I can't believe H2O has been around for 10 years! God has done some amazing things on this campus over the past 10 years and this past Saturday we got to celebrate that! We invited all of our supporters and alumni of H2O to join us for this celebration. We invited Matt Hildrebran, the man who planted the church and the original pastor, to come back and we got to hear from him. We got to see past students who have graduated and are now advancing God's kingdom in many ways. We had some supporters there who got to experience a little more of what H2O is all about and what doing church on a college campus is like. God has done, and is continuing to do some awesome things. Some of those things this year have been fall getaway, our life group, and discipling Julia and Lydia!
Fall getaway was an amazing time of just connecting with our life group on a much greater level. It helped them get comfortable with us and just want to be all in. This year Ben and I are leading the TAP life group. TAP is the transition and access program. UC's website has the following description of TAP. "TAP provides a four-year college experience for individuals with mild to moderate intellectual or developmental disabilities. Students live in the residence halls, attend classes, engage in vocational internships and participate in an active social life." Several members of TAP have been active members of our church for years now, and we wanted to create a more direct method for them to learn about community, the Bible, and God. Leading this life group has come with some challenges, but it also has brought great rewards and blessings. I love all of the TAP students and have learned a great deal from them, and it has been a joy watching all of them learn and grow. In the picture above is just a few of the students involved in our life group, we have about 10 who come on a regular basis to learn more about the word of God. I have loved getting to love all of these students, it fills my heart with so much joy. I look forward to our life group time every week!
(No recent pictures of Julia and I exist I guess so here are some older ones.)
Discipling Lydia (pictured on the left) And Julia (pictured above) has been one of my highlights of the semester. I have known them both for at least two years but over this past year just being acquaintances turned into discipleship, which has now turned into great friendships! God has used them both greatly in my life and I in theirs. I am so thankful for them both and the joy they bring to my life. God knows actually what we need and always brings it at the right time! Discipling them and having friendships with them is such a blessing, I'm excited to see what God will continue to do in and through them!
Here's what Julia has to say about our friendship... "Friendship can be seen, felt, and learned many different ways. Many people have a skewed idea of what friendship is, which looks more like comrades or acquaintances￼. However, as I have gotten to know Sarah I can see the clear difference between those things and a true friendship. Sarah, has been the most encouraging and loving person in my life. She is someone I can look up to, as I have seen the way God has worked in her life and grew her as an individual. Our friendship has even grown me to be more trusting in God and patient with others. Sarah’s love for others is infectious and a beautiful glimpse of God’s love for us. It is clear God’s love flows through Sarah as it then overflows onto others. The best part of being friends with Sarah is she is always there for people, no matter the circumstance or time. She is patient with them and listens well. She listens to people to hear them, instead of listening to reply. She cares for her friends and does this through small gifts, such has their favorite candy, or a new book! Sarah’s friendship means never feeling alone or judged, and feeling safe in her kind-hearted presence. She is one of the most amazing women I have had the privilege of getting to know and she has helped influence my growth as an individual. The most beautiful part of my friendship with Sarah is how clearly the Lord works through us to each other. Without any prior knowledge we always reach out to one another in perfect times. These times are when we need a friend most. Whether we are having a tough day or just need to be around another person. We are able to communicate and understand one another even if the words are not always there. I’m grateful for my friendship with her and all that has, and will continue to, teach me. She is one of my best friends and I am so thankful to learn and grow, with her by my side."
God has been teaching me a great deal this year. One of the biggest things is what it means to abide in him. We often ask the question "what is God's will for my life?" We get so focused on what we are suppose to do what God wants us to do. We get so fixated on this question that we forget that what God really cares about is us he cares about our hearts. The hope of the gospel is not that we would make better choices but that we would become better people. God cares more about who are and becoming then what we are doing. "And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." (2 Corinthians 3:18 NIV) God wants to transform us into his image so instead of asking the question "what do you want me to do?" we should ask "who do you want me to be." The way we find the answer to this question is through his word through abiding in Him. We must run to Him to know who we are to become and as we learn who we are we learn what the right decisions are. God wants your heart, he wants you to be transformed he doesn't just want the right decisions to be made. This year has been a year of learning what it means to abide in Christ, learning what it means to be made in His image, learning that he doesn't want what I do He wants me.
Other exciting news, our staff team is growing! We have almost doubled in size over the past year, this is a huge answer to prayers. Please continue to pray that God would grow our team. The two photographed on the left are our newest staff members who just started the support raising process, please be praying for them.
God is doing some amazing things on this campus and if you would like to be a part of that please consider joining my financial team. In order to do the work we do on this campus we rely on generous people to come beside us and support us. If you are interested please visit www.reliant.org/sarah.berger or email me to find other ways you can help! H2O would not exist without the generosity of others.
Please pray for Lydia and I as we pursue going on an over-seas mission trip for this coming summer. Nothing is finalized yet but I am really excited and hopeful that this is a new and exciting next step to discipleship and friendship for us. More details to come!
Be praying that God will continue to grow our staff team more specifically that he would bring more women on the team.
Pray for all our students as they begin to decide what spring break trips they will be taking. The mission trips that we offer over spring break can be life changing and have new experiences and challenges for students and their walk with God.
We have many students who cannot afford spring break trips but want to go. If you feel God put it on your heart to help sponsor someone please feel free to write a check to H2O Church, in the memo write spring break, and send it to 2379 Wheeler Street, Apt 3, Cincinnati, OH 45219. We never want money to be the reason someone does not come on a trip.