When we first shut down due to the pandemic it was hard. As time went on some questions kept coming up. What are we going to do now? How can we still build relationships with students? These were difficult to answer not only because our old way of ministering had to be set aside but also because we weren’t sure how long we would be in this situation.
As with all changes it was hard to sort through details. Making a covid-19 plan was foreign and obscure but we formed one and made steps forward in our ministry plan as well.
Little did we realize the ways that God had been providing for us. I had been on the job for only a few months and was just beginning to get into the swing of things. God had placed people and opportunities in front of me that would be essential for what was to come. We now consider MSU extension, the Loop Coding Center, Sleep in Heavenly Peace, and Cadets our partners. And this all happened during the pandemic.
Even though we were finding ways to minister we missed the connection that we used to have with students. Thanks to one of our board members God provided an answer. It was so simple, so obvious that we had missed it. Until now we operated under the concept that students will come to us. After all, we have the building, games, crafts, and of course, basketball hoop. But now we were considering taking a step out of the door of our facility and meeting the students outside.
This began our Tuesday afternoon Refuel Station. Even in the coldest of weather we go outside with to grill hot dogs and share a sack lunch with any student who will come. And at the end of the table is a box of full-size candy bars. Anyone who memorizes the Bible verse of the week gets one. To our excitement students now ask us about the Bible verse if we forget to mention it. They even stick around for us to explain it to them. We now have bus drivers, parents, and even a man who lives in the motel next to us coming every Tuesday for their hot dog and they are receiving the gospel as they hear our discussion. So, I’m asking myself why it is so hard to step outside and go to our neighbors. Seeing the fruit that comes from stepping out of our comfort zones or even outside of our building shows the love of Christ to others. Maybe we need to shed our bubble more often even in the smallest of ways so that God will use us and we will see God at work.
Our mission statement says we are here to impact students and transform our community by sharing Christ’s love. We are fulfilling that simply by stepping outside and going to the people. How is it that this simple and age-old concept could seem so fresh and new? May we never forget this. Oh, and stop by some Tuesday at 3:00 to meet our neighbors.
Submitted by Craig Van Hill