He Numbers the Stars; He Numbers Us.

ll_biggerLauryn Lane serves as a Department Assistant for P2 Missions, overseeing contracts and all finance related items. Anyone that has met Lauryn quickly learns she is a Texas girl at heart and “Boomer Sooner” are two of her favorite words. If you want to treat her to dinner Tex-mex is her favorite. You will see from reading this post that beyond the finances and operations of World Changers, Lauryn is passionate about seeing the lives of participants changed through missions. 

 

 

 

 

What does it take to really know a person?  Do you know them when you can look them in the eye?  When you share a meal?  When you experience an adventure or tragedy together?  At the root of our relationships and interpersonal interaction is this heart question: “Do you know me?”  We feel that, until you know a person, you can’t fully appreciate their story or their unique perspective.

Recently I had an epiphany about my job with World Changers. Day in and day out I’m entrenched in numbers and, for a poor liberal arts student, some days the work of dollars and figures can be rough.  I don’t speak the language of graphs and charts yet each day that I look at registration numbers and process finance reports, I must remind myself exactly what it is those numbers represent.  At one time I was a student attending these mission trips and for those years – out of all the thousands counted – I represented only one.  Only one!  But I walked away from those experiences forever changed.

When the nation of Israel was facing exile in Babylon, God sent a message through His prophet. This passage is not an instruction for behavior, nor is it a road map for the future.  Instead He reminded His people of His very nature, explaining that their path was directed by the same power who can name every star in creation:

Look up and see: who created these?  He brings out the starry host by number; He calls all of them by name.  Because of His great power and strength, not one of them is missing.  Jacob, why do you say, and Israel, why do you assert: “My way is hidden from the Lord, and my claim is ignored by my God”?  Do you not know?  Have you not heard?  Yahweh is the everlasting God, the Creator of the whole earth.  He never grows faint or weary; there is no limit to His understanding. - Isaiah 40:26-28

If God can orchestrate the events of galaxies, how much more is He conscious of the course of our lives?  God knows the name of every student who is registered or will register for a project this summer.  He has charted the life events of every resident that our students will meet on one of these trips.  He is prepared for every conversation presenting the message of His gospel and every act of kindness that will be expressed in His name.

When I replace registration numbers with students’ lives and finance figures with stories of sacrificial giving, suddenly the charts and budgets don’t feel so impersonal and cold.  Instead of numbers I see real people showing real love to communities, residents, churches and cities.  And I’m given a new hope of the stories that will pour out of the work done through World Changers this summer. He numbers the stars; He numbers us.

This is not the end…it is the beginning!

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As I sit here typing this, the students are putting the finishing touches on the homes that they have been working on this week. They’ve accomplished tasks that seemed too massive to complete when they first arrived. But more importantly, they were pulled out of their comfort zone this week, challenged to be the hands and feet of Christ to everyone they came in contact with. I’ve seen this first hand, heard more stories that I can post here, and been greatly encouraged and privileged to be a part of this week. This wonderful group has one last evening of worship together, a time to celebrate what God accomplished!
For those at home and those headed home in the morning, I challenge you not to let missions be something you do when you “go on a trip.” Let missions be your lifestyle! Let’s leave no doubt in anyone’s mind that we are here to be the hands and feet of Jesus!
Words often cannot adequately describe what takes place at a World Changers project. Thanks to our wonderful A/V, Molly Fly, we don’t have to rely on words along; we have a Project Cam to share with all of you! Check it out below!

 

 

Cold Won’t Stop Us!

It was a chilly 35 degrees when these students rolled out of bed this morning, but that did not slow us down one bit. We started the morning with biscuits and bacon – you just can’t go wrong with bacon! As soon as breakfast was over, we had the Great Send Off. During this time we prayed for the ministry that would be taking place today. As summer staff, we were able to make it out to all eight of our work sites. There has been a drastic change since work started on Monday. It is so encouraging – and it blows my mind – to see how much work these students can accomplish in just a few short days! The nine churches that arrived yesterday, hit the ground running, picking up right where the first groups left off.
We had “Why We’re Here” training last night where students were given time to share their story and the gospel with each other in preparation for sharing with homeowners and neighbors today. Be praying for opportunities for these students to share with the community here in Moss Point!
And remember, you can still send your students E-couragrams! Let’s encourage them as they go out again tomorrow morning to serve this community!

