Servant Life Blog

Recently we welcomed 10 college students to our offices to train, equip, and prepare as they are sent out on mission for the summer. On the heels of the inaugural A1eight Project summer last year, we could not be more thrilled to introduce the college students who make up this year’s A1eight Project mid-term teams.

As mentioned in previous posts that you can find HERE, the A1eight Project is sending college students as summer long missionaries and teaming them up with our partners already on the field. By supporting the local missionaries each day, they will be helping to host the short term Servant Life teams each week.

Asking yourself how you can be a part? If you are between the ages of 18-25, we would love for you to apply the A1eight Project, summer 2017. Click here for the application! You can spend your summer ministering in countries like Bulgaria, Kenya, Guatemala, Canada, DR/ Haiti and more. This summer, A1eight teams will be serving in Guatemala and New York city!

As teams serve in these places, we ask primarily that you would join us in praying for these 10 students. Ask for endurance for the summer as well as hearts and hands that are prone to love those around them.

Get to know these summer missionaries! Each was asked to share something about themselves that someone may not learn or know upon a first conversation with them. Read what they chose to share! Without further adieu, give a warm welcome to the 2016 A1eight Project team members!

Serving in New York City

These A1eight Project missionaries will spend their summer alongside the staff of Urban Nations Outreach sharing the Gospel with refugees and internationals there through ESL classes and various aspects of community outreach. Learning from the church planters at UNO, this team will support the work being done there while also helping to host and guide short term mission teams.

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Serving in Guatemala:

These A1eight Project missionaries will spend their summer alongside the staff of Clubhouse Guatemala sharing the Gospel with nationals through summer camp and community outreach. Spending majority of their time with local children and their families, this team will also help host and guide the short term trips throughout the summer.

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Servant Life is excited to be offering a vision trip to Guatemala for prospective group leaders! Servant Life partners with Mike Parker and Clubhouse Guatemala to host short-term trips (as well as mid-term college students through the A1eight Project). After forming a relationship in 2014 and an incredible summer of ministry in 2015, we are excited to offer this vision trip for anyone interested in leading a team to Guatemala next summer.

Details:

  • November 2 – 5
  • All expenses in-country are covered (meals, lodging, ministry)
  • Airfare is at your expense
  • The vision trip team will include Servant Life staff, Clubhouse Guatemala staff, and prospective group leaders
  • Time will be spent seeing the ministry of Clubhouse Guatemala and possibly working with and equipping local pastors for ministry

This is a great opportunity for prospective group leaders who are interested in bringing a team to Guatemala. You will have the opportunity to meet the ministry team, experience the culture and ministry setting, and capture a vision for what God is doing in this country. As you experience the ministry firsthand, you will be a better at advocating and raising support from the rest of your church to return for a short-term mission trip. We respectfully ask that only those who are interested in leading their church on a trip to Guatemala contact us about this opportunity.

Because all in-country expenses will be covered by Clubhouse Guatemala, space is limited for this trip. If you are interested, please message us for more details at info@servantlife.com!

 

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New doors are opening in Cuba, and we are excited to announce a partnership in this island country! The culture of Cuba is rapidly changing as citizens are having increased exposure to the rest of the world through mediums such as the Internet and foreign travelers. The Church has been active in this country for many years, but Cuba is in a critical stage as people are deciding whether they will be influenced by the world or influenced by the Word of God.

You can join us to share the good news of Jesus Christ with this historic nation next summer! Servant Life is partnering with Christian Family Life to lead a team into Cuba. Groups will have a variety of ministry opportunities, ranging from sports ministry to VBS camps to other community events. Our hope is not only to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ to new ears, but to encourage and equip local pastors with training resources and help them engage their local communities.

After sending one team to Cuba in 2016, we hope to be able to add more weeks to the calendar and give more teams the opportunity to serve in 2017. Our desire is to see the hope of Christ spread to every corner of the country!

Contact us if you are interested in this opportunity by sending an e-mail to info@servantlife.com.

