August 2018 Prayer Letter

Pray for us… that God may open a door for our message,
so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ.

(Colossians 4:3)

Greetings from Kent! Our kids just got their new school schedules for this year (one for middle school + two for high school!). Elliot’s already had two scrimmages with his soccer team this week, and the marching band’s first performance of the year is this evening. I’d say “things are heating up” — but the weather has been pretty hot and steamy in northeast Ohio, ever since we got back from Colorado! I think you know what I mean, though. There’s a feeling that the new school year is surging in, and the summer is drawing to a close.

It’s been a good summer of ministry. The group of 20 who went out to Colorado for the Leadership Training program have been profoundly affected by their experiences in the mountains. There was another group of about 60 young people who stayed involved with our Sunday worship gatherings, small group Bible Studies, and other informal community-building activities, throughout the summer months. Gospel conversations have continued to happen in both Estes Park and Kent — not to mention all of the conversations with friends and family members of students who went “back home” for the summer. God has been working!

As much as I love the summer, though, things get really exciting this month!
We need lots of prayer for the coming weeks. Here below, I’ve sketched out a rough itinerary of our “Welcome Week” activities with you, to help you understand this season of collegiate ministry a little bit better and to equip you with the means to pray for us and with us. I know I do this every year, and I admit that our August prayer letters lack some of the storytelling I typically prefer to include — but I feel like it’s so strategic to have you guys praying with us, day by day (as much as possible)! Will you, please, pray with us for God to open doors of connection in the following ministry opportunities?

  • August 11-12 – H2O Network “Blitz Conference” in Bowling Green: Staff and students from across the region getting envisioned and equipped together at this overnight event (back in the place where it all started for me as a freshman in 1995!).
  • August 13-15 – H2O Kent Staff Summit: Over three days of meetings, our staff team plans all of the strategic outreach initiatives that will play out over the following couple of weeks and months.
  • August 15 – International Students arrive on campus!
  • August 16-17 – American Culture and Conversation: We organize an informal learning environment at the University’s Student Center, where students can meet friendly Americans and work on their English language skills.
  • August 18 – International Friendship Connection Furniture Fair: We offer used furniture to new international friends who need to furnish their new homes in America. This meets significant practical and relational needs for newcomers.
  • August 19-20 – Incoming Freshmen arrive on campus!
  • August 19-22 – Welcome Week Outreach Initiatives: We help freshmen move into their residence halls. We hand out information about H2O. We organize various sporting activities and social events to establish connections with new students. Perhaps the four most-strategic days of outreach in our ministry’s entire year. It all culminates with the “Blast-Off,” where the University organizes a massive fair and laser light show, and we make a ton of new connections.
  • August 23 – The First Day of Classes for all Kent State University students!
  • August 23 – H2O Kick-Off: At the end of the first day of classes, H2O hosts our first large-scale public event. We’re planning to do this event outdoors this year, on the Student Green, so please pray with us for good weather!
  • August 26 – H2O Welcome Sunday worship gathering and picnic: From this point, forward, we maintain regular rhythms for our worship gatherings, Life Groups, and such.
  • September 10 – First night of The Well, our seven-week discipleship experience designed to present a compelling picture of what it looks like to follow Jesus as a student at Kent State University. Every Monday night from this date to October 22nd, we’re expecting a group of 75-100 prospective new members who will learn and grow together.
  • September 28-29 – H2O Fall Retreat: We go pretty hard all the way up until this retreat. It’s kind of the climax to all our beginning-of-the-year initiatives. Almost every year at our Fall Retreat, we see new commitments to Christ and His community at Kent State.

The next few weeks are going to be a lot of fun — but also a lot of work. Thank you so much for your support, both in prayer and in finances. It’s people like you who allow us to make the most of this opportunity. We’ll be in touch…

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