Written by Nathan Hood. Media by James Menk.
God works through some of the strangest things, and it’s always amazing to see what He is up to–especially when you can be involved. Recently there has been an outcry on campus for more outreach opportunities and I am personally thrilled that more and more people are anxious to join the work that God is doing and wants to do through the students on our campus. I hope this article introduces you to a new opportunity, as well as informs you on the things that students are doing.
I’m currently reading a book entitled More or Less by Jeff Shinabager (I highly recommend this book to anyone (it will change your life)) and it has brought awareness of the abundance of resources that I have in my life and how simple it is to bless others through that excess. The book challenges us face the question “What is enough?” When we begin to face what is enough to survive, we see how much we have beyond that. This is our excess. What if we took all these extra things in our lives and instead of stockpiling them for our own comfort, we directed them into putting Christ’s love into action in our community and our world?
“Okay Nathan, we get it, we all have extra clothes, food, etc… and people in our community need those things for survival.” Yes, but that’s not my only point. At this place in our lives there is one thing that we all have in excess: time. What if we watched a fewer episodes on the old Netflix box and gave back? We might not have the resources now to support a sponsor child on a monthly basis, or start an organization that provides fresh water to people that don’t already have access to it. All this thinking sparks the idea to dive into the things our fellow students are doing to serve Christ, and share it with you all, in hopes of connecting someone else with an opportunity to give out of their excess.
The Simple Room is currently working with around 65 college students in their ministry to our community. Students are involved in mentoring youth in the community, helping with homework, or even just hanging out and playing video games with a kid that can use someone to spend time with. Students involved at the Simple Room have seen their excess in free time, and are changing lives through that.
Connect Four is going to East St. Louis three days a week. I met with about 10 of the Connect Four participants from campus this past week and they told me of the great needs they are trying to meet. They facilitate activities for students in East St. Louis of all ages. They are helping some of these students with ACT Prep, some of which still are struggling with reading skills. Connect Four members are also seeing opportunities to talk about Jesus to these students. Connect Four members gives one or two evenings a week to give someone else a greater chance to succeed in life.
Last Saturday I joined Habitat for Humanity on the house they are helping build for a family in Sorento. I was blessed by the students and community members that give their Saturdays how through their excess are providing for a family in need.
Urban Plunge just took students to bless the St. Louis community, and last week we packed shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child. Vespers is providing opportunities this year to give from our excess of money every Thursday night. Even this recently Vespers was organizing a group a students to serve through something as simple as raking leaves.
These are just a few of the outreaches I have been blessed by on our campus in the past couple of weeks. I am thrilled to hear students wanting to see our campus doing more, and we all find opportunities like these and many others to further God’s kingdom today, with the resources we have today. If you are interested in any of these things opportunities or other ways you can get involved don’t hesitate to contact Gina Brooks or me! We can get you connected.