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.

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.

Pivotal 2014

KYLE2

Kyle Wiltshire, our Summer Staff Coordinator has written about the theme for next summer, Pivotal.  Kyle is the dad of three (including a new baby girl) and husband to the beautiful Joni.  He also does a great Bill Cosby impression.

 

 

As a child, I remember hearing the story of a little boy who lived over 125 years ago named Joseph Meister. When Joseph was nine-years-old, he was bitten by a dog with rabies. When this story took place in 1885, rabies was a fatal disease. Around the same time, Dr. Louis Pasteur had been working on a vaccine for this disease. He learned of Joseph’s bite and wanted to help. Risking legal recourse, Pasteur administered his experimental vaccine to Joseph, even though it had not been tested on humans yet. It worked! Joseph never contracted rabies, and from that point on, rabies became a treatable disease. That was a moment when everything changed in the science of vaccinations.

History is riddled with moments like this. Some call them pivotal moments. They are points in time when the course of history changes. For those of us who are believers, our pivotal moment is the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

The word pivotal has two basic meanings: of crucial importance and revolving around. As Christians, Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection are the crucial elements of our faith. On top of that, everything we believe revolves around Jesus. Therefore, Jesus is pivotal.

In 2014, at World Changers we will explore the theme of Pivotal. This summer in The Gathering, through personal, crew, and church group devotions, and throughout the whole week at the project, our goal will be to reveal that Jesus is of crucial importance to every second of our lives. We will constantly be reminded that everything we do, everything we think, and everything we are should revolve around and be fixed upon Jesus.

We hope you will be a part of one of our projects and that the theme Pivotal will help your students grasp an understanding of the supremacy of Christ. Jesus is everything! See you this summer!

 

How to Make Missions Stick

 

We understand the frustration that leaders and even students can feel when they go home after such an emotional and life changing week, only to be thrown back into the daily struggles of life.  Paul Turner, our City Strategist has put together some tips to help overcome these challenges including a video resource.

Following Up a Great Summer Missions Experience

One of the final sermons at World Changers this summer focused on the fact that “it starts at home, but it doesn’t end there” and that emotion can come and go, but the calling of God is to be witnesses of Jesus to all nations.

Here are a couple of things that might be helpful for you to think and pray through –

  1. Allow students to continue to talk about the experiences they had. Remember people and places that God allowed you to influence and learn from.
  2. Work hard to include those students who did not get to attend the mission trip. Include them in conversation and tell the stories. When talking about the experiences, be careful not to use “remember when  . . .” but say, “We got to see God at work when . . .” and then allow those not attending to talk about what God was doing back home at the same time.

Help students understand that missions is not something we do one week out of the summer but is a lifestyle that we are going to promote and emulate through ongoing actions throughout the year.

Here is a video that we pulled together that will give you a much more complete look and ideas on how to Make Missions Stick.

Celebrating what God did through World Changers 2013

 

There was a traveler who planned for years to visit Rome.  He planned, prepared and bought the ticket. The traveler arrived at the airport ready to travel to his dream destination.  Imagine the traveler’s surprise when he looked at his ticket and realized he was flying to Rome, Georgia USA.  I share this story to say, it is always a good thing to stop and double check where you are supposed to be going.  As we look back on the 2013 summer, we can see markers that tell us World Changers is headed in the right direction!

World Changers exists to serve churches in their mission of making disciples by providing missions experiences that develop the heart of students for serving others so they can change the city…change the world through construction and non-construction ministry.

In 2013 our World Changers Team is celebrating a fantastic summer.  We serve an amazing Lord.  To be a part of changing lives and communities is such a privilege.  Here is a snap shot from our summer.  Each of these numbers represents a life changed and a seed planted!

Participant Decisions

  • Salvations- 176
  • Baptism- 62
  • Recommitments- 1,102
  • Commitment to Missions/Vocational Ministry- 425

Community Impact

  • Presentations of the Gospel- 8,998
  • People with Questions about a relationship with Jesus- 937
  • Salvations- 396
  • Recommitments- 171
  • Tracts shared- 6,199
  • Construction & Ministry Sites- 1,246
  • Mission Offering collected- $110,275.49
  • 85 Projects

All of this is possible because we have hundreds of churches who care about reaching the world and care about calling students to the front line of missions. We at World Changers are grateful. Thank you churches for partnering with World Changers in ministry!  We also want to thank the Cities for trusting in students enough to allow them to serve their communities. As my friend Richard Ross says, “It is drudgery to call students to live for Christ; it is thrilling to call students to invite Christ to live His life through them.”

It was a privilege to serve with you all in 2013 and we look forward to serving together again in 2014.  2014 Project Schedule

Serving Together,

John Bailey

World Changers & P2 Missions

Manager

We ready. We ready. We ready for Mooooooore.

We are ready and waiting!!! COME ON WORLD CHANGERS!

