We Look Back To Look Forward

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We Look Back To Look Forward

We look back in awe over God's faithfulness and commitment to seeing His gospel grow among students in Sheffield...

“Being a part of CCP has been a very growing and eye opening experience that has reframed the way I think about the world and how I can live out my life on mission for God. This has been a blessing and privilege.” – Sarah Trapp

 

Looking through the carousel of visual memories above, it is really amazing to reflect on all that we have been able to do, and all of the people in Sheffield that our team has been able to point to the Gospel. For that, we thank God and you who have helped to make this possible through your prayer and support. To recap on this summer, myself and six other U.S. students formed a Cross Cultural Project (CCP). We were later joined by seven British students to launch a Summer Leadership Project (SLP) in Sheffield, U.K. Over the last two months we have learned how to study the Bible, been trained in evangelism, shared our faith collectively with hundreds of students, processed applying the gospel to so many areas of life, and experienced deep fellowship - all within our local church in Sheffield. 

Michaiah Melody provides some introspective thoughts pertaining to this summer project: “Once, our trip leader Devin {fondly known by our team as ‘dad’} was leading one of our training sessions and he asked us the questions: “How has God saved you in the past?” and “How is God saving you now?” When I first started to think about these questions I honestly did not know how to start answering them. As I look back over the past years of my life, I can see how different I am, but in all reality I don’t feel all that different. It is a strange and almost out-of-body experience to look back at your previous self, but when I come to think of it, it is a constant practice. We have been told by many to look to the future. However, everyday I realize more and more that I cannot look forward without looking back. In days past I would never have imagined that I would be sitting here in England. If God had not shown up, I would not be in our little Sheffield apartment smiling because I am remembering all the laughs and cream teas we have already shared in such a short time. God has truly transformed me. Thinking through the answers to these questions has helped me to communicate the Gospel better to the university students that we meet. I am able to see how it impacts my life in a personal way.”

Looking forward to the Prayer Focus for STP ’16 Missions Week:

  • Pray for the lost and unbelieving people the CCP team have engaged with this summer.
    • Specifically university students that attend The University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University.
  • Pray that the English people group would know Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and savior, and, in turn, they would share the gospel message in their thoughts, words and deeds with others.
  • Pray that the international students we shared the gospel with: 
    • Would get connected with a gospel-centered Church in Sheffield.
    • Would get connected with the long term CO team planted in Sheffield.
    • Travel back to their native country and share the gospel there.
  • Pray God would start planting the seeds for next year’s CCP team and the years to come.
    • Many of the students on STP '16 ARE members of future CCP teams.
  • Finally, pray for the needs of the world to hear Jesus!

We want to take the opportunity as a team to recognize your work as supporters. Through prayer and financial support people from all over the world have been able to hear about the glorious grace of the Father through Jesus Christ. Know that your support has the opportunity to change an eternity for someone, and that is not a small thing. Know that not only are we grateful, but that God sees your faithfulness. Please continue to pray for our team during these post-short term mission days. Pray we would soak in the rest of this project and actually process all we have learned. Pray this summer would be a BIG step in shaping us to become life-long laborers for Christ!

- Michael Jolivette

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Train For The World

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Train For The World

Our final train for Manchester chugs out of the station at 7 a.m. on July 17.  Sunday is our last day being on the SLP and living in Sheffield. Steve Discher gave me an “emotions wheel” during a Discipleship Group the other night. The wheel looks quite silly, but is a useful resource. It is a pie chart that lists over fifty words that can describe how I am feeling. As I think about leaving the U.K. and traveling back to the states, I feel sad, astonished, excited and fulfilled for various reasons. I feel my teammates could definitely add to this list! (I also felt "helped" after I received this pie-wheel. Thanks Dish!) Please pray for our team’s return training, processing culture shock, and for a safe journey back home. (Return training is one of the trainings Campus Outreach does for summer project students.) C.O.M. summer projects are nuanced in ways that stimulate vision for the college campus and global outreach. The projects are also designed to train students for their city, workplace, and current context they find themselves in. Vision casting and training are impossible without God’s providence in raising up godly men and women who labor within this particular university ministry. With that said, our CCP team is grateful to have been a part of “year zero” of CO Sheffield, which has rebranded itself into “TCH Student Ministry Team.”

