Santa Monica is the place to go star-gazing, and I don’t mean stars in the sky. Being in Santa Monica means passing by Arnold Schwarzenegger on the boardwalk, seeing Tom Hanks at the airport and Miley Cyrus at Panera Bread. Santa Monica is also the place of many homeless, tourists from all over the world, and where the rich come to play. It is a place with eclectic people who live eclectic lives and have eclectic spiritual opinions. That’s why, year after year our ministry has a summer missions trip there.
This summer 80 college students and 24 staff from all over the country came together for 6 weeks to learn how to share the gospel in a variety of contexts and grow in Biblical community.
Matt had the privilege of discipling 5 guys and training them in evangelism. One of the things he enjoyed most was his discipleship times where they went through a Bible study book called, “Flesh: An Unbreakable Habit of Purity in a Pornographic World” by Rick James. This book discusses more deeply the biblical view on the number one shame-based sin that men deal with.
A God moment occurred when Matt prayed for his student, Tim, to experience someone come to Christ while he was on project. That same evening, Tim was at the beach spending time with the Lord, when a man near him asked if he wanted to come over and join him. The man asked Tim, “What is the meaning of life?” Tim shared his testimony and the gospel with God’s majestic waves crashing in front of them. Right there sitting on the sand, the man prayed to receive Christ. Both Tim and Matt were encouraged by this quick, life-changing answer to prayer!
Though summer project looked different for Holly, as a mom, she had the opportunity to teach five lessons to help the students grow in how to share their testimony, ask good questions, resolve conflict, overcome temptation and how to gain God’s heart for the world. Holly also trained two staff women as they discipled students on project.
One highlight of the summer was when we got to go share the gospel together on the Santa Monica college campus. There, we met two incoming freshmen, Katie and Eric. Both wanted to learn more about how to have a personal relationship with Jesus and so we shared the “Knowing God Personally” booklet with them. Katie immediately said she wanted to invite Jesus into her life. Eric seemed interested, but not yet ready. It was such a joy to get to do ministry together and see God use us as a couple as we met with these students!
REACHING THE LOST
We had 1,111 spiritual conversations. We got permission to share the gospel with 343 of them. 58 people decided to follow Jesus. That means 1:6 people who heard a clear gospel presentation came to Christ!
We cannot THANK YOU enough for your prayers and support, so that we could be there this summer. We saw so many changed lives and now have 80 more students trained in how to effectively share the gospel for a lifetime!
Matt, Holly & Carter Melton