The “In the City for the City” summer project just ended. We had an amazing month where our team spent hundreds of ours serving various parts of the community and sharing the gospel through multiple outreaches and efforts. The students who took part said they’ve never experienced anything like this. “It was eye-opening” for them to face the reality of mission outside of their campus life. This was a very common feedback we got: “Over the years being involved in student ministry in our church or in campus ministry, we had never been prepared to do real-life ministry outside of the reality of our campus world. This summer project is the very first time we have experienced the reality of ministry in the city which is gonna be our future environment.” During this month we took students out of their “green house” environment (protected, controlled, artificial, temporary campus-life) and introduce them to the reality of mission in the city, which is like an “open field” (chaotic, uncontrollable, yet that is their permanent future). Here are two examples out of the many ways we immerse and prepare students during this project to be ready to do mission in their life-long environment.
Voices Unsilenced: Causing Evil Things to Die
Where Jesus is present, evil things will die. At an outreach event, called “Voices Unsilenced” (picture above) we provided opportunities for students to face the evil things around them, understand how the power of the gospel will cause those evil things to die and envision them how they can be a part of this redemptive story. We do this by inviting leaders to share their personal stories, passion, burden and how the gospel brought redemption into these brokennesses.
- We invited Christy to share her story. She is a former prostitute who had been trafficked and later rescued and saved. She is the founder of Veronica’s Voice, an anti-human-trafficking organization aiming to rescue girls from prostitution. We’ve heard from her the staggering reality that the average age of girls forced into prostitution in the U.S. is age 13! And that 20% of man are “buyers” of these girls.
- We invited Travis to speak about how internet pornography destroyed his life and marriage and how God redeemed him and restored his marriage.
- We invited Greg to hear his experience how racial division can be healed and what gives him hope.
- All these stories came with the same question: “Where Jesus is present, evil things will die. What evil things will die, because you existed?”
Voices Unsilenced provides vision and opportunity for students to immerse themselves into life-changing ministries in the city as they learn to share the gospel through these opportunities.
Story of the Soul: "Can I Change?"
Using arts (movies, songs, poetry) is a way to identify the longing and the wounds of the soul. Back in Hungary we’ve used “Story of the Soul”, a coffee-house type of outreach event to invite people to a round-table to discuss certain pieces of arts and through that communicate the gospel to them. As part of this summer project two Sundays ago we had a “Story of the Soul” event (picture above). The topic we’ve discussed using arts was: “Can I Change?” After watching, hearing and discussing some pieces of arts, Dave Robinson shared his personal story of how God has changed him. 150 people came and 100 filled out a comment card. 3 of those indicated a decision for Christ! Here are some of the comments:
- Marsha wrote this: “This changed my life”. She has expressed how she had no idea why she really came to Story of the Soul. She was discouraged. She had just been ripped off by a car selling scam on Craig’s List, and felt hopeless.
- J. who indicated a decision of faith in Christ wrote this: “It was amazing. I love it! One of my favorite parts was getting to know people.”
- “This was power-changing and moving. Would love to do it again! I was not expecting it to be like this. Thank you!”
- “This was a thought provoking way of talking about how we think about what is important and who we are as people. Thank you!”
- “At first it was awkward walking in, being my first visit, but once I got invited to sit with a group I didn’t feel as anxious. Now I feel I immediately have new friends and my next visit will already know people. My story is very similar to David’s.” (Julie)
As you receive this email we’ll be on the plane flying back to Hungary.
- We’ll take part in “SpeakOut” summer project. Gabor has several speaking assignments. Pray for those opportunities to be used by God to encourage students and staff.
- Edina will meet with several of her former disciples to encourage them on their continued journey with God in the midst of the challenges of life.
- Our parents are aging and they need some help from us, especially Gabor’s mom. Pray that we would be able to assist them well during that short time. Our distance is challenging for them.
- We’ll fly home to Kansas City on August 4th. That’s when Rahel will arrive as well and finally we will see her after 8 months. She'll be with us until Aug 30th. Renato won’t be back in KC before August 21st. The only 3 days our whole family will spend together this year is August 22-25 as Gabor has a conference starting on the 26th. Pray that we would have a very special 3 days as a family together.
- In August (26-30) we’ll have our National Leadership Team conference - pray for the preparation and for a fruitful time together.