By Rachel Lackups, SPO JCCC Mission Leader
Alone. Fear. Anxiety. Excitement. Confusion. Perseverance. Community.
These are all things that pass through the mind of an incoming freshman during the first week of school, each of them fresh off the high school boat and ready for adventure. Saint Paul’s Outreach hit the campus of Johnson County Community College (JCCC) ready to find those men and women and call them into true relationship with God. Our tactics were yard games, free food, frisbee, and laughter. Our driving force was the Holy Spirit, and our success was dramatic. By “our”, of course, I mean the work of the Lord, which was evident at the end of each day when all we could do was stand back in pure awe at what He had done.
Each day we had around 70 people stop and join our corn hole competition, try out the slackline, or enter into conversation instead of staring at their phones as they walked to class. One woman commented on how welcoming our group was:
“You guys are so open to everybody, and make each of us feel welcome and a part of you no matter what we believe in.”
Our tag line for the week was, “We’re Catholic, but you do not have be Catholic to hang out with us.” In order to proclaim the Gospel, we must first build trust and this was happening every moment of the week. If you stood back and did a quick survey, you would see each person included in a game or conversation, smiles shining forth.
In addition to building community on campus, we had our first SPOken event, which included an exhortation, time of worship, and lunch. The 30 students that came responded boldly to the call of Christ. Anthony, a Mission Leader at JCCC, spoke of turning back to God after a summer of separation from Him. He discussed that no matter what happened this past summer, even though we may have fallen away from prayer, had a hard time of isolation, wasted away our days with T.V. shows, or had a fruitful summer of service, God was calling us back to His heart. We answered this call with a short time of worship thanking God for His mercy and constant love in our lives.
The result of all of this is still revealing itself, but currently we have 50 men and women signed up for small groups, which begin this coming Monday. God is moving strongly at JCCC and we cannot wait to see what He has in store for this year.
Please pray for us as we continue to meet students, build community, and call them into a life rooted in Christ.