I feel thankful for student workers like Andrew and Sara, Steve and Lindsay, Tim and Cassie and others who plan and lead us through Christ-centered talks and breakout sessions on different topics. From the trainings, our team is learning how to navigate through the gospel story of the Bible, and apply it to life situations using our gospel-renewed lenses. Alli Wood’s favorite training on the STP and SLP has always been "Life Training" because it has helped her read the scriptures and uncover biblical ethics on topics like career and calling. “The Bible gives humanity hope for work. People acknowledge both how deeply frustrating and difficult work can be and how encouraging the spiritual hope of the Gospel must be if they are going to face the challenge of pursuing careers in this world.” The talks are just the tip of the iceberg, however, as our SLP has witnessed the Knights, Dischers and Devanes pour themselves out for us on a deep, relational level. (I also want to include the relational ministry of Nat, Josh and Ben as well!) Jake Wood shared with me how the student workers bring a wealth of wisdom to the table. “I think this SLP is led by some seasoned university workers. The elders at The Crowded House respect the student team, are happy to have them, and the student team sets a good example for how to culturally interact.” I think the student workers genuinely want to know how we are really doing physically, emotionally and spiritually during our highs and lows of the SLP. My teammates and I agree the student workers help strengthen our intimacy with God by spending time in the word and praying with each of us. The SLP has been a place to share the Gospel with the lost and be reminded again and again of what the Gospel is to those found in Christ. Therefore, I have felt sharpened and humbled by the SLP leaders who see sin in my life and are not complacent in letting it fester in the dark. I feel incredibly cared for having advocates like Tim and Andrew in my life. These student workers call me out by helping me drag sin into the light, and they help me fight it by God’s grace.

"Jesus was not kidding when he said, "Follow me." He was not bluffing when he said, "I will make you fishers of men" (Matthew 4:19). God is serious about sending and firm about our fishing. His will is not a total mystery. Jesus' last words on earth ring with clarity and power: "As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you" (John 20:21). God is making us disciple-makers - all of us." - Andrew Knight, Director of Student Team

"Jesus was not kidding when he said, "Follow me." He was not bluffing when he said, "I will make you fishers of men" (Matthew 4:19). God is serious about sending and firm about our fishing. His will is not a total mystery. Jesus' last words on earth ring with clarity and power: "As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you" (John 20:21). God is making us disciple-makers - all of us." - Andrew Knight, Director of Student Team

This is authentic discipleship – That a group of U.S.-Americans would uproot themselves and be planted in the U.K. to invest their lives into a specific sphere of people (university students), who in turn would:

  • see the depraved state of their ethnocentric lives, as evidenced in current events,
  • be burdened by today’s racial violence and national-referendum uncertainties,
  •  know Jesus Christ is sovereign over all earthly kingdoms, and the gospel message means lasting reconciliation for the world’s ethnic divisions.

We, the SLP and CCP, feel blessed by having older men and women give us counsel for how the Gospel affects every area of life. This is true training.

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The S. L. P.

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The S. L. P.

During the end of May and beginning of June, our CCP team spent time adjusting to the UK and learning how to be ministry competent in this culture. Meanwhile, our English counterparts were revising and taking their final exams at their respective Unis. Now, both groups have come together and are participating in a program we call the Sheffield Leadership Project (SLP).

"We are very excited to be putting on a five-week program for students this holiday, similar to the Summer Training Projects we did back in the states." - Tim Devane, SLP '16 Director

"We are very excited to be putting on a five-week program for students this holiday, similar to the Summer Training Projects we did back in the states." - Tim Devane, SLP '16 Director

about the project

At Campus Outreach, our mobilization strategy is organized around the “lost worlds” graduates will find themselves in after college; back to the college campus, the neighborhood and workplace, and/or cross-cultural, overseas missions. The first ever Sheffield Leadership Project stays true to this strategy. It is an immersion experience focused on the word, community and people of God. The Project includes the CCP team, a group of six university students that study in Sheffield and one student who commuted from Brighton. The English and American students will spend the summer living together, getting training on evangelism and discipleship, and putting that into practice through ministering to various communities in Sheffield.

