Thank you so much for your prayers for us and the 61 college students that attended Santa Monica Summer Mission. It was an incredible summer of looking for where God is at work and walking into it by faith with the power of the Holy Spirit!
Holly had the opportunity to co-lead this summer with another staff, Jonathan Gibo. Their main focus was to train the staff and students how to become “Kingdom Movement Builders” and live surrendered lives. Most of the first two weeks were intense training on how to dialogue about the gospel uniquely with different people groups. Holly also met with the 14 staff women to train them in discipling the students.
Matt invested in the staff men by training them on how to disciple students. He mentored a newly married young man and another guy hungry for someone to speak truth into his life. One blessing was that Matt had three of his sisters with us for some or all of the summer. Hannah and Debbie helped with childcare so that the staff moms could engage in discipleship with the students. Lily was a participant on the summer mission.
This summer radically changed Lily’s life. So much so, that on the second to last day of the summer mission, she asked Holly to baptize her in the ocean. (Pic on right.) Lily seemed to be uninhibited when it came to walking up to people of any age, ethnicity or socio-economic status. One day, she was near a playground on the beach and she struck up a conversation with a young girl named, Prairie. Prairie’s mom came up to join them, and Lily learned that the mom was a Christian but didn’t know how to really share the gospel with her daughter. Lily had the opportunity to do so and Prairie prayed to receive Jesus into her life right there!
Another incredible student, Michael, who attends the University of Arizona, uncovered that he just might have the gift of evangelism, as well as an amazing gift for drawing. He’s a film major, but has always loved drawing creatures, dinosaurs and the like. After engaging with an atheist film writer from Hollywood FOUR times, he knew God had given him his gift of drawing to creatively share the gospel through pictures. It was his art and open dialogue with this film writer that opened up this man’s heart to hear the gospel multiple times from Michael and even invite him into his home. Though the man has not yet received Christ, he and Michael are still in communication. Michael is excited to head back to the U of A with his own unique way of engaging others with the gospel through his artwork.
Here is a picture Michael drew to depict how sin must have felt as “all the sin of the world” was placed upon Jesus. THIS is what Jesus felt. THIS is what Jesus bore for us. Not just our sins, but the sins of all people for all time. This is the spiritual battle He fought so that we could have a personal relationship with Him. Powerful, isn’t it?
Eleven people came to Christ that we are aware of during our time in Santa Monica and 14 people were baptized. One guy, Brendan, had been dialoguing with two of our students, Nick and Heather, about the gospel throughout the summer. Nick was one of the students who wanted to get baptized. He invited Brendan last minute to come to the baptism on the beach. Brendan watched the baptisms, then Nick and Heather talked to him again on the sidelines. He there decided to put his faith in Christ and asked if he could get baptized as well!(Brendan is the one on the left in this picture on the right.)
The summer didn’t only change nonbelievers lives, it changed the students’ lives as well. Jason, a student from Arizona State University, admitted on the last night of summer mission that only one month before coming, he had been addicted and using Meth. He hadn’t been honest on his application and so he was accepted to come. He looked around the room at the 60 other students that night and said, “You all have changed my life. A loving, caring, vulnerable community has made it possible for me to conquer my addiction.” He is going back to campus with accountability in place, a mentor and plans to attend AA classes so that he will continue to stay clean as well as focused on living a surrendered life to the Lord.
We are settled into our new home in Corona and have been meeting neighbors! One God story so far is through our neighborhood Facebook page. Holly met a woman, Rebecca, who graduated from the U of A and moved here from Tucson only 2 years ago. She and Holly not only have 3 mutual friends (which were all in Cru with Holly in college), but one of them is Rebecca’s cousin! She lives 7 houses down from us! Holly and Rebecca have already hung out with their kids and Holly is excited to see what God is going to do with this new friendship that seems like a truly divine appointment. Please pray for spiritual conversations to happen and that Rebecca would be responsive to the gospel.
School has started up again at Cal State Fullerton! On the first week of campus over 1,000 questionnaires were taken by students with 489 students said they were interested in meeting up to learn more about God, the Bible or the gospel! Please pray as much of Matt’s time is following up these interested students and sharing the gospel!
Fall Retreat with 4 schools attending will be Sept 29-Oct 1 and Holly will be the main speaker sharing on how we are all “Called to Freedom”. Please pray nonbelievers come and that lives are forever changed!
Matt & Holly will be celebrating 5 years of marriage on Sept. 23rd.
Briella was potty trained in 3 days! Here she is after throwing her diapers in the trash! She was so proud!
Carter started preschool for just two days a week. He loves it! Every paper he brings home is done in green since that’s his favorite color!
|Together for His Kingdom and glory,