We just started our new school year, and I am beyond excited to see what God has in store for H2O, the students, and myself! Before I share with you about blitz week, I want to share some exciting personal news with you. Starting this fall I have dropped my weekly work hours down to 30 so that I can go to school. I will be getting a degree in Christian Ministry from the Regent University. I felt God calling me to go to school last spring. I was not super thrilled about it at first but after praying and talking to close friends, my heart was softened and eventually I became excited about the idea. Since January, God has taught me so much I wouldn't even know where to begin if I were to tell you everything He has taught me. I can say though, that I know He will continue to teach me through this new journey. When I graduated High School, I didn't want to go to college because I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I had no direction or vision, no particular passion for anything. Then God called me to Cincinnati almost six years ago today and lead me to H2O. I've been on staff for almost five years now and I know that this... this is what I want to do with the rest of my life. I want to be involved in vocational ministry until the day that I die. I hope that is with H2O but we'll see where God leads Ben and I in the future. No matter where He leads us though I want to be heavily involved with a ministry so why would I not want to take the time and money to invest in that and learn more and better skills? That is why I chose to go back to school and have chosen to major in Christian Ministry. I want to disciple others the way Jesus did. I want to teach people the way Jesus did. I feel like the best way to do that is going to school, learning more about the Bible, and learning more mentoring, discipleship, and coaching skills. As amazing and exciting as this new path is, I'm also a little nervous. Financially it will be difficult, but I know God will provide for us. Mostly I'm nervous because school was always a struggle for me. Tests were difficult and reading always took me twice as long as everyone else. I know God will provide for me in this way too, but honestly it is a more terrifying endeavor to put into the hands of God than finances are. Being a support based missionary you learn fast to trust God will provide the money you need. If you would like to help in the financial aspect of this journey I ask that you prayerfully consider either joining my financial team, increasing your current gift, or sending a special one time gift. Every dollar will be helpful. If you cannot financially help your prayers are much needed, probably needed more, so please continue to pray for me.
Now on to move-in week or as we call it blitz week. The first two weeks of school are crazy busy. We have so much going on to engage the new students coming in. We want to make sure everyone knows there is a church on campus just waiting for them.
To kick everything off, we always have a leaders retreat the weekend before blitz week. This was our sixth annual leaders retreat. It's an amazing time of worship, community, and preparation for the two weeks to follow. The picture to the left has most of our leaders for this new year. We had a couple who couldn't make it but we are so thankful for them all. They help so much in making H2O run so smoothly and productively. We couldn't do all we do without them!
The first three days of blitz week are move in days for new students, so all of the freshman are moving in the dorms. Those days we hand out water with informational cards listing all of our upcoming events. We also help them move in, wait in line at the elevators, or walk up 12 flights of stairs carrying giant rugs. We just want to serve the students and their parents in any way we can. We also have a table where they can sign up if they want to learn more about H2O. In the evenings of those days we play frisbee for hours with dozens and dozens of different students. It gives us an opportunity to connect with the students in a less formal way, and allows many of us to make friendships and establish connections with people outside our church family. By the end of those three, days it's surprising if someone hasn't heard of H2O.
One of our favorite and biggest events is late night pancakes. Our student leaders love to come help with this event. Friday and Saturday night from 10pm-12am we serve free pancakes. We have been so blessed by the Cincinnati Area Baptist Association (CABA), and have a ministry house that they let us use, which is right next to all the fraternity houses. It's the perfect place to give out free food on a night when many students are out late at parties. While all the houses around us are having parties we are serving them with pancakes and conversations. It's such a fun and unique way that we get to love and serve them. We served about 1100 plates of pancakes this year. That is so many students who came through that we got to have conversations with and hopefully left feeling the love of Christ.
Dodgeball is our other huge event, we have so many students who show up for this event. We had 45 teams of 6 show up this year. That is 9 more teams than last year! That is also 270 people coming just to play. We also have a lot of people who come to just watch, or are helping serve at the event. This event takes a lot to pull off but it is so worth it, we get connected to so many new students just from this event.
First Sunday!! We had our first Sunday back in Lindner and it was an awesome time of worship! We had 271 students who came and got to hear the gospel. We served Chipotle after service to help build connections and community with all the students who seem interested. We know that not all will stay involved, but we hope and pray that they all hear the Gospel and it remains with them. That's why we serve food after service to help give us more opportunities to connect with them and draw them in with the love of Christ.
Due to rain, a couple of our other big events have been postponed so be praying for those!
Our year has just begun and God has so much in store for us all, I pray that we are all ready and willing to go where God wants us and do what He asks of us, both here at H2O and in the church as a whole!
* That God would continue to provide for Ben and I financially. (Website to right if interested)
* That he will help us to find rest in Him in our crazy lives and that we would find time for each other still.
* We have a couple new staff members coming on our team soon but first they have to support raise. So prayers for them that God would provide for them and give them peace and comfort in what can often be a difficult time for people.
* That God would continue to be the leader of our Church, and that everything we do would be for Him and His kingdom and that we would never lose sight of that.