In Christianity, we often hear of people taking a next step (i.e. baptism, Bible study, personal time in prayer, etc.) However, I think more important than just taking the next step is stepping up to what God has called us to do. While small measurable steps are great there are times in life where God moves us to a whole new level of faith. We were hoping and praying last week would be one of those times and God answered in some really cool ways.
Our time in West Virginia was incredible. 55 students and 8 leaders spent the week near Beckley, West Virginia. I’m so thankful for a church that encourages and supports our students.
The first 3 days we spent with Alpine Ministries an organization that seeks to use the outdoors to teach biblical principles and team work. We wanted to lay a foundation of working and serving together that would be helpful during the end of the week. Whitewater rafting, high ropes course and caving/rappelling were used to teach the students. The last 4 days we spent at various local ministries: Pine Haven Homeless Shelter, Women’s Resource Center, Brian’s Safe House, and Hope Springs Farm. We were also able to attend Grace Baptist Church in Beckley which helped start Hope Springs Farm.
Each night we spent over an hour teaching/discussing areas of our lives we need to Step Up. Here are the following areas (one each night) Step up in your devotion, Step up in your love, Step up in your hope, Step up to be a man/woman, Step up in your service, Step up in your faith. Our intern Kyle Fox taught the first 2 nights and I taught the last 4. We saw some tremendous life change among our students. Most importantly, 2 of our students crossed over from death to life by trusting Jesus Christ as their Savior!
I could have gone home and been happy but here is my favorite story from trip. The West Bridge compassion team gave our students $1,000 to step up and bless someone in West Virginia. After working all day at the Pine Haven Homeless Shelter we found out that 2 of their biggest needs are bath towels for the residents and silverware. They are currently housing anywhere between 150-190 people at any given time. The students decided to go to Walmart and buy 50 bath towels and 10 sets of silverware. Those items came to $300.
The additional $700 was given to Hope Springs Farm. In WV so many kids are abandoned/orphaned for a variety of reasons. Poverty, drugs, you name it. The state system takes care of them in some form or fashion till they’re 18. One local church discovered that the 18-21 year old age group of orphaned kids especially struggle to make the transition to adulthood. They have no job skills and limited education with no family support.
Hope Springs was started in March to help house and disciple these young adults and try and train them in a skill as well. The students worked on many projects at the farm and they fell in love with the place. The $700 will be put towards renovating a large barn to help house up to 10 more boys. We built a fence, cleared a field, set up a new trail, painted, built a sign, weed-eated fence rows, etc.
The students were frustrated they couldn’t give more to Hope Springs, so unbeknownst to me they decided they would collect money between themselves. They came up with an additional $400 to give. Some kids gave sacrificially, even giving up their money to eat dinner on the way home.
This group of students is not the church of tomorrow, they are the church of today. I’m excited to see how God will use these students in the future! Thank your for your prayers and support of Student Ministries here at West Bridge!
(Here are the towels and silverware sets we bought for Pine Haven Homeless shelter)