We will focus in the Route 1 corridor – an area of great need an potential for community development as part of a new redevelopment initiative the county has adopted.
Originally Posted at BGAV.org. Article by Lara De Haan.
As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more.–Psalm 71:14 (NIV)
It amazes me how sometimes we go on mission trips with the idea that we are to chase others who need love and God’s word, but sometimes our reason for going is actually God chasing after us.
This summer I had the opportunity to work as a staff member for the Baptist General Association of Virginia’s Impact Missions camp.
Having gone as a camper for the five previous summers, I thought I had an idea of what my summer would be like as I sent in my application.
Early wake-ups. Hot afternoons. Humbling living conditions. (Anything but the typical summer vacation dreams of lying on the beach like I would do at home.) Looking back, I actually had no clue what this summer truly had in store for me.
I jumped in with the inspiration to be a staffer who was remembered for adding energy to the mornings, genuinely getting to know the campers, always being in front worshipping as though no one was looking, joining in on the work on sites, and for opening the minds and hearts of these high schoolers.
I hoped that at the week’s end that they would long to come back. I hoped that they would continue to spread their good works back at home. And I hoped I would, too.
But more than the accomplishment of any of these goals, I believe God gave me this opportunity to open my own eyes and heart. Having been super distant from worship and scripture while studying at college for a couple years, I think God gave me the opportunity to hear through others and be reminded of his reckless love that I’d forgotten about.
I don’t think she knew it at the time, but one girl (we’ll give her the alias, Grace) flipped my thoughts and led my heart back to where it belonged.
Grace asked me to talk after worship one night. That one night was the night of worship I shared my testimony for the first time. She relieved my vulnerable feeling by admitting she, too, had been feeling some of the same ideas I had shared, one being a recent uncertainty in God and a guilt because of that doubt.
I sat down and listened to her, and when she asked what I thought, I couldn’t control it; my mouth just opened and began to pour out reasons why I know we can’t doubt God’s presence in life.
I don’t remember quite what I said, but as soon as the words left my mouth they came right back and hit my ears so hard that my heart absorbed the punch, and suddenly I knew that I wasn’t just speaking to Grace anymore. I was speaking to myself.
And as the weeks went on, people continued to share their stories of life with me: the heartache of losing a wife and a daughter, the fear and miracle of a son surviving a bullet to the head, the pain of growing up with a manipulative and alcoholic father, and the loss of a friend who sacrificially stepped in front a bullet.
I was baffled as I sat through these stories of pain and suffering that always seemed to have a happy end. Each being a “happy end” because each storyteller ended with an unbreakable confidence in God’s intervention, love, and purpose.
My soul needed this summer opportunity to be on staff. Being at Impact gave me a platform to have deeper, more intimate conversations about God with those who came. Ultimately, these conversations helped refocus and reaffirm what I believe in.
The song that will remind me of all that I was blessed with this past summer is Reckless Love by Cory Asbury. When I thought I was going to chase after others, I myself was being sought after.
Lara De Haan is a student at George Mason University. Her home church is Westwood Baptist Church, a BGAV-member congregation in Springfield, VA.
Originally Posted at BGAV.org. Article by Taylor Hayes.
God invites us on adventures every day. Some seem more exciting than others, but they will all teach us something in the end.
We just have to accept the invitation and step out in trusting God to open our eyes and our hearts.
As a staff member last year, I knew God was inviting me back to be on staff for Impact Mission Camps months before this summer began.In a leap of faith, I made it my goal to serve God wholeheartedly all summer, sharing his love and hope with everyone I interacted with during camp.
The biggest way that God used me was through my testimony. I shared about my struggle with depression and the hope that I found in God during the hard times. I encouraged anyone who felt the same to open up and reach out for help.
And when I allowed God to use me to tell everyone who came to Impact this summer that there was a hope that could only be found in God, I saw them filled with God’s love.
I was stunned by the number of people each week who would hug me and share with me that they were also struggling. I spoke to them of hope for their lives, and I shared God’s love with them.
God taught me that though it seemed so impossible to stand in front of hundreds of people on a stage and be so completely vulnerable about my life, he was using me as a beacon for others to see his light and hope.
God blessed me with the opportunity for God to use me because I simply accepted his invitation, even though I didn’t know exactly what I was being invited to do.
As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more.–Psalm 71:14 (NIV)
Taylor Hayes is a student at Longwood University. Her home church is Gwathmey Baptist Church, a BGAV-member congregation in Ashland, VA.
Originally Posted at BGAV.org. Article by Sarah Robertson.
