Welcome back! Many have asked if CampusSERVE starts tomorrow (August 28th). There will be no CampusSERVE tomorrow. The first day of CampusSERVE this semester will be September 4th. So come out at 10 AM on September 4th! We’ll see you there!
Watching kids act like kids makes smiles:
Hearing laughter and seeing great volunteers makes joy:
Seeing life change happen when one life positively infects another makes disciples:
*Thank you to EVERY CampusSERVE volunteer throughout the years… you’re foundations let successful ministry still happen today.
Care [The Oaks] | Diana
Today, when we first arrived at the Oaks some of the residents were playing Bingo in the activity room. A few of the volunteers joined them and helped them play. We had about 15 or so volunteers this week.
The first person I visited was Becky. Me and a volunteer named Sam started talking about our involvement with missions and [Becky] kept mentioning that she wished we could have met her brother who was apparently a missionary. Next I visited a resident named Peggy. She ended up being a real encouragement to me. While we were talking she told me about all of her health concerns, and then she started crying and said that none of it mattered though because God gave the best gift anyone could ever give, salvation. It really brought joy to me to see that even though she was going through so much she was still rejoicing in the gift of God’s love.
A couple of the volunteers visited with James. Apparently when they first went to his door and asked if he wanted visitors, he was quiet. When they asked again, he invited them in but told them he wasn’t feeling well and that’s why he hesitated. He ended up being really glad that they came and visited him and it really cheered him up. According to the volunteers Hazel and Russel really need prayer because they are having some really bad health problems right now.
One of our volunteers Lauren, who visited for the first time with us this week told me that she talked to a new resident named Lilly and that they really related well. This volunteer was nervous because it was her first week visiting the Oaks, and this resident was also struggling with adjustment because she was new to the nursing home and didn’t know anyone.
At the end of the day we all got together and sang a few well-known hymns to the Residents while they were getting lunch, including, Come Thou Fount, Blessed Assurance, Power in the Blood, and Amazing Grace. It was so exciting to see some of the residents even sing along with us! We concluded the day by praying over their meal.
Greenfield | Elisa
Our sixty-some volunteers and Greenfield kids successfully transformed our snowy field into a puddle of mud today and I couldn’t be happier! The lesson today was how we are to be light to the world and based on the feedback from the volunteers, the children were able to grasp it fairly well. Once again we had [a girl] help out with the snack and she delegated a few of the other snack-related jobs to a few of her friends. Of course we did have a few LU students oversee this whole operation, but the kids did fairly well! The changes that I have seen in [her] since I first met her a couple of years ago have been incredible!
Dearington | Danielle
We told the kids about Jonah and his disobedience to God. So many of the children had never heard this story and their eyes almost bulged out of their heads when they learned that God saved Jonah’s life by sending the whale to swallow him! The kids learned that in the end “Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went…” and many of them were able to retell the story to the volunteers.
It seemed that a lesson on obedience was well-suited for today, since some of our older elementary children decided to throw snow/ice balls at a few of the four-year olds. It took a while for the kids to listen and stop throwing snowballs. The kids finally obeyed, but not without some tears, unkind words and poor attitudes.
We were able to see God working in many of our community relationships today. Corey was invited into one of the family’s homes to wait on the little girl while she got ready. He was able to connect with Nadia’s family for the first time. I returned to Ms. Dorothy’s house for a quick visit and she invited me inside. After telling me a little about her family and showing me some of her favorite trinkets, she gave me a teddy bear, a loofah, a shirt and some apple pie bites. She blessed me tremendously and said she would be my Lynchburg grandma! Some of our kids who haven’t been out all semester made an appearance today so it was exciting to catch up with them!
