Road Trip Season

Inaugural USG Student Org Games

I look up to the mountains — does my help come from there?
My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth!
(Psalms 121:1-2)

​ Greetings from Kent! It’s road trip season! I love the snacks that go along with a road trip (my personal favorites are Lemonheads and Blue Diamond Smoked Almonds). I love the songs that go along with a road trip (our family creates a new collaborative playlist every summer). And I love the variety of landscapes that go along with a road trip: farmlands… cities… grasslands… mountains… And this summer, I’m thrilled that I’m going to get to experience more than my fair share of mountains, thanks to a couple of different ministry opportunities that I want to share with you (and for which I could hopefully recruit your prayer support).

First, at the end of this week I get to travel to and through the Appalachian Mountains, to Clayton, North Carolina. This trip was originally conceived of as a Centennial Life Group Road Trip, with about a dozen of us from Northeast Ohio who were excited to visit one of our group members whose home town is in the Raleigh region. We wanted to take advantage of “road trip season” to build community, alleviate loneliness, and encourage one another in the Lord. Unfortunately, as summer jobs and internships and family commitments started falling into place, our prospective crew kept getting smaller and smaller: from multiple-vehicles-size… to minivan-size… to a size that can fit in my Honda Civic. Even so, after further prayer and conversation, it seemed like the smaller-scale road trip would still be worthwhile. So, we’re gearing up and getting ready to leave on Friday morning. Please be praying for us!

Last Centennial Life Group Gathering of the School Year

My main travel companion for this road trip will be a student named Nich, who is heading into his second year of studying Exercise Science at Kent State University (he is pictured in the center of this group photo, wearing a black T-shirt). He’s one of three new apprentices to join the Centennial Life Group leadership team at the end of the most recent school year. He had an amazing year of spiritual growth in his first year with H2O, and he was baptized in the Spring. At that time, he said, “I was blessed to grow up in a Christian family… But it wasn’t until around high school, and really the past couple of years, when I started to build that relationship with [Jesus] and understand the difference between knowing of Him and knowing Him personally. And that’s when things really started to change and I really started to see what He can do for my life. And especially since coming to college and meeting everyone here at H2O, I’ve seen the peace and the joy and the clarity that He can bring someone. And me, personally, I’m just so thankful for that.”

H2O Centennial Super Bowl Party

The student that we’re traveling to visit in North Carolina is a young woman named Tabby. She is also heading into her second year at Kent State University, studying Nursing. And she’s also one of the three new apprentices to join the Centennial Life Group leadership team in April (Tabby is pictured with the long hair on the right, sitting next to the third of our group’s new apprentices, Shekinah). She doesn’t have much in the way of spiritual support systems, back in North Carolina, so Nich and I are eager to hang out with her and her family for a while. We’ll also be visiting a church together on Sunday morning, before we head back to Ohio. But hopefully, we can help to see Tabby continue to build on the momentum that she established during the school year.

Tabby was also baptized this Spring (about a month before Nich), and at that time she reflected on something another student had shared in her Snapshot (testimony) during a previous H2O worship gathering, calling out the myth that “God gives His toughest battles to His strongest soldiers.” She said, “I agree [that such a sentiment is not accurate]. Because God puts us into situations sometimes where we have no choice but to call on Him. And I feel like He’s done that for me. And I feel like that’s why I can testify to the grace that He’s had on me and is having on all of us.” Hopefully, our road trip to North Carolina will be another opportunity for all of us to testify to God’s grace and provide some life-giving encouragement for each of us to keep walking by faith through what we at H2O often call “The Summer Scatter.”

After a week back in Ohio, I’ll get to travel to and through the Rocky Mountains. As in previous summers, I’ll be helping to lead the Collegiate Mentoring Program, focusing on staff development (even as those staff focus on student development through the Leadership Training program). I’ll share more about that in our July prayer letter. But for now, I just want to say thank you for your partnership in ministry that helps to make these mountainous, road trip ministry adventures possible! Please keep praying for us! We’ll be in touch…

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