When we contemplate what the Great Commission is all about, we either get excited or gripped by fear that we might not be walking in obedience to this great call. We may be terrified to share our faith with the neighbor next door or even dare to invite them to church, worse still share with them the truth that Jesus is the ONLY Way, the Truth and the Life. But wait, what is the worst that can happen? Rejection! Yes, we can and will get rejected because our Master the Lord Jesus was rejected too, remember! But our work of going and telling them must be done if we are to walk in obedience. We have to keep in mind that the gospel is an offense, so those in the dark will naturally play defense thus we should never be shocked if they reject Christ. Our work is done when we have GONE and TOLD them and the Holy Spirit picks up from where we have stopped and convicts them unto repentance. The message of a loving God who never gives up on us must be preached to one in the Slums in Africa who went to bed last night without a meal and also to one living in a sub-division in America with no space in their fridge for extra food, these two equally need the forgiveness of a loving Savior. The bottom line is that the Great Commission must be a non-negotiable commitment of every believer and congregation to go locally and globally.

Peter Abungu, Founder/Director – Swahiba Youth Networks, partner Organization of Servant Life

Servant Life is thrilled to be partnering with Clubhouse Guatemala in Guatemala City.  Clubhouse Guatemala is a Christ-centered ministry that desires to reach the lost of Guatemala. Clubhouse was started in 2003 by Mike and Carla Parker. nepal . The Parker’s desire is to go into villages and reach children and adults through block parties, shoe and clothing distribution, face paint, cotton candy, vacation bible school, and many other creative ways to show the love of Christ.

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As the ministry has developed over the years, the Parkers have handed more and more leadership over to the native staff from Guatemala. The Guatemalan leaders have always been a key to the success of the ministry, but they need help from short-term teams to support their ministry and to build the local church!

So far this summer, Servant Life has sent 100 people to serve alongside Clubhouse Guatemala. There is also an A1eight Project team in Guatemala all summer leading our short term teams. The groups have been part of leading Vacation Bible School, feeding the locals, and participating in community home visits. We can’t wait for the summer of 2016 to hopefully send even more people to Guatemala! For more information about Guatemala and how you can be involved, visit our website.

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Years ago I began dreaming about Servant Life helping both our global partners and also deepening relationships with college students, churches and campus ministries throughout the country.  As I just scratched notes in my journal and Evernote and prayed about what it could be, I continued to go back to the instructions from Jesus just before he ascended into Heaven that we find in Acts 1:8:

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”  

As time passed and we talked as a team, with partners, and with various college students, we prayerfully came to the conclusion that we would launch a new option allowing for college students and young adults to serve for longer periods of time each summer with one of our (currently) 10 global partners.  The A1eight Project was born.

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Participants…

  • Experience disciple-making in a global context for their entire summer (project lengths range from 6-12 weeks).
  • Explore and learn through various missions related resources.
  • Become a part of a small team that serves alongside a missionary serving on the field.
  • Lead and host short-term teams that come to serve with you in your context.
  • Are a part of advancing the gospel and fulfilling the Great Commission. 

This summer we have two pilot teams serving in Guatemala and Toronto for the entire summer.  It has been a joy to hear weekly updates from them as they serve with short-term teams, learn from missionaries on the field and engage locals, both in villages in Guatemala and on college campuses in Toronto.  The diversity of our world is being engaged with the gospel daily.

Here are a few snapshots from some of the updates:

From the Toronto team – “We have been able to sit down in these conversations (with mostly Chinese students) and intentionally walk through the gospel with them, and while some have been less receptive to it, there have been a few who are very interested and want to learn more. Eddie* came to church with us this last Sunday and Emma* asked for a Bible and we were able to get her one, so that was exciting. Guang* and Emma have also voiced an interest in coming to church with us on Sunday as well. God is good!”

“Overall the Lord has continued to remind us of our need for Him and has graciously been showing us how He is moving here in Toronto. We ask that you continue to pray for our work on campus, the church, and the kid’s camp. Please lift the students that we are meeting with one-on-one that their interest in the gospel would continue to grow into a profession of faith. Finally, pray for our team that we would go into this next week of camp with the same joy and attitude of the first one and not allow comparison to corrupt how we view the importance of this next week.”

(* Names changed for security)

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From the Guatemala team – “This week was great to have a Servant Life team and to see a full week. We were able to go to Zone 7 this week which is an area in Guatemala City, to do a VBS in a school. The team split up and did Crafts, Recreation, and a Bible lesson. There were about 320 kids 1st-6th grade. On one of the days, a few of the kids on the team shared their testimony with the older kids and many older boys prayed to receive Christ. It was an awesome sight to see.”