These SLP objectives gel with The Crowded House core values as well. The SLP has been an investment opportunity where we train and develop in three major Christian areas: word, community and mission. TCH ministry team’s main concern has been, and continues to be, that the SLP would see Jesus as more wonderful, more beautiful, and more glorious than anything else. God has enabled this to happen by His Spirit, and for that we are very thankful. I personally have learned a lot about what it looks like to do mission as an SLP community. It has been such a privilege to do ministry alongside God’s people in a place like Sheffield. Mission was never meant to be done alone, and being part of the SLP has grounded that reality for me in a number of ways. We hope that the SLP is an effort to live out an Acts 6:7 reality: “And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.” 

"The SLP is: Intense, because we have so much going on during a day! Challenging, because I have been called out of my comfort zone. Sacrificing, because I die to myself daily. Encouraging, because I get to see God at work in my life over a short period of time. The SLP has been the best decision of my holiday!" - Kelly Tomlinson, SLP participant

"The SLP is: Intense, because we have so much going on during a day! Challenging, because I have been called out of my comfort zone. Sacrificing, because I die to myself daily. Encouraging, because I get to see God at work in my life over a short period of time. The SLP has been the best decision of my holiday!" - Kelly Tomlinson, SLP participant

team testimonies

During evangelism training, Andrew Knight challenged the SLP team to describe the gospel and how it applies to your life in one to two sentences. I have quoted some of the responses from my British teammates:

1) Kimbrah Watts’ experience of church life and what she was told about God never fit into the way she wanted to live. But when Kimbrah moved away from home for Uni, she realized how relevant and necessary Jesus’ sacrifice was for her. Because of Jesus’ actions, like his death and resurrection, Kimbrah is secure in his love and forever changed.

2) Francesca Gan believes all people find their identity in something. For Fran, it used to be following rules or a religious code. But Fran was never satisfied with her life, self or other people until she found her ultimate identity in something that will always satisfy – Jesus.

3) John Granford just became a Christian three weeks ago. Praise God! John said it was hard to sum up his testimony in a sentence, but if he could it would be: “My faith in Christianity is like Wi-Fi. It is invisible, but it has the power to connect me to what I truly need in life.”

4) Becky Knight believed in God since she was a child, but it has only been over the past year that she truly came to realize her need for a savior. Becky believes this is because of the selfishness and sin that was and can be in her heart. “Jesus lived the perfect human life and died the perfect death so that I could be set free from sin. He is my savior!”

5) Sophie Jones understood God’s grace as the sending of His son to take her judgment. By God’s grace, Sophie turned away from herself and toward Jesus, knowing it was because of him that she is redeemed and adopted into God’s family.

6) Dave Stewart was 15 when he had strong doubts whether there was a god or not. Dave’s skepticism towards the Gospel continued for another five years. Even in this season, Dave read THE book (the Bible) where he encountered the truth of Jesus Christ. Today Dave believes, “A godless worldview is an untenable position.”

prayer requests

Please join us in prayer as we take on a full load of ministry-minded activities this week….

  • Please pray for the students participating in the SLP this summer! Pray especially for them to grow in their love for Christ and desire to see him known and enjoyed in Sheffield.
  •  Pray that the Lord would continue to work where He is clearly already working, and that the speaking of Jesus’ name with Uni students would not return void.
  • Pray for the lost students who are excited about hanging out with us during our events: TCH gatherings, worldview nights, Thursday BBQs, the English language tutoring center, and other spontaneous events.
  • Pray we would build bigger hearts for ministering to the international students attending the Uni of Sheffield for the summer and/or the next years of their life.
  • Pray for the students who have expressed interest in learning about the gospel while visiting with our team.
  • Pray for the students who are open to talking about the existence of God, the legitimacy of Christianity and the implications of faith.
  • Finally, please pray for team unity, grace upon grace, and love to "cover a multitude of sins..."

Much thanks to our fabulous photographer: Alli Wood! Click through the slides.

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A Copenhagen Dream

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A Copenhagen Dream

In mid-June, the CCP team, some English students and Crowded House workers traveled to Copenhagen, Denmark. A big part of our one week trip was partnering with a local Acts 29 Danish church and helping them with anything they needed. Little did we know, the Danish Christians we met would be a great help to us…

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"A CHURCH THAT TAKES FAITH, DOUBT AND LIFE SERIOUSLY."

