Celebration and Anticipation:
Family Ministry, Akron Campus
by Tom Sullivan, Ministry Director
Ever been located in a position where you can see things clearly? Like sitting in the front row where you’re up close and personal, experiencing the sights, sounds, and smells in an intimate way at an event you’re attending. Or sitting in the upper deck where your view is so widened that you see the whole picture from a larger perspective, not missing any of the action. This summer, God has kindly allowed me to see His truth and grace from two different seats—and oh man, what a view!!
Summer XP kicked into high gear after our VBS in June. I had a chance to witness the beauty of six families connecting with people from their neighborhood and start or rekindle relationships. Akron neighborhoods got a glimpse of God’s character by getting a close-up look at the people who follow Him. Conversations were authentic with parents, while kids had an absolute blast in their own neighborhood while hearing the truth of God.
How Did You Spend Your Summer?
by Lauren Brown
Our team had the incredible privilege of spending six whole weeks investing into the lives of about 50 middle school and high school refugees who live in the North Hill neighborhood. We saw God move in amazing ways, especially as He restored broken friendships between the Burmese, Karen, and Nepali kids. These children were born into refugee camps on the other side of the world, and now, as our neighbors, we have the privilege of reaching out to them. One of our older girls said to me one day, “Do you know how in the Bible, God always promised the Israelites that He would take them to a good land flowing with milk and honey? Well, America is that land for me, and I am so thankful that God has brought me here.” Again and again, God created space for our team to have numerous spiritual conversations with children who come from many different faith backgrounds.
Around the World Right Here!
by Annette Brodecky
Teaching English to Internationals has been a wonderful and exciting opportunity for me. Where else can you meet people from different countries and personally learn about their culture, food, and way of life without ever getting on a plane? It is also such a great way to share God’s love with people from all over the world like Japan, China, Korea, India, Turkey, Iran, and Ecuador. These are just a few of the many places where they come from.
I tried to make my classes fun and relevant. I would hold conversations on various topics pertaining to American life as well as play games and perform pronunciation exercises. I would also have civic lessons, which they really seemed to enjoy. In addition, all of us teachers share a Bible verse in our class and talk briefly about what it states. I sometimes get good questions about the Bible verse I share. Also, students would bring in food or snack items that they had made to share with the class. This was a lot of fun!
by Katy Epling
Last week, The Chapel’s Green Campus hosted “Breathe,” a respite night for families with special needs children. There were 11 families and 24 children. Another event is planned for November. One of the moms shared this with the families.
Four years ago my life was forever changed by Joey, my sweet son with Down syndrome. So many words come to mind when I think of life with Joey: joy, fun, adorableness (That’s a word, right?), smiles, determination. But one word that doesn’t come to mind is rest. You know that feeling, right, fellow parents? Whether we are chasing after extra-energetic kids, getting up in the middle of the night again, running to doctor and therapist visits, working one more time toward a new skill or milestone, or just trying to survive a trip to the grocery store with kids, life as a parent is rarely restful. Read more…
by Patrick Jackson, Associate Ministry Director, Akron Campus
Our recent VA Beach trip was a great success! God was on the move in both the lives of our students and the lives of the people we were serving. While we were scrubbing, painting and fixing up trailer homes, our students were painting a picture of Jesus’ love to the people of the trailer park.
There was one boy in particular named Gio in one of the homes we were working on. It turned out he was in 7th grade and made an instant connection with some of our 7th grade boys. By the end of the week all he wanted to do was come back to Ohio with us and be a part of our group. We got to buy him a Bible and Jon took some time to help him learn how to read it. As we left he said that he wanted to step up and be the man of his home, since he lives with only his mom and siblings, and that he wanted to share the light of Jesus with his community.
All of us, especially our students, were blown away by God’s working through us, and that is just one of many stories of how God was moving in VA Beach. Thanks for your prayers and support, continue to pray that this trip would result in lasting life change for all those involved!