“Please pray for the people of Veremina whom we visited and spent time with this week, for their physical needs as well as spiritual needs. Pray that the children there, as well as all over Guatemala, will come to find Jesus as their Provider and their source of worth instead of worldly possessions, gangs, or prostitution.”

Our A1eight Project teams have experienced some great weeks. They’ve also had their fair share of challenges. Serving through international missions is incredible, but hard. You can’t always tell from an Instagram or tweet that there are tough days. It’s important in those difficult times to remember who God is and why He has you where he does. Guatemala team member, Elizabeth, has this to say about following The Lord in the midst of the hard days:

“This week was different in many ways. We were all three able to experience what the ministry looks like at Camp Calvary and be in a village that does not have many type of christian influences. It was a week that I could tell God was working in great ways in the area, but that also meant that Satan was working just as hard to stop all the good that was happening. This week was hard, but it was also good for us to go through. It brought us closer as a staff and as interns. We learned how to be flexible and adapt to the team and their needs whatever that might be. We were exhausted from days in the sun and long nights of prep work for VBS, but I think we would all agree that it helped us truly rely on God for strength and patience. God was at work this week and He is always in the end successful no matter how defeated and frustrated we might feel.

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The Lord has done incredible work during this pioneer summer of The A1eight Project. Please join us in praying for those our teams have come in contact with and that they will finish their assignment well. We are expectant for future summers!

If you’d like more information about the A1eight Project, check out our website or find us on Twitter/Instagram: @A1eightProject.

– J. Roger Davis, Executive Director of Servant Life

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The following post originally appeared here on Collegiate Collective’s blog.

Mike Lopez, the director of IMB Students, provides his perspective on the pivotal role college ministry can play in the Great Commission.

As He prepared seventy eager followers for their first mission trip, Jesus met with them for training and instruction. He encouraged them with these words “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” (Luke 10:2 ESV). As collegiate leaders, our ministries can play a critical role in answering this prayer. Let’s look at four truths Jesus’ words reveal that will revolutionize your thinking about the Great Commission.

  1. The harvest is HERE

Jesus clearly announces the reality of the harvest. This is not just a farm analogy. There is reaping to take place. It is real. It exists. In another talk with his disciples Jesus tells them ‘…lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.’ (John 4:35 ESV). Take a look. It’s all around you. How can you miss it? It is here.

  1. The harvest is HUGE

The harvest is real and it is also ‘plentiful’, great and abundant. Jesus isn’t referring to fields that have been ravaged by drought. He is talking about an abundant crop, heavy with fruit, ready to be harvested.

  1. The harvest is HIS.

Jesus refers to Himself as the “Lord of the harvest” and talks about sending laborers into “His harvest”. Jesus is the Lord of the harvest. The fields, the crops and the fruit all belong to Him. The harvest is His, not ours.

  1. The harvest needs HARVESTERS.

The harvest is HERE, the harvest is HUGE and the harvest is HIS. But here’s the challenge: the harvest is not a harvest until it’s harvested. So what’s missing? Harvesters, laborers, workers, committed servants who are willing to follow Him anywhere.

Jesus instructs us to ‘pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” He doesn’t ask us to pray for more harvest. The harvest is already here in abundance, and the harvest belongs to Him. Jesus asks us to pray for workers, for laborers, for those who will work in the field, looking for ripe fruit, searching for people of peace whose hearts are already prepared to hear the Good News.

Some fields have an abundance of harvesters. Many fields have none. From the local college campus to the uttermost parts of the earth, the harvest awaits. Throughout the world millions of willing hearts are waiting for a harvester to share the Good News of salvation through Jesus Christ.

Christian college students throughout North America (and the world) are being discipled and trained to share the hope they have found in Jesus. Pray that these harvesters would be obedient to Christ; bold in the proclamation of His message; and faithful to His mission among every language, people, tribe and nation.

Servant Life is excited for a new partnership with Mission: Bulgaria, a group of believers with a heart for the country and people of Bulgaria. Co-founder Ben Nelson answers a few questions for us about what it’s like to serve in Bulgaria.

Obviously there are great physical and spiritual needs all over the world.  What led you to specifically be involved in Bulgaria?

“Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” 1 John 3:18

Bulgaria holds a special place in my heart. In 2009, my community and I went to lead worship for a week in the Roma villages of Bulgaria. Soon after we arrived we realized we were taking part in the early stages of an amazing spiritual Reformation – a Reformation that was producing evangelical leaders from all areas of Bulgaria, working together to make a difference for the kingdom in their nation. The Bulgarian culture has been stripped of biblical principles after decades of socialist and communist rule. Communism fell in 1989 but the oppression of the Roma (Gypsy) people has not.

Every day we must ask ourselves “What is the good news for our community?” and then we must know that the gospel covers it. The good news for Bulgaria and the Roma people is “Hope”. THE GOSPEL COVERS THAT! In the midst of poverty, persecution, hunger, and segregation GOD IS WITH YOU.

“Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you.  I will never abandon you.” Hebrews 13:5

WE LEVERAGE EVERYTHING IN ORDER TO GIVE THEM HOPE!

What kind of ministry have you been able to engage in with short-term teams?

One of my favorite things about Mission Bulgaria is that when you go on a short-term trip you become a part of a year-round family. Once you’ve made your impact that week you become an extension of what God is doing in the country through our missionaries year round. Mission Bulgaria is not just a one week out of the year mission but a year round partnership to see lives shaped and changed by the gospel for the kingdom.

Mission Bulgaria focuses on these 3 main areas: PRAY. LOVE. UNITE.

PRAY: TOGETHER WE PRAY. WE PRAY THAT GOD WOULD POUR HIS LOVE AND FAVOR OUT ON BULGARIA AND THE ROMANIES.

LOVE: WE GO. WE GO AND LOVE. JAMES 2:19 SAYS THAT FAITH WITHOUT ACTION IS DEAD! WE ACT ON OUR PRAYERS.

UNITE: IN ALL THESE THINGS WE HOPE TO HELP UNITE THE BULGARIANS AND THE ROMANIES WITH CHRIST AND EACH OTHER.

What we do:

Food distribution, church planting, children’s festivals, orphan care, worship services, mission trips, Christmas shoeboxes, Prayers over homes and families, English lessons, food stations and much more.

Ministry in a foreign context is almost impossible without establishing trust among native people.  How have you done this?

Have you ever met someone and instantly know they would become one of your closest friends? When I met Dinko, a missionary from Bulgaria, I knew that God had aligned our hearts. After meeting Dinko, his family, and his team we knew that we needed to partner with their existing ministry in Bulgaria. In 2009 we partnered with “Care for All” ministries. In the past 12 years “Care for All” has:

-Planted over 43 churches

-Provided funding for 23 medical operations for Roma children

-Built 17 church buildings

-Established 5 feeding stations,

-Conducted 100’s of training seminars for Ministers

-Taught countless English and computer courses

-Provided daily ministry counseling

-Facilitated ministry expansion into Siberia, Turkey and Chicago

What long-term impact do you hope to accomplish with short-term teams?

No one goes on a “short-term” mission trip with Mission Bulgaria. A week spent in Bulgaria truly has a lasting impact. A short-term mission trip becomes a catalyst for the year round ministries in Bulgaria. Churches are planted, leaders are encouraged, non- believers come to hear good news, children are loved, orphans are held, and lives truly are changed forever.  A short-term trip with Mission Bulgaria provides an opportunity, for both those going and those receiving, to witness the love and fellowship of believers with in a different culture and context. It allows us the chance to see how God’s power and might crosses all borders, and it is proof that the Gospel is the power of God for the salvation of all who believe. (Rom 1:16)

Once you have gone on a week-long trip with Mission Bulgaria, you are a part of the family. This family provides for missions in Bulgaria year round.

Do you have any favorite moments from your time in Bulgaria?

I have a few. One if my favorite moments is always the orphanages. We partner with an organization called “Create a Smile” which provides medical surgeries for children who cannot afford them.  Because of this partnership we are one of the few religious organizations allowed into the orphanages. Each year we spend time with these children. We held a HUGE children’s festival with cotton candy, popcorn, toys, music and more. Each trip we watch these children grow up, we know that each short-term missionary is having a huge impact on the lives of these orphans.