Copenhagen Church

Copenhagen Church (C.C.) began in 1998 after several Danish people met to discuss the possibility of forming a new congregation in Copenhagen. After vigorous growth, the church decided to move to the Bethesda school building to do worship. Pastor Claus Gronbaek describes C.C. as an independent, Evangelical Lutheran congregation. "This means that we have the same confession as the state Lutheran church, but are also completely separate and not bound by its laws, rules and bishops." Claus continued on a personal note, "Please pray for the leadership of Denmark's state church. That they would not conform to the ways of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of their minds. Then they will be able to see what God's good, pleasing and perfect will is."

Sarah Trapp appreciated some of Claus’ inspiring stories: “He talked about inviting his unbelieving neighbors over to his house. Claus had no expectations of talking about Christianity during the fellowship, but he and his neighbors ended up praying over things happening in their lives! As the weeks progressed and more neighborhood gatherings occurred, Claus’ family and neighbors started reading the Bible together. I think this shows how people are drawn to Christianity through hospitality.”

"The Dream"

Pastor Claus’ kindred spirit carries into his thoughts on ecclesiology: “Any church ought to have a foundation that says something about who you are and a vision for what you want. A church manual ought to be the Bible, and we have three points that gather what the Bible says about being a church. We call it “The Dream” because we recognize that it is not yet a full reality in Copenhagen, but something we long and work towards that characterizes us as a church.” The Dream revolves around three words: gospel, community and mission. Gospel is a central and invaluable part of life in Copenhagen Church. Community is a determining factor in which Christians give and receive. Mission is something one comes to know and express themselves through thought, word and deed. Ida Pedersen is an intern at C.C. and gave us a walking tour of the university she attends. Ida describes The Dream as, "Sort of our vision for our church. We call it The Dream because it is something that we want to keep exploring, expanding and dreaming about."

Claus Grønbæk has been the lead pastor of Copenhagen Church for fifteen years. Claus considers himself a life-long learner of church planting.

Claus Grønbæk has been the lead pastor of Copenhagen Church for fifteen years. Claus considers himself a life-long learner of church planting.

Gudstjeneste & K-Grupper

Claus described worship at Copenhagen Church as a weekly session where members celebrate the church's lord and hope. "We have a gathering on Sunday where there are many people of all ages. We do music, song, prayer, reflection, communion and a sermon that is understandable and relevant." Through preaching, sacraments, and testimony, Claus equips and challenges people to a discipleship with Jesus. "We would also like to be a community during the week that looks to the interests of others. Therefore, we gather in small groups called "K-Grupper." A K-Group is a small community of about 7 to 10 people, where you can meet in each other’s homes and ‘share life together.’ K groups provide a platform to learn from one another, and to find out how Jesus, faith and forgiveness apply to ordinary Danish life.

A Strong Vision

Copenhagen Church's vision and characteristics have always been to "The ones we know, must know God." This vision has led to involvement in various networks and sources of inspiration. In recent years it has been particularly Acts 29 and The Crowded House in Sheffield, England who have been CC's role models and sparring partners. This has led to an increased focus on the gospel, leadership training, discipleship, fellowship and an identity of being "sent" to the world. 

Our group was extremely blessed by the church pastor and interns at Copenhagen Church. We learned more about C.C. from them, and what the Lord is doing in Copenhagen to advance His gospel. I think Devin Smith summarized the visit well when he said, "I am overwhelmed with thankfulness for new Danish friends from Københavner Kirken! Thank you for opening your homes, providing food, and for sharing your lives with us. We will remember flødeboller, laughter, and singing songs together. But most of all we will remember your love for us foreigners when we were in need."

"Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality" (Romans 12:13).

The slide show is courtesy of Devin Smith and Alli Wood.

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Gospel Intentionality in Ordinary Life

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Gospel Intentionality in Ordinary Life

As you may know, The Crowded House (TCH) spearheads the ministry for our CCP team and the CO expansion. Previous CCPs have enjoyed being part of “Life Groups,” which were groups of 10 to 20 people separated into “ministry targets” or different lost people groups in Sheffield. Now, TCH has launched “Ministry Teams,” which stay true to the old life group endeavor of reaching people with the gospel through every day contexts. Steve Timmis, Lead Pastor of TCH and co-author of the book “Total Church,” writes on gospel intentionality: 

“Major events have a role to play in church life, but the bedrock of gospel ministry is low-key, ordinary, day-to-day work which often goes unseen. Most gospel ministry involves ordinary people doing ordinary things with gospel intentionality. Whether it is helping a friend, working at the office or going to the cinema, there is a commitment to building relationships, modeling the Christian faith and talking about the gospel as a natural part of conversation. People often ask if they can come to see our ministry at The Crowded House. But all there is to see is ordinary people doing ordinary things…” (page 61).