College Hill | Scott
“Grace, we found sleds! There are five kids that we’ve never seen before, and [boy] has only had two emotional breakdowns.” Most of our regular volunteers showed up ready, and with fairly high spirits. However I had a feeling the midst of my heart that we would have a fruitless day, or at least a difficult day. Although today we encouraged the average CampusSERVE volunteers to understand what a successful day of ministry would be, I still had a lack of zeal to accomplish this mission. “Exchange in relationship, demonstrate the gospel with their lives, intentionally disciple, and meet needs as they confront them; in order to see the community grasp it and change, not just to know more.”
Something Grace and I began to work on is beginning to change the way we “do CampusSERVE.” Intentional volunteers are effective volunteers. I believe our volunteers are effective, however as a leader I know I must step up the initiative to go beyond the efforts of what was accomplished the week before. Needless to say I was not expecting greatness today. With the team ready, to pile up in the vehicles, and beginning to wake up, I was beginning to feel a sense that today may be a little bit different.
We slit up into two groups. One for the homes on the south side, one for the north side (the far reaches) each with specific goals in mind. I asked them to knock on the door of every single home we have every had kids come from. “Come play basketball. Come out and play with us… lets go up to the community center.” More and more I began witnessing each volunteer take upon their own responsibility to make an effort to develop relationships. One by one it was becoming a reality. Other than that the come and see part of the morning was beginning to go beyond expectations. The kids’ morale was extremely high, so we matched it. One thing better than a hyper nine-year-old is a hyper nineteen-year-old.
To our surprise we found two cheep long plastic toboggan sleds. It was absolutely, beyond any other explanation a gift. The cry of the day soon was, “me next! ME NEXT!” With the occasional “it’s my turn!” All smiles. The remaining nine inches of snow/ice on the basketball court became prime ingredients to make a snow “castle.”
By far, what was most glorious to witness, was when I saw the hearts of most of our volunteers being poured out on certain students. Not many high school students enjoy hanging out on Saturday mornings, but the ones that do linger around are interested with us Liberty Students.
Yoder | Alyssa
So, today was better than last Saturday! Praise the Lord!!!
We had a few new people and lots of familiar faces, which is nice. We split up and headed down to Yoder… We brainstormed through the 4 objectives of volunteer success. It was good to hear the ways they want to do them and then for me to give them some ideas as well. We split up into about four or five groups and went door to door. The objective was to have conversations with people and to play inside with kids if they got the opportunity. The playground was very icy and the basketball court wasn’t cleared off.
Some students took a shovel and helped some houses out.
I went with two students that had been there before and we went to Jonelle’s house (last week I left her a note saying that we would stop by around 11 the next Saturday.) She was home and let us in. Her sister, Nancy, was there. Kyle, one of the volunteers with me, had met Jonelle with me and then, Kendra, the other volunteer, met Jonelle and Nancy today. Both woman are strong believers seemingly. Jonelle is always giving glory to Jesus 🙂
Jonelle had been in the hospital the last 2 weeks so she talked about how wonderful the Liberty nurses were to her. They talked about life and we read Scripture when it was brought up. I shared from James 1:2-5 and told them what my teacher had taught me that week. It was good fellowship and they both hugged and kissed us when we left. And Jonelle was craving to pray together so towards the end we prayed for them and some people they wanted us to pray for.
I think that my favorite way to disciple my volunteers is to take them with me and show them how to start conversations and encourage people and then push them to take ownership of it…
Birchwood | Kailey
Birchwood was so great this week! We had 30+ volunteers, which, coming off of last week where we had very few kids, that felt very intimidating.
However, we had a lot of kids, so it worked out well! It gave us the opportunity to pick up trash, and it allowed me as a site leader to interact with volunteers, since all of the work was being done. We did a lot of sledding again, and the lesson was well delivered and well received. I reviewed some of the information from last week, and they really responded well! 😀
Because CampusSERVE defined the four goals/successes for the volunteer, I think people had something to guide their actions and approach. I challenged the team to pick their strength and weakness from the list, and walk in both of them intentionally this week. This opened up a lot of room for conversation and growth among our team. Overall our week was fun, productive, and encouraging! We had a great turnout of kids and volunteers, and I am so blessed to have a team of 30 people who come out consistently.
