This summer ten youth and young adults participated in a short-term mission experience called “Mission Impact 2009.” This is the second year that the CLB North American Mission department and several Eastern District churches teamed up for this effort.
The participants began with a two-day “Impact Course” led by Liz Christenson and Gian Paul Gonzalez which was designed to help these short-term missionaries to better understand their identity in Christ and their calling for missions. After training, the mission teams were sent to Grace Community in Wesley Chapel, Florida, Pilgrim Lutheran Brethren Church in Mentor, Ohio, and 59th Street Lutheran Brethren Church in Brooklyn, New York.
Each team helped with various outreach projects, Vacation Bible School programs, sports camps, open courts for teens, and intentional acts of grace. As a result of these activities, scores of children and dozens of new families heard the message of God’s love for them in Jesus Christ.
Pastor Jeff Olsen of Grace Community reports some highlights:
We hosted an event for thirty teens inside a nearby juvenile detention center. The event lasted one hour and included some recreation time with two college basketball players as well as a chance to hear an invitation to receive the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. All of the teens were very receptive, and at least a dozen of them prayed to receive Christ or renew their walk with Him. In addition, they were all given free Bibles that they were allowed to keep in their rooms.
Grace Community has seen fruit in the form of several teens who responded to God’s invitation at an open court outreach and in four new families who visited the church following a weeklong sports camp outreach.
Pastor Roger Viksnes from 59th Street Church adds:
One of the things I am the most excited and encouraged about as a result of the Impact group is the young people from our church seeing their peers serving the Lord gladly and joining with them. That has carried over even after the Impact group left.
Once again this year Mission Impact made a significant contribution in the lives of the youth missionaries, the churches they served, and the many individuals and families who were touched with God’s love.
Edited from a variety of sources by Joel Nordtvedt, Executive Director of North American Mission