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Here Comes Group #2!

 The first half of the week has wrapped up, and the second group has arrived! And they are…

  • Highland Baptist Church from Meridian, MS
  • First Baptist Church Lake from Lake, MS
  • First Baptist Church Raymond from Raymond, MS
  • First Baptist Church Corsicana from Corsicana, TX
  • First Baptist Church Rockport from Rockport, TX
  • Mt. Olive Baptist Church from Scurry, TX
  • First Baptist Church Canton from Canton, TX
  • Hope Baptist Church from Olive Branch, MS
  • Kirby Woods Baptist Church from Memphis, TN

 Great ministry was started by our first seven groups and will be continued by these nine groups. We continue to look forward to seeing the great things that God will accomplish through these students!

Check out this video from the first half of the week!

 

Working Hard All Day Long

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Check out this lovely group! They have been putting in the hours these past two days. They were back up at 6am for breakfast and went back out to their worksites at 7am. Early mornings will not deter this group! This morning started of quite nice, but this afternoon the rain started falling, pouring actually. Not to worry though, there is plenty of inside work that these students willing jumped on.
Tonight is our last night of worship together. We will be taking up the missions offering during service tonight. This week our offering is going to Generation SEND. Generation SEND is a ministry of the North American Mission Board designed to immerse students into an urban context to gain a practical knowledge of the realities of church planting and urban ministry in a metropolitan area. This summer, NAMB will host 3 cities for the first Generation SEND experience in New York City, Portland and Atlanta.  The students who will participate this summer will be experiencing a variety ministry in the city while church planting leaders pour into their lives. At the end of the summer, the goal is for students to have a heart for the cities, a passion and working knowledge of church planting, a charge to mobilize their peers for the task, and to prayerfully consider planting a church in one of the great cities of North America. This is an opportunity for students to support students just a few years older than them that are pursuing the possibility of full-time missions. How cool is that!!

And They’re Off…!

Day one is officially underway. We kicked off this morning with the Great Send Off. During the Great Send Off, we – staff, students, and adults – all gather in a large circle in the parking lot to pray for the work that will be going on over the next few days. And then it is off to work we go! One hundred and thirty students and adults left for their worksites at 7:00am. The staff made it around to all of the sites today, taking pictures and video that the groups will be able to take home with them at the end of the week. We’ve got the evidence that these students didn’t waste any time getting to work, and they have been working really hard! Check out some of these photos from this morning:

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Welcome to Moss Point, Mississippi!!!

It is starting today – the first World Changers project of 2014! Moss Point, Mississippi is ready and waiting for the students to start pouring in. They will start arriving at 1:00pm today. Groups for the first half of the week are coming from Tennessee, Texas, and Mississippi. They are…

…Bartlett Hills Baptist Church from Bartlett, TN
…Pershing Park Baptist Church from Killeen, TX
…Crossroads Baptist Church from Corpus Christi, TX
…Petal Harvey Baptist Church from Petal, MS
…Mobberly Baptist Church from Longview, TX
…Neshoba Baptist Church from Union, MS
…First Baptist Church Round Rock from Round Rock, TX

The staff this week is excited to be here to serve these groups this week! Here they are:

Project Coordinator & Worship Speaker: LC Drawdy
Construction Coordinator: Mike Skelton
Office Manager: Kelly Inda
Music Leader: Michael Thomas
Audio/Visual Technician: Molly Fly
Missions and Communications Specialist: Maria Katz
Michael, Molly, Kelly, and Maria

Michael, Molly, Kelly, and Maria  -  We are pros at awkward photos!

Remember to get on here this week and send E-couragrams to the participants. They love getting the notes in their encouragram envelopes all week long. Let’s fill up their boxes!!!

 

Coming Really Soon!!

Twenty Fourteen has started off with a fast pace that hasn’t slowed down one bit here in the World Changers office. With all the cold weather we’ve been having, there has been one thing on our minds - Spring Break, of course! We’re not thinking about warmer weather or weekend camping trips; our thoughts are focused on the 300+ students who are taking their spring breaks and giving them in service to the community of Moss Point, Mississippi!

