#cefjacksontn – As I think about the summer, I am so very thankful that things are starting to look more like “normal.” Normal is an illusive concept even now though due to COVID-19. Yet, this summer put us back on track to share the glorious Gospel message with the hundreds of children in Central West Tennessee. This year, our summer intern, Jess Bogle, wrote articles from her perspective that appear on our website. However, I felt that I should add a little to the story, not because she did not do a good job, but because I am aware of certain things that she was privy to.
First, I would encourage you to watch the “memory video” that is posted on another page. It helps you appreciate the hard work that our team did this summer. Oh and about this summer, it was VERY HOT most of the summer! We worked outside at a few locations and it drained the team on occasion. Our summer ministry season consisted of a full week of training with students from across the state. We then took a week to finalize some of our plans and then jumped headlong into five straight weeks of ministry. Here are a few points of interest that I would like to make comments about:
- We had three awesome young people to share in the work this summer. Jess Bogle was our team leader and is a Union University student. Elijah Rogers worked with us for multiple weeks. Caleb Santhosh also worked multiple weeks. This was his second summer to volunteer with us. Both of these young men are very mature for their ages.
- We also had two of our local ministry committee members work with the team. Dinah Hufstedler did an awesome job assisting with the teachings on prayer and Brent Varner added greatly to three locations by performing his Professor Poppy Gospel Illusion Show. Naturally, the Gospel is no illusion, but he is very good at sleight of hand tricks. He does these as he shares scripture and makes powerful spiritual points. Brent is featured in many of our party club experiences.
- Let me point out clearly that we counselled with dozens of children and shared the message of salvation every day and in every place that we ministered to. This year we worked in seven brand new locations with lots of younger and at time, immature, children. We did not see the typical response of several children receiving Christ, but we planted Gospel seeds everywhere we went. We prayed with children for all sorts of reasons and did our best to encourage them with the love of Christ in our hearts.
- There were occasions where we had 4 or 5 children come to our activities and sometimes we were able to minister to 95 children all at once. We worked inside and outside. We used technology to our benefit and sometimes used old-school hand-held materials to teach our lessons. This summer we were all over the map, so to speak, with our approach. I am thankful that our team was able to adapt and kept pressing on. They were outstanding!
- For most of the new locations, our team would walk in the heat to hand out invitations and place flyers on apartment doors the week prior to our coming. They never grumbled but put in the extra work with cheerful hearts.
So, let me finish by telling you that we were blessed this summer. We worked hard and broke new ground. We also formed new partnerships with the Salvation Army and the Jackson Housing Authority. The week in Alamo was also a first. To my knowledge, our work with the Crockett County Alumni at the Kaleidoscope Camp was the first time we have had official ministry activities there. There is probably a lot more to say, but if you wish to hear it, buy me a cup of coffee and we’ll chat about it in person 🙂