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!
Chicago Mission Trip
by Chelsea Nelson, Family Ministry Intern, Akron Campus
Last week I had the blessing of going with about 50 students and leaders from our Akron Campus to Chicago for a mission trip. We stayed at New Life Community Church in Humboldt Park. During the day, we split into four teams to go serve at different places, two of which were at the church. God really moved in the hearts of our high schoolers this week and I would like to share a few quotes from those on the trip.
“The community here is unlike any other. There is so much laughter, love, and care. God has taught me lessons through my brothers and sisters that will forever be in my heart. Through debriefs, car rides, lunches, and late night talks in the gym, God has shown me that this trip is about being a fearless lamb in a world of wolves, and I am so grateful for every moment.” –Hallie Jankura (Student)
“Tonight during worship service I was engulfed in God’s love. I thought about the fact that we are never alone because He is always with us. His never-ending love is unfathomable. We constantly live for ourselves and push God away yet He still pursues us relentlessly. No matter how far we run, we are never alone; He will always be there. The fact that He still comes to us after everything we have done is amazing. Why does God keep pursuing people that constantly push Him away? He loves us no matter what! There is nothing we can do to escape His love. He is truly a just and loving God. I am so blessed to be back in Chicago sharing God’s love with an awesome group of believers.”– Alex Jones (Student)
“Throughout the week I have seen the character of God shine through each AMP student in a unique way. I see the humbleness of God, His servanthood, and His heart for making the gospel relevant in daily life. I have seen the students step out of themselves for the greater calling of bringing lost people back to the one who loves them and created them. Whether that is through singing a song or dancing with them, helping them complete their craft, or being a friend, our AMP students are saying ‘yes’ to Jesus in their life– and that is the greatest decision they will ever make.”–Amy Brodecky (Leader)
Christ in Youth: MIX Conference
by Adam Crawford, Associate Ministry Director
Middle School Ministry, Green Campus
The MIX conference took place this year in Cedarville, OH and was a great week for both students and adults leaders. We loaded up a smaller group of 15 students and arrived ready to see God work in their hearts and lives. From superhero games, to giant volleyball and a rock wall, there were activities for students to always be engaged in.
The theme for the week was “This Changes Everything” and we focused on how the resurrection of Jesus Christ really does change everything. It changes me, it changes you, and it changes us as a church. We walked through applications of how we should respond to the resurrection and the students responded with great ideas and some have already gotten started.
It was great to see quiet students come out of their shells during worship and dance parties, as well as seeing the group as a whole really come together by the end of the week. God used MIX to reach our students, and now we can’t wait to see God use our students to reach others.
by Patrick Jackson, Associate Ministry Director
Family Ministry, Akron Campus
Our Akron Campus 8th Grade local mission trip was a great time! We had 24 students and 8 leaders who spent the week together in Akron serving various ministries around the city.
Each morning we were at Leggett CLC helping out with Camp Learn A-Lot, a VBS type of program run by Lisa Marshall (Urban Ministries Director). Our kids were able to love, mentor and play with the many kids who came and by the end of the week, three of those kids had accepted Christ! Our students got to see firsthand that we, as followers of Christ, can influence and change the lives of other people through simple acts of love. We were all moved by the way the kids lit up as they made new friends with our students.
In the afternoons we got dirty and worked hard at local ministries including, South Street Ministries, TRY Ministries, First Glance and the Food Bank. There was plenty of weeding and cleaning to do, but our kids got to get a great picture of some incredible ministries operating around our city.
In our final debriefing session we all spent time sharing stories about how we had seen God move throughout the week, and it was evident that our students had been moved in seeing all the need that is in our own back yard, and all the amazing followers of God trying to do something about it.
Thanks for your prayers and support, we’re praising God for a great week!
Click HERE to see some photos on Facebook.
Mexico Trip Recap
by Pastor Happy Peterson
Two teams of high school students and adults from Green Campus served in Mexico.
Two weeks in Mexico is a long time. While it felt too long to be away from family, it was a great opportunity to accomplish some solid ministry. I will try to give you a quick snapshot of what took place over the last couple of weeks. I don’t know that I can communicate the excitement we felt or the deep spiritual satisfaction that God allowed for us, but I will at least give you some highlights of our time.
We spent each morning moving rocks. When I say moving rocks, I mean lots of them and some of them were HUGE. The rocks are used to fill in the foundations of the concrete pillars and the multipurpose building. We also dug several holes to pour footers for the concrete pillars. The local building crew worked right alongside of us doing the more technical work of pouring the concrete and making sure things were lined up flush.
While many of us were working, there were two teams that went about a mile down the street to the local primary school. We spent two hours each day teaching in two different classrooms. We weren’t allowed to talk about God, but we were welcomed with open arms and taught the kids colors, numbers, and animals in English. We were blessed to have a monstrous stack of children’s books in Spanish that had been donated (thanks Paula Douglas). Those were a huge hit. Each child was able to take at least one home and the rest were left at the school to be passed around. I imagine those are the only books in the house for most kids.