?
  • It’s fun for me to talk about religion and politics, I like hearing all difference sides, it broadens my horizons and benefits me.
  • What kind of legacy are we going to leave
  • 200 years from now – what things will people look at from our time period and ask “why did they do that?
  • Seeing Old Glory at the museum
  • I can’t wait to go to the Holocaust Museum tomorrow!
  • I tend to get angry… it takes courage to look at all these things and feel them as much as they should be felt.
  • We are moved by the injustice of slavery back in Washington’s day – but it’s going on today – human slavery – human trafficking – we judge how the people responded years ago… but what are we doing today to stop the tragedy going on today

And that doesn’t even scratch the surface! It was a powerful night!

Please pray for your student and their classmates;

  1. They will allow the Holy Spirit to use the things they are seeing and experiencing and change them forever
  2. Tomorrow’s Holocaust Museum experience will just build upon what they have already experienced this week
  3. Their experiences this week will build their character – they will be people of great faith, honest, full of integrity
  4. They will desire to know God’s will for their live
  5. That we would be reminded of the glorious things we each have in Jesus Christ
  6. Pray for each of us as we walk through the Holocaust Museum
  7. Continued safety and health for the team
  8. Students will have open hearts to be challenged and changed for the kingdom of God!


Tomorrow we will go to the Holocaust Museum (after we have a much needed later start to the day) We will hear a first person’s interview. A guest that experienced first hand the Holocaust 70 years ago. We will hear their testimony! This has always been a very powerful experience.


It’s late … my heart is full …


Mrs g



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Washington D.C. – Prayer – Impacting a Nation

It was an early start (2:45am) to a great day in our nation’s capitol!  Everyone made it to the school/airport in time!  With a meticulous airline agent, we were certainly glad we were there when the gates were opened!  The flights went off without a hitch!  We made it through a little bit of metro card frustration and our D.C. prayer journey began.

Our hotel is perfectly located 1 1/2 blocks from the metro station making it really easy to get around town.  After lunch in ‘the neighborhood’ we headed to our National Mall to pray!  Thomas Moye (former SCA student who now works in D.C.) helped give the ‘lay of the land’ as we got off at the Smithsonian Mall stop and we took photos of the team with the Capitol building in the distance then headed to the Washington Monument.  Thomas gave us the history about the memorial and I think the most wonderful thing is at the very top of the obelisk on the side that faces the east it is inscribed – Praise be to God.  Thomas shared… it’s really everywhere, the evidence of God in the birth of this nation.  We broke into our groups and prayed for our time here, for God to guide us, to direct our leaders and to give us opportunities to bless our nation and other nations through prayer.

Dinner was at an amazing hamburger place in Georgetown followed by D.C. Cupcakes (kind of disappointing – we were at the end of their night – not many cupcakes left)

Debriefing was fun – catching up with each other… hearing about the fun things –

  • just being able to hang out with each other outside of school  – girls having girl time – guys having guy time
  • seeing the buildings/ monuments / Smithsonian’s / White House / Capitol  – and knowing we’ll get to really spend time at them this week
  • most everyone is excited about going to the Holocaust Museum this week!  This can be a pivotal moment for many of them
  • it might snow!
  • Thomas joining us –  as one leader said – it’s exciting to see someone that was a former student and see their life now – and how they have grown into a solid person and are honoring God with their life – it’s very encouraging and wonderful to see it!  We as their former teachers, mentors – we love it!
  • it might snow!

Parents, friends, teachers please pray for us

  • God would direct our itinerary moment by moment –  We leave our itinerary flexible with the ability to move things from day to day, we’ve seen God do wonderful thing when we’ve left room for him to orchestrate the exact daily schedule
  • Pray for the students to truly bond together – to honor one another – to appreciate one another – to serve one another
  • Pray for our health – it’s really cold – and we’re out in the weather
  • Pray for those divine moments that we as leaders have to encourage, equip and empower these incredible students
  • Pray for us to be examples of God’s love to others.

At this point our schedule has Mount Vernon first thing in the morning – by way of the Spirit of Freedom Cruises – it’s a boat ride up the Potomac to Mount Vernon –  we are able to be indoors on the boat the whole journey, however the river needs to be calm.  Also, snow is fun, but not so much with the walking we need to do.  There is a powerful short movie on George Washington.  Many times over it has impacted our leaders and students.  Pray it does the same again.

Thank you for your love and support.  I love these kids and consider it an honor to be able to be here with them in our great nation’s capitol.

Thank you to Jeff Smith, Dave MacLeod, Nan Castello – for taking time out of your busy schedules to invest in the lives of our students

Impacting our World Together

mrs. g






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