Langview | Tim
We had some fun today in the snow. A lot of kids were out despite the cold (mostly boys). We had a bunch of new volunteers that fit in well. Me and 2 other guys will be taking some kids to the basketball game on Tuesday.
My heart is hurting for the family that was broken in Langview a couple of weeks ago. The six year-old girl seemed really upset for much of the morning. The ten year old girl mentioned that she didn’t get a chance to say goodbye.
Greenfield | Elisa
I am so thankful to have a weekend without a blizzard! Even though the ratio of Liberty students to kids was about two to one, we filled our time with plenty of snowball-making and the like. Eli headed up the lesson today with a focus on God as the creator of fun, and once again we put Kimayha in charge of passing out the cookies. I appreciate her willingness to do it… I did get to have an interesting conversation with Jaylin about Satan’s origin and was very surprised to find out how much he already knew! And of course I was ecstatic to hear little Darius chime in, “The Devil’s bad; I don’t like him.”
The Meadows | Matt
Today went really well overall. Kids were able to come out by the mobs once again, and we had a pretty solid crew of volunteers including six or seven first-timers. Things went smoothly, though we decided for Amanda to not give the lesson early as planned due to the kids being far too excited about us being there and snow. It worked out pretty well, as we had time to repeatedly physically punish kids in football and snow-ballin’, re-establish relationships, and fill 4 ginormous bags with trash.
The lesson was on Valentine’s Day and God’s love and was not given till the very end. It didn’t go as well as I’d hoped and really brought to light our need for a focused, contextualized lesson plan for the semester, as compared with bouncing around and switching gears from one week to the next. We closed by having small group prayer time, which God continued to use to build deeper relationships between our volunteers and the kids.
…I’m especially excited to see God move in ways beyond our imaginations and hopes this semester!
Respond | Krystal
Today was so AWESOME!!! All of Respond seemed very excited to see the families in Greenfield again. Sam and I spoke with the team before we assigned cars about how we want to REALLY get to know them as well as the Greenfield community. Sam and I organized and presented an excel spreadsheet with categories (Name of Person, Bldg & Apt #, Goals God has laid on your heart for this person, Focus Scripture for the week, Salvation status, Physical Needs, Prayer Requests, and Your Prayer Requests/Concerns).
With that mindset, we split into groups and went out to old and new relationships. The volunteers returned a few minutes earlier, so we could get back to the Rot to DEBRIEF. The Debriefing was awesome! One of the volunteers met the same guy he had witnessed to in the mall the previous week. Also, another group of volunteers was able to buy groceries for a Christian lady in the community who needed encouragement. Likewise, another lady in the community expressed her concern with the violence, prostitution, rebellion, and desperation all around her. We were able to pray with her and encourage her to join the Bible studies.
The Bible studies are still fluctuating, but they are making and will continue to make an impact, preparing the men and women of Greenfield to be LIGHTS in their own neighborhood. We still have not found a central place to meet up, so at times we don’t get to see all of the families that we’ve connected with, but we still have HOPE for greater things. God is really moving, and the volunteers are so COMMITTED and DEDICATED.
We’re really going DEEP and WIDE this semester; we are setting deeper relationships based on the Gospel, and we’re reaching a lot more families with the limited time we have. Overall, it was so wonderful to see God moving in Greenfield, even in the midst of despair. I’m truly excited for RESPOND!
Brookside | Jaci
Another fun and interesting day at Brookside. We had a big football game with about 20 students and older boys going on in the street and then everyone else building a pretty sweet two room snow fort. The numbers were large with both volunteers and kids. There were also about three or four parents outside too. It was funny watching the guys play football and great to see the students connecting with and having fun with the boys.