For the past month, our team has accompanied "The Green House," which are weekly gatherings for people interested in joining a Ministry Team. We spend time eating meals at public spaces, studying biblical topics like vocation in the book of Proverbs, participating in small group discussion, and spending time in community. Michaiah Melody likes meeting people from The Crowded House and being involved in the different opportunities the church provides. “I feel a sense of community building as we meet every week. People from TCH are seeing how they can practically try to live out the gospel in different settings... Eating supper with everyone is pretty great too!”

I have talked with TCH members who are passionate about brainstorming new ministry possibilities. There are many ministry activities that are actively being planned for and could be launched if there are enough people from The Greenhouse interested in rallying for the activity. Some activities that already exist include: youth club, litter pickup, toddler groups, outdoor adventures and creative writing. My personal favorite is "PHAB," which stands for physically disabled and able-bodied group. Gareth Bagnell is a good mate of mine and is the leader of PHAB. Gareth told me, “It is a social club for physically disabled and able-bodied young people, aged 14 to 30. We love to do trips, holidays, swimming, sports, arts, crafts and outdoor pursuits.” I’ve been blessed by Gareth’s friendship. He values God’s sanctity of life and how God has created every person with equal dignity, value and worth, while also displaying God’s unique design in everyone. Our CCP team has been blessed by The Green House group and their drive to strategically and intentionally share the gospel in the ordinary.

Gareth (pictured left) explains what his Green House idea is all about.

Gareth (pictured left) explains what his Green House idea is all about.

Well, the week has finally come to an end and the Euro Cup is underway! We are excited to witness this event in a country so very passionate about football. God's faithfulness, despite repeatedly encountering apathy, atheism and extreme brokenness among Uni students has been real to us. As it will be our fifth full week being on campus, we have been aiming to follow up with the many relationships we have begun over the earlier weeks. There are many relationships we have made or will have the opportunity to follow up with in the coming weeks whether it be playing sports, grabbing lunches/tea, shopping, or (hopefully) visiting the Lake District. So pray for softened hearts, Godly conversation, fear of God (and not man), and opened eyes for our new friends to see and desire the Gospel to be true in their lives. I would also ask for prayer, for patience and continually renewed faith on our end. Pray that we would be rejoicing in God using us, whether we see the fruit or not. Thank you all again for your prayers and support! Feel free to page through the slide show posted below.

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Contextualizing Campus Outreach

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Contextualizing Campus Outreach

Some thoughts on the CO expansion and how this CCP is taking shape...

Andrew Knight, a CO director, recently posted a Desiring God article on the topic of missions. I encourage everyone to read it. Here is an excerpt: 
“I remember the time I first heard about the world’s greatest missionary (Jesus) — how he left his home, his family, and everything familiar to minister among the most unreached peoples. He immersed himself in his new culture and contextualized the gospel in every way, becoming all things to all people…” (www.desiringgod.org/articles/four-reasons-why-we-leave)

Andrew and Sara Knight arrived in Sheffield in July, 2015 to minister in a secularized and post-Christian Europe. Andrew now leads some of our CCP ministry trainings at a local Acts 29 church called The Crowded House. Our team has been learning how he and the rest of the Sheffield team can transition to a new culture and effectively minister in a different part of the world. The Knights, Devanes and Dischers are reminding our team that ministry contextualization is best lived out by being connected with the local Crowded House church. We are reminded that being church-based is a CO distinctive: “Campus Outreach believes in a relationship with the church. Unlike most campus ministries, CO is not a para-church organization. Though they are not connected to one particular denomination, each regional ministry is under the leadership of a regional church body.” 

CO staff, like Andrew, have collaborated with Crowded House pastors and elders over the years. The fruit of fostered partnership has been the launch of multiple CCP teams and a CO Sheffield team. Campus Outreach in England is still Campus Outreach. However, I have learned words like “campus” and “outreach” are not as relevant and used in Sheffield as they are in the Twin Cities. Therefore, in order to adapt to the present university context and reside under the local church authority, this CO team is known as "The Crowded House Student Workers." Andrew put it simply, “This is how we now identify ourselves.” 