Another one of my favorite moments is when we were in a village doing an outside worship service. As we taught the gospel and encouraged the believers we saw a group of men sitting across the street in a mule drawn buggy. You could tell they were listening to what we were saying. Afterwards they approached one of our missionaries, Stefko, and started asking questions. I asked Stefko, “What are they saying?”. He said, “ They want to know who this Jesus guy is and if he’s coming next week?”… They had never heard the name Jesus at all. My heart was broken and delighted at the same time. God is doing something HUGE and I am just grateful to help play a small part.

Servant Life is sending short-term teams to serve in Bulgaria starting summer 2016. Cost is $799 and includes:

Housing
Meals
Mission Activities
In-country Transportation
Traveler’s Insurance
Training Videos
T-shirt
Pre, During, and Post-trip Devotionals

Click here for more information and a list of trip dates.

Situated outside of Managua, Nicaragua, Centro ABEM ministers to hundreds of youth and children on a regular basis. In 2014, Servant Life began a partnership with Centro ABEM to send students to join in answering the call to go and make disciples of all nations – including Nicaragua!

In Nicaragua, Servant Life partners with missionaries Jason and Beth Lang and family. The Langs and Centro ABEM have built wonderful relationships with the surrounding community. They’ve even established a relationship with a local Compassion International project. While in country, Servant Life teams serve alongside the Langs and minister to many youth and children. For the most part, teams teach Bible lessons (with a translator), lead recreation games, tell their testimonies, help with crafts, and assist in behind the scenes work such as clean up.

The ministry of Centro ABEM seeks to share the story of hope, build communities of faith, and serve the people of Nicaragua with love. Come be part of this life changing experience as you share the gospel of Jesus Christ in Nicaragua! Click here to learn more about the ministry of the Langs and Centro ABEM.

I don’t believe that distance or difficulty should ever be what prevents us from going on a mission trip. Christ commanded us to make disciples, and there are no “exception clauses” in my Bible about the countries that are far away and hard to reach. At the same time, I have to admit, the trip to Costa Rica sure was an easy one.

The flight from Atlanta to San Jose, Costa Rica took a little over three hours, so we landed in- country just after noon. Our Servant Life Partner, Joe Pent. Jr of La Montaña Christian Camp, met us at the airport and we traveled about an hour and a half to the La Montaña encampment. Spending time with Joe is a treat in itself because Joe is a visionary and a man with great passion. He was born in Costa Rica and spent much of his youth there. He came back to the United States for college and served as a youth pastor before returning to Costa Rica to continue spreading the gospel there and eventually start La Montana. He has been back in Costa Rica for 15 years now, and his love for his country is evident.

Last year about 15,000 Costa Rican teenagers came through La Montaña, which is an incredible testimony to the quality of their ministry. Joe and his staff have made the camp a place that teenagers want to be. There are incredible recreation opportunities: “the blob,” a giant water slide, a bike ramp that launches into a lake (how cool is that?), options to play volleyball, basketball, foosball, ping pong, inline skating, and perhaps the most exciting option of them all —a mud run adventure course! But the beauty of La Montaña is not found in these activities. The focal point of the camp is the good news of Jesus Christ. Students participate in Bible studies and devotions, and each night there is a worship service for the whole camp, led by dynamic speakers and worship leaders.

I fear that Costa Rica is often overlooked by Christians because it is known for its nice beaches, fishing opportunities, and tourism. It is often labeled as a “Christian” country. However, only about 15% of the country is evangelical Christian. The majority have inherited Christianity or Catholicism as a cultural tradition, which means they have no problem talking about God, but could not clearly articulate what it means to have a personal relationship with Christ and to trust in him alone for salvation. These teenagers want to be at La Montaña because it is a fun camp, but it is also a place where they will clearly hear the gospel message and have an opportunity to surrender their lives to Christ.

Joe estimates that as many as 50,000 teenagers have trusted in Christ through the ministry of La Montaña over the years. When asked, he said that he has no plans to retire from this ministry. “Maybe I’ll retire when every teenager in Costa Rica has responded to the gospel. Wait, no, nevermind,” he corrected himself. “Then I will move on to the rest of the world who hasn’t heard.”

Don’t you see why we love Joe’s attitude and the ministry of his team? La Montaña would be a fantastic place for any group to serve. Your team could work as the support staff for one of these camps, spending time with recreation, in the kitchens, helping with the mud run course, and ultimately building relationships that point to the greatest relationship of knowing Jesus Christ our Lord.

Zac Condie, Servant Life Director