Let me start off by saying that the reason I wanted to work for Impact Mission Camps was because last year I attended Impact as a college student, and I wanted so desperately for the younger kids in my youth group to enjoy their experience as I had during my first years. I thought, What better way to make sure people are enjoying their experience than by being on staff? The second reason I wanted to be on staff was because last summer I worked a full-time job, and I found myself spending my free time doing nothing but watching TV and sleeping.
I wanted a summer job that would contribute to my personal and spiritual growth, and Impact was perfect for that.
Being a camper for the past 7 years and then moving to staff definitely opened my eyes to all the thought, planning, and work that goes into making Impact possible. During the interview and application process, I was too nervous to ask any questions; so when I showed up for work in May, I had no idea what to expect, but I had put all trust in the Lord. From planning the worship services to setting up equipment, early mornings filling up coolers to late nightly meetings, and connecting with campers to connecting with coworkers, it was really cool for me to see Impact from another side. This summer I was able to satisfy my heart for service by helping to create a positive experience for campers. The things that made me feel accomplished in my work this summer were hearing campers say “Yes, I want to come back next year!” or “When I get older, I want to be on staff!” I feel as though I accomplished what the Lord asked me to do this summer, and I am thankful for the opportunity to work for Impact.
Sarah Robertson is a student at James Madison University. Her home church is Westwood Baptist in Springfield, VA.
Originally Posted at BGAV.org. Article by Mallory Wohlford.
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” –Matthew 5:16
During my time as a summer Venturer, I had so many opportunities to grow in my faith by serving others and to grow closer to God in my quiet times.
At the beginning of the summer, I started reading a book called Goliath Must Fall by Louie Giglio. In the book, he talks about how the giants in our lives must fall. I had heard this story a million times, but never quite like he told it. He talked about how Jesus died on the cross and saved us by taking down our giants, so this means our giants are already dead.
This completely changed my thought process because I did not need to be praying for God to help me take down my giants. He had already done it for me. After I made this realization, I wondered why I was letting these giants in my life have a grasp on me when they are already dead.
I started praying for God to help me remember, whenever those giants started sneaking into my life, that God had already defeated them. So what does this mean? For me, it meant I had to hand everything over to God. I had to hand over my lack of confidence, my fear of what people think of me, and all the other negative thoughts the devil kept throwing at me to make me feel inadequate.
God placed me in the exact place I needed to be to accomplish so much, because God knew I could do it all with his help. Through this, I was able to let my light shine and give the glory to God in everything I experienced.
Being in Texas, I was given plenty of time to grow closer to the youth group and to try to impact their lives in the best way I could. I also got the opportunity to grow some great friendships with these students.
I had the opportunity to help the Impact mission camp groups by ordering all the supplies, getting all the details in order, and being the go-to person to answer questions or to get whatever the groups needed while they were there.
The Impact groups not only worked on homes but also got to build relationships with some families in the community. They went to a local apartment complex and neighborhood to provide games and meals and to make friendships with the children.
The Impact groups were here during my last week in Texas, which was awesome because I got to see how all the ideas I helped plan and prepare for were fulfilled. It was also an amazing feeling to be able to see different youth from my home state of Virginia coming together to work in this community that now feels like my second home.
Leaving Liberty, Texas, was one of the most difficult things I’ve had to do because of how special this place has become to me. The people of First Baptist Church Liberty impacted my life so much, and they have definitely made me want to return. As Pastor Steve said, “Wherever you do missions, you leave a part of your heart.” The best part of leaving was knowing one day I’ll come back and visit this church family, and I hope it is very soon.
Mallory Wohlford, a student at Virginia Tech, served during summer 2018 as a BGAV Venturer. To learn more about serving as a Venturer, click here.
Capitalizing on partnerships around the world, we can help your group serve internationally, with all of your arrangements handled by our office. Groups will receive training and support from our office and partners in the host country. Average cost is $65 per day plus airfare. Contact us for more information and to plan your international experience to:
Impact Kids – a mission education camp that runs alongside and supports the Impact Mission Camp. Students learn about the community, explore opportunities for mission service, engage in kid-friendly worship, and serve the families and participants of the Impact construction-based camp. Housing is available as family units or as church groups.
Participants will serve in Northampton County, in the area around Cape Charles. Campers will learn about other ministries in the community and opportunities for deeper engagement in ongoing ministry. Churches will have opportunities to establish long-term partnerships on the Shore. Housing will be in a middle or high school.
In partnership with Averett University and the city of Danville, Impact sites will be concentrated in one area, all within walking distance of one another. Churches will have opportunities to connect to local ministries where they can invest year-round. Housing will be at Averett University.
We will serve in several communities in need around Bluefield college – in Virginia and West Virginia, working alongside churches from both states. Churches will have opportunities to connect to local ministries where they can invest year-round.