Steve Discher noted, “The Crowded House student team in Sheffield seeks to minister to university students in the area. The Student Workers want to bless the city and universities in Sheffield by building relationships with students, encouraging students, and sharing a Christian perspective on life. We want to be connected and work with others in the city to help students in their time in University and the transition after graduation.” I agree. As Christians, we are united in our commitment to Christ. Yet, our individual roles and how we follow him can look very different because of our unique cultural circumstances.

Aaron Wang is excited to partake in a lot of the life-on-life activities Student Workers do all year. “I am really encouraged by the Student Workers’ passion for reaching lost Sheffield citizens and I think that directly flows into our CCP team. Andrew really has a heart for the nations. The Devanes and Dischers also bring a lot of experience which translates into a prepared Cross Cultural Project.”

I like how the Student Workers are so integrated into the Crowded House community and mission. I think adopting the church’s values provides a crucial source of accountability, leadership and resources to better build Christian laborers at The University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University.

Andrew later concluded, “We hope to be able to connect local university students with our student workers and the Crowded House. Our Student Workers want to be strategic in being a safe church home for families and students. We are a seeking, welcoming, and discipling home.” Our team is excited to participate in this mission and we look forward to learning more ways that we can contextualize our methods while holding fast to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

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The "Pits" and "Peaks" of Sheffield

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The "Pits" and "Peaks" of Sheffield

We arrived last Saturday morning in Manchester and hopped on a train that took us to our home for the next seven weeks: Sheffield. We checked in to our accommodation for the summer, the Wilson Carlile Center, during the afternoon. We quickly settled in, and spent the remainder of the afternoon getting to know the city. Our team visited grocery stores like "Tesco" and local pubs like "The York." We really enjoyed the pub experience and talking with Tim and Cassie Devane about the city and culture, as they have been in Sheffield for over six months already. Our team walks most places, and I mean we really walk everywhere. Imagine the amount of walking you would do in a day at the zoo or an amusement park - now multiply that by 10 and you have a regular day in Sheffield!

Last Sunday was our first day at The Crowded House church. I had a great time worshipping with the local body on our first Sunday in the country. It was incredible to be with a body of people across the world, worshipping the same God, who redeemed us in Christ. I was reminded during worship through song that, for those of us in Christ, that we are known, loved, and accepted by a big God who is at work in massive ways all over the world. It was a privilege to be able to worship with our brothers and sisters here, and I look forward to the many more times we will be able to do that throughout the summer.

On Monday we gathered for a time of training on cultural awareness and practical advice for conversing with Sheffield citizens. Our team walked to Sheffield’s Botanical Gardens and started conversations with strangers, asking questions and hearing their stories, all with the intent of learning more about their culture. I talked with a gent named Hugh O’Daily. Hugh was very talkative and opinionated about U.K. politics in particular. Hugh recommended I visit the bear pit located on the other side of the Garden. He told me a story that took place during the Romantic period when people would capture bears and store them in the pit for entertainment. As bizarre as the story was, Hugh and I then had a helpful chat on the importance of animal treatment. Later that day, our CCP team joined CO Sheffield (the Devanes, Dischers and Knights), a group of U.K. University students and some members from TCH for a hike in the Peak District. It was a wonderful afternoon full of getting to know some of our ministry team and marveling at God’s beautiful creation.

Victoria Vineyard, a CO Greenville Staff member, shared her favorite ministry activity from this past week: "I enjoyed the nations training where Tim Devane did a talk on current event stories like the Syrian refugee crisis. I appreciated being reminded of the state of how a lot of people live in the world and just the sheer number of people without the gospel."

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I am blown away by the amount of generous people God has provided who have committed to pray and/or give financially in order to make this trip happen. If you are reading this, then that may be you; if so, thank you! 

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Greater Perspective on God's Mission

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Greater Perspective on God's Mission

We made it to Sheffield. Our team is experiencing a rush of emotions as we adjust to this new culture, but cannot avoid missing friends and family back home. I will be missing my friend Harmon, a 2016 Bethel University graduate and a member of last year's Cross Cultural Project team. I was able to ask Harmon a few CCP questions with the aim of helping our team understand the larger impact God’s mission can have on an individual and the world:

 

How were your expectations and feelings alleviated, challenged and/or changed during and after your CCP experience?