…Gabby had the opportunity to talk to the same mom after prayer and she shared a lot with her about the community. She told Gabby that some of the families leave there kids locked out after school and she takes them in and feeds them…
I was told all of this in the car, so I need to call Rich and talk to him about it. I know that the best thing I can do right now is to be diligently praying for him and his family.
College Hill | Grace
College Hill was rough starting up logistically today. As we went to go pick up the kids we were able to talk to this young man, and he saw that we had basketballs with us and said if it was not so (insert-expletive) cold outside he would come play! That was really exciting and a further confirmation that when we go out, we need to actually have in our hands what we are going to do and invite people specifically to do A, B, or C especially with older kids, teenagers and adults.
And my volunteers really showed up and talked to the man for a while, asking him questions about teams, how long he had been playing etc…It was just so great, to be back in the College Hill and see kids that I have not seen in two plus weeks. Another young man Bradley, that Scott and I talked to last Thursday, was there on Saturday am and God just really has laid him on my heart. In a world where truth is relative, how do people wade through lies and get to the truth? That thought really brought brokenness to my heart and desperation for God to do a work in my life so I can be demonstrating the gospel to him consistently.
Yoder | Alyssa
We had about eight of us who went out to Yoder and prayed together and then split up into groups to go out and get the kids while I went to a house with another girl (Dawn) to visit a lady we met a few weeks ago. The lady wasn’t home so my friend Dawn and I headed back to the site to get some paper so that we could write her a note. The other groups came back and there was no one with them. No kids were able to come out – they said that either they had moved, weren’t home, or their parents wouldn’t let them come out.
It was slightly discouraging at first. But we all sat/stood around in a circle and I got a piece of paper out and I had them all give me their advice and suggestions for the site. We worked through what we could do better and how we could delegate out jobs and how we could reach the community. We talked about having a plan B each week to go out and be HELPS if no kids were able to come out and we talked about what we could do with the kids. It was a productive time together and I am thankful to the Lord that we had that opportunity Saturday. We each prayed for different aspects of the community and ministry…
Dearington | Brandon
Saturday was a good day for us even with all the snow/ice covering our field. This time I had a chance to go in to the houses and talk with families and what-not. It was a good time and I met a few more people today whom I haven’t seen there before in the neighborhood. As we made it back to the field I was a little unsure of how all the activities would play out because of all the snow. But it didn’t seem to put a damper on anything. The children decided to play games of tag and try to climb the snow mounds, others even played a little basketball and threw the footballs around, while the rest stayed under the canopy and did some arts and crafts or talked. Like I said it was much better than I expected.
I even heard a story about one of the little girls who decided she wanted to collect ice-sickels and eat them. Kristin told her that they had dirt in them and probably were not a good idea to eat because they were dirty. The girl responded “God made dirt, dirt don’t hurt. Pick it up and make it work!” I thought that was pretty funny. Today we also decided to hand out CampusSERVE hearts for Valentine’s day that had our logo on the outside along with “Know that you’re always loved” on it. Inside we put the verse 1 John 4:10 (MSG). We were able to get one to every door!
Our apologies for canceling so late, but we will not be going out this morning/afternoon.
Why not get out tomorrow morning and do something purposeful?
CampusSERVE is still on. Help-Portrait is postponed.
DeMoss 1114 | 10:00a
Even in SNOW – we have the best volunteers at CampusSERVE. Almost 80 people went out with us this weekend in the snow and their stories are below. Keep up to the minute with us by following on twitter here: www.twitter.com/CampusSERVE or join our Facebook group here: http://www.facebook.com/search/?q=campusserve&init=quick#/group.php?gid=2200892681&ref=search&sid=55709564.256652204..1
Langview | Tim | 1/30
I discovered a saddening piece of information this morning as well. [Name Removed], who I have been getting to know a bit over the last year (the guy that rides the bike), apparently left his family this week. I asked the 6 year old girl where he was, and she responded, “He’s not coming back here no more.” This is a really rough situation, as that family of 3 girls under 14 have been left by multiple father figures (they all have different fathers).