 

That’s right, folks, the first World Changers project of 2014 is only a week and a half away!

 

308 individuals from 17 churches in 3 different states coming together for 1 week!

 

Check out these pictures of the groups serving in Moss Point last year:

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I’ve been a summer staffer with World Changers for 4 years now. I’ve been to a few projects – 31 if I counted correctly. I always think that I know what will happen at a project, how God will show up and work. Well, I’ve been wrong, a lot. God shows up in mighty ways and blows my mind every time! So, here is to Moss Point, Mississippi and God doing “above and beyond all that we ask or think”! (Ephesians 3:20 HCSB)

 

Be in prayer with us…
…for the groups that are coming
…for the work that will be done
…for the homeowners and neighbors

 

Check back in with us here for more news about the project. During the project, we’ll have daily updates, keeping you informed on what these students are doing and how God is working! You’ll also be able to send notes of encouragement – E-COURAGRAMS – to the students during the project. Simply select Moss Point, MS from the 2014 Projects drop down list in the upper right hand corner of the page. Then click the “Send an E-COURAGRAM” link. They love getting these notes, so you really should send one…or two…or twenty!!

Prayer Request

World Changers has been blessed to serve with gifted coordinators over our 20 plus year history. Sadly, we lost one of our best coordinators this past weekend.

Pastor Blu Berner, 43, of Cutler, passed away at 7:28 am, Sunday, November 24, 2013 at the St. Louis University Hospital in St. Louis, MO. He was a long time PC for World Changers and he was a great friend of youth ministers, students, and summer staff.

Please pray for Blu’s wife and family. He will be missed greatly.

John Bailey

A question asked everyday, WHY?

 

blu berner

Guest blogger, group leader and coordinator, Blue Berner has been serving for five years as the Senior Pastor of a small country church in Cutler, IL and previously served as a Youth Pastor in Anchorage, AK and Spokane, WA.   Blu is originally from upstate New York and grew up outside Orlando, FL. He attended his first World Changers project in Nikiski, Alaska in 2004.  Blu has been involved in over 10 projects and has most recently served as the Project Coordinator for Philadelphia.  Blu is married and father to one son and two daughters that all know the World Changers song AND movements.  He thinks he is superman and has publicly offered to treat anyone who registers for Philly next summer to a good ‘ol Philly cheese steak.  We suggest you take him up on his offer!

 

 Why World Changers?

One question I’m often asked is “Why?” My church family in Southern Illinois asks why I go so far away to serve. When I return and share pictures and videos of the trip, they want to know why I go into such bleak areas. When I am at a World Changers project, people in that city repeatedly ask, “Why did all of you come here?”

 Community

For me, the answer has changed over the past nine years. I first took students to World Changers because there were no camps or events in our area. This was an opportunity for them to do something different. I had never done this type of trip—it was new for all of us. By the end of the first week, I met a family with a little girl the same age as my daughter. Talking to her, I realized that she didn’t know the words to Jesus loves me. More importantly, she didn’t know that Jesus really did love her. At that point, my “why” changed. The people whose homes we work on may not have ever heard that Jesus loves them. We bear that good news and cannot be silent about sharing it. This is at the root of World Changers’ existence.

 Students

Another reason I am excited to go each year is because of the students. As Group Leaders within our churches, we are called to raise a generation of believers that are not only willing, but also prepared to go and make disciples. (See Matt. 28:19.) I have become close friends with many of the students, Summer Staffers, and Group Leaders at World Changers projects.  Nothing is more satisfying than witnessing a change in a student’s heart during a project.  It is encouraging to see a student continue to share their faith even after they leave. 

World Outreach

I have witnessed students going to Japan, South Africa, Swaziland, Guatemala, and Peru. Would they have gone to these places if they hadn’t first become a World Changer? Possibly. I am convinced, however, that the time and effort we invest in them as Group Leaders and Pastors in the World Changers experience gives them the confidence they need to go. When someone asks a World Changer “Why,” they are prepared to share the hope that they have because of Christ Jesus.