“In England I was able to see more of my weakness and God’s strength through it. God showed me that it (this season of life) was not all about me, but it was all about Him. I realized I would not be able to change someone’s heart, as that is something only God can do. My fears of having a perfect conversation to have someone understand the Gospel were alleviated when I put my faith in Jesus instead of myself.”

How do you now view short-term missions in light of doing CCP?

“Personally, I do not view CCP as a short-term mission, but a mid-term mission. The impact that we are able to have on students is much greater than what is had on week-long trips because of more opportunities for life-on-life discipleship and evangelism. Furthermore, I think that having long-term staff in Sheffield is helpful because even though our CCP team left, we were able to get students connected with the local church and staff from CO that would be there for a longer time. I know that I was impacted from this missions trip and I believe the relationships made with local church members and students were beneficial as well.”

How do you think your CCP experience will translate into this summer, being an STP ‘16 Team Leader and CO contingent staff?

“My CCP experience has already translated into being an STP Team Leader and CO contingent staff, as CCP helped to show me more of what a day in the life of a staff member looks like. Having more experiences in sharing the Gospel with those that do not understand it has allowed me to see that is something I want to do for the rest of my life. From my experiences I will also be able to remember that salvation, or a relationship with Jesus, is not based upon me or anything that I do, but God. Therefore I will be able to trust more in God while being a Team Leader and on Staff in the future.”

Our team is thankful for Harmon's words, as they provide insight into the long-term impact one mid-term missions project can have. Please pray that as our team settles into Sheffield we would learn from the people we meet at The Crowded House church and the ministry trainings we will receive from the CO Sheffield team. Pray that the God who created different cultures would use these things to draw us closer to Him.

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Spotlights on the Team

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Spotlights on the Team

With our departure for England fast approaching, we thought this would be an opportune time to share more about the team and the reasons we've each signed on for the Cross-Cultural Project this year. The aim is that our words may be translated into fuller prayer requests for the work God may do in and through each of us this summer in the U.K.

minneapolis@campusoutreach.org

Michael Jolivette – Bethel – Senior – Youth Ministry major

Why am I doing CCP?
“I heard a sermon about missions and felt moved by the Spirit to prayerfully consider joining a short term missions team. I am about to graduate from college and I am not tethered down by life circumstances like a full-time job. There may be no better time in my life to commit to experiencing a different part of the world, reach the lost campus and be sharpened by Christians who worship the same God. I believe God has positioned me to grow closer to Him in ways I do not expect by doing this cross-cultural trip.”

Fun Facts
“I love running, listening to music, playing the board game Risk and teasing my fat pug/corgi dog named “Porgi.”

minneapolis@campusoutreach.org

Michaiah Melody – Northwestern – Senior –  TESL major 

What do I look forward to in the U.K.? At the Universities?
“I am looking forward to going to the U.K. so I can experience a new culture and meet believers from across the world. I also really like rain and I heard that it rains a lot in the U.K. and so I am looking forward to that as well.” 

Fun Facts
“A big goal I want to accomplish during my lifetime is to write a book. When I was young, my favorite super hero was Superman because he was the only superhero I knew about. A quirky habit of mine is that I absolutely love making Powerpoints.” 

minneapolis@campusoutreach.org

Jake Wood – Northwestern – Senior – History major

What am I most scared about going into this summer?
“I am excited about experiencing a new place, in a new culture and learning how to love people and share the gospel in that context. But I am also very scared about social interaction. I am a very introverted person, and starting new relationships is not one of my strengths, but I am excited to change that!” 

Fun Facts
“The number one thing on my bucket list is to travel EVERYWHERE. And to own a Saint Bernard.”

minneapolis@campusoutreach.org

Devin Smith – CO Resource Staff – Fearless Leader

What do I look forward to in the U.K.? At the Universities?
“I'm excited to partner with the CO Sheffield team and to engage British students about what they believe. There's a need for the Gospel in the U.K., and I'm excited to see how the Lord will work. I am also motivated to gain some overseas experience and to see if doing missions long-term is something my heart is drawn towards.”

Fun Facts
“I was a competitive weightlifter in high school. I loved hiking in Glacier National Park last summer. I am an avid Star Wars fan, so I purchased a Jabba the Hutt action figure and put it on my desk at work.”

minneapolis@campusoutreach.org

Aaron Wang – Bethel – Junior – Math major

Why am I doing CCP?
“I felt led to serve in England and want to develop a vision for the needs of the world. I am also excited about having a flawless English accent and driving the wrong way. I'm most scared for being labeled an American "Yankee."