Watch out, Moore, Oklahoma. The World Changers Dream Team is headed your way!!

We are anticipating the last project of the summer in Moore. About 65 student and adult participants will be arriving Monday, August 5, to work on several disaster relief projects including reflooring homes, repairing fences, sheet rock repair, and various other types of cleanup! We will have 5 crews working on 5 sites bringing hope and love to these families. Throughout the week we will be lodging at Brookwood Baptist Church in Oklahoma City! We cannot wait to greet the churches and each participant, but we want you to know who has been working behind the scenes preparing for the week ahead… Our summer staffers and coordinators, ladies and gents!!

The coordinators have been assigned specifically to this project and have been working through the logistics of this particular project for just a couple short months. Usually, the coordinators have nearly 6 months to a year to prepare for a project, but Moore is another story. When this natural disaster struck May 20, many of the National Staff working in the Nashville office felt World Changers needed to provide some more labor. So for just over two months, our coordinators have been hustling around to bring this project into full effect. 

  • The Project Coordinator (PC) for the week will be Jon Hodge. Jon Hodge has been a National Staffer basically since the get-go of the beginning of WC history. He has PC-ed more projects than many PCs can claim. He resides in Bartlett, TN, with his wife and three children. He knows the ropes. He practically braided the ropes. If you ever have any questions or need direction, he’s your man!
  • The Construction Coordinator (CC) for the week will be Jess Marriott. He resides in Stilwell, OK, with his wife and two sons where his day job consists of working his cattle farm. This definitely isn’t his first year on the job.  Jess has worked with WC since 1994. He’s been a crew chief and a supervisor until these latter years where he’s been involved as a Construction Coordinator. He has worked alongside several cities such as Chicago, IL, and Tulsa, OK.  It’s been a task for him to get his hands on projects and keep ahold of them in Moore, OK. Many volunteers from the OKC area have offered relief services to their neighbors and taken the projects we’ve planned to work on. Praise Jesus for this! He has been diligent, though, and we’re ready for the work to start this week.
  • The Associational Coordinator (AC) for the week as well as the Worship Speaker will be Kyle Wiltshire. Kyle is a full-time employee at Lifeway, where he serves as the Summer Staff Coordinator for WC/P2 Missions and a National Staffer. He is married to Joni and has two boys, Noah (4) and Micah (2), and a baby girl, Lilly, due in September. He lives in Hendersonville, TN, and teaches 12th grade guys in the Student Ministry at FBC Hendersonville.
  • Finally, the First Aid Coordinator (FAC), is Caitlyn Williams. She is a native Moore citizen and a 2013 Summer Staffer. She served on a team in Memphis, TN, all summer long. While glad to be home, she is also very excited that World Changers is heading up a project in her hometown. She is always around with a humble heart willing to serve. She will be sleeping on an air mattress this week while her bed is only 4 miles away. Hopefully we won’t be putting her medic skills to the test, but she is prepared for whatever may come her way!

The summer staffers leading this project make up the Summer Staff Dream Team. They  are THRILLED to be serving Jesus and the participants they will encounter this summer. Like the coordinators, these summer staffers were asked to staff one more project just one week before they were supposed to return home. They’re so glad to be able to serve Moore this week. No summer staffer ever wants to leave WC. 

  • The Missions and Communication Specialist (MCS) is Alyse Malavasi. She is a Mississippi native–born and raised. This August she will begin her senior year of nursing school at Delta State University in Cleveland, MS. Alyse is known as a legend among World Changers Summer Staff for her uncanny ability to back a trailer.
  • The Office Manager (OM) is Maria Katz. She doesn’t know where she is from. She has lived in New York, Colorado, Wyoming, Kentucky and Tennessee. She received a degree in Global Studies from Colorado Christian University and uses it now to work at Lifeway! She has been the WC intern this last year and will continue her work there when she returns next Monday.
  • The Audio Visual Technician (AV) serving the Dream Team is Gandalf (aka: James Savage). He is from Myrtle Beach, SC and is thrilled to be here this week. He is attending Liberty University where he majors in Psychology. He can ride a unicycle, so if you own one bring it with you! He isn’t afraid to show his moves.
  • Last, but most definitely not least, is the Music Leader (ML). Her name is Nikki Pitts. She is from Anniston, AL, and is a graduate from the University of Mobile, where she received her Bachelors of Science in Nursing. Over the summer she took her NCLEX in California, so now she’s an RN! Pat her on the back when you see her. After this summer with WC, she will also be an intern at the WCP2 department at Lifeway before she leaves in October for the Navy’s Officer Development School and then her post in San Diego, California.

So come on, participants! We are ready to get to work and share the love of Jesus with these Moore-ians!

 

Dream Team

 

From left to right: Gandalf, Nikki Pitts, Alyse Malavasi, Maria Katz, Caitlyn Williams (the FAC), and Jon Hodge (the PC).

Clovis, California Project cam July 22-27