Also, I was urging a couple of 6-7 year-olds to go inside because of the cold when we were going to leave, but they weren’t allowed because people were having sex on the couch (it was about 15 degrees out and the kids were not properly equipped to be outside).
The only positive I really have from this morning is that we told some people about the Help-Portrait, and had a couple of good conversations.
God is still good. This was a rough morning.
College Hill | Grace | 1/30
CampusSERVE was cold today. One girl came out to play, and we ended taking her back because she was wearing a sweatshirt only. We got downtown and really shocked people by our presence. We handed out hot chocolate packets and fruit snacks to people on the street and in their homes. And some groups were even invited enjoy the hot chocolate with families : ).
We talked about Help-Portrait and people sounded really interested. Scott and I are going back down to College Hill this Wednesday to make sure everyone knows about the event and has all the information that they need.
Huge prayer request: Some LU students have been able to really build relationship with a woman and her kids this past semester. She used to live in greenfield and is really skeptical of CampusSERVE. She let Jared and Cathrine into her home today and told them her story and her most pressing needs. It was a huge answer to pray. She told us that she unfortunately passed an STD to her one year old daughter who is going to pretty much need extensive treatment the rest of her life and it is expensive. So just pray, that God would really give us wisdom and discernment on how we can meet her needs- physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
[Editor’s note: do we have the audacity to believe God will answer this? Let’s pray to that end. “It’s so powerful to think that CampusSERVE’s ministry is God’s answer to so many people’s prayers in this city.”]
Yoder | Alyssa | 1/30
I was thankful that you asked us to question our motives this morning, Kevin. Thank you for that reminder! So, Deidre, Kendra, and Kevin Ng showed up for Yoder and I was thankful for them. I caught a ride with Grace this morning to CampusSERVE because my parents told me that I wasn’t allowed to drive , so we didn’t have a car at our site… Kevin went to another site, Kendra and De stayed and prayed and I went to College Hill with Grace. It was nice to see Gracie and Scott and work and see what their site is like.
Greenfield | Elisa | 1/30
While initially I regretted even venturing out into the snow because of the road conditions, the seven of us that showed up were able to pass out plenty of Help-Portrait fliers to friends and strangers alike. Interestingly enough, four out of the seven of us were new to CampusSERVE and I’m hoping that their diligence in coming on one of the most inclement days will carry over to the rest of the semester. I was able to see a few of my favorite kids including Nasir who proves to be either our best and/or worst behaved kid each Saturday. He was as sweet as can be today; the poor thing is probably just staved for attention!
Brookside | Jaci | 1/30
Yesterday six of us made it out to Brookside and when we got there only a few people were out. Rich helped shovel for a lady and I played with her son C.J. The others knocked on doors and handed out fliers. In the end we had about 8-10 kids come out and play. We had a fun time packing down snow and sliding down in trash bags!
Alexis, who is 10, came over and told me that her mom thought we were crazy for coming out, but was so thankful we did. She then invited all six of us into her house to eat some amazing pasta and garlic bread that she cooked for us. She also made us all hot chocolate. It was nice to be able to talk to her and get to know her. It was a great blessing to be able to go in the house and receive food and warmth.
Dearington | Danielle | 1/30
Corey, Nick and I drove to Dearington, unsure of what what might be happening there. Would families be playing in the snow or would they be hiding out in their warm houses? Everyone must have been warm because we walked into a ghost town.
We were able to connect with several families and tell them about Help-Portrait. One single mom, Jessica was very excited about getting a picture with her four children before her son graduates in May. One other mom had a huge smile on her face and replied “That’s wassup”. =)
We met two new families and helped one of them dig their car out of the snow. Corey and Nick also shoveled Ms. Atkinson’s walkway. She was precious and requested prayer for herself and family. I can’t wait to visit with her again.