Fun Facts
“I am a mutant like the ones from X-men. I have an unattached ear and an attached ear. I also do not like the X-men movies.”

minneapolis@campusoutreach.org

Sarah Trapp – Northwestern – Senior – Psychology major

What am I most excited about going into this summer?
“I am most excited to travel with our team and encourage the CO staff over in Sheffield, and also to interact with the British students. And go to coffee shops! I am a little nervous to be rejected if I go up to students to talk with them and they give me the cold shoulder… but maybe that will be good for me!”

Fun Facts
“I am related to the VonTrapp family (Sound of Music). I love to dance and especially tap dance (even though I haven’t done it in awhile). I am all about those coffee shops and latte art, and sunrises/sunsets are literally THE BEST!”

minneapolis@campusoutreach.org

Alli Wood – Northwestern – Senior – Psychology major

What am I most excited and scared about going into this summer?
“I am very excited to live with other students my age who are from Britain. It will be intriguing to see what our differences are and how I can learn from what they do. I also am already in love with our team from the States, and I guess I wouldn’t mind spending most of my summer vacation with them... As you can see, I’m just excited for new friends! Probably my biggest fear walking into this summer has to do with my lack of experience in sharing Christ in an environment where I am not fully comfortable. I hope to grow in challenging unbelievers in their worldview and simply resting in Christ during times (maybe all the time) when I do not see efforts come to fruition.”

Fun Facts
“My favorite drink is coffee for sure! And my guilty pleasures include Ben & Jerry’s 'The Tonight Dough' ice cream. And also, 'The Office'!”

Our team is very thankful for the support our friends, family, and communities have shown during this season of preparation. “Praise God from whom all blessings flow!”

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A Summer of Joy

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A Summer of Joy

There are many ways you can spend a summer in college. Jobs and internships, time with friends and family, or even summer classes are options that cross the minds of most students. At the expense of these possibilities, Campus Outreach Minneapolis has a team of six students who have committed to leveraging their time this summer for the sake of the Gospel going forward in a different country. This annual Campus Outreach trip offers a unique experience that tests the truth of the quote above: is there really more joy in completely giving ourselves over to Christ’s undertaking to reach all peoples with the news that he died for us?

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Short-term to Long-term

We’re are thankful for what we have learned and the ways we have grown and hopeful for what ministry could look like in the fall at our different campuses. I’m sure all of us on the team could talk for quite awhile about the ways God has worked in us and through us over the course of these few months. It has been cool to see that God really does work in our lives and sanctifies us when we walk with him. We are leaving as changed people, and the cool thing is that God will continue to change and grow us and the people here in Sheffield. God does not stop working after we leave here in us or in others. 

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Welcoming International Students

This past week our group was able to participate in an International Café put on by a few local churches in the area to welcome new international students coming into Sheffield. These students come into Sheffield to improve their English for a couple weeks before their courses start in the fall. There were over 600 international students coming in to take the English classes, so there are a lot of new people around campus.

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Our Wonderful Church

What a true blessing it has been to be part of the Crowded House, a community that is so welcoming and on mission, driven by what they know to be true in Christ. We have felt so loved and cared for by the people who attend this church, whether it’s through providing meals, washing machines, or teaching from the Word, the members of the Crowded House have been a constant encouragement and support throughout the summer.

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A Word From The Team

Hannah Henley "One thing that I have loved about our time in Sheffield is the church we attend: The Crowded House. Through The Crowded House we are placed in life groups and this has really shown me what the body of Christ is and how it works to glorify him. Kayleigh and I had the opportunity to have tea with a woman named Dorothy. She is 91 and is from our life group. She has been attending the church since before it was TCH and she is such an example to look up to. She has seen many people come and go at the church and many changes happen, but she continues to love everyone the way Christ would. It is amazing to see so many generations come together and worship our Lord."

Hannah Henley
"One thing that I have loved about our time in Sheffield is the church we attend: The Crowded House. Through The Crowded House we are placed in life groups and this has really shown me what the body of Christ is and how it works to glorify him. Kayleigh and I had the opportunity to have tea with a woman named Dorothy. She is 91 and is from our life group. She has been attending the church since before it was TCH and she is such an example to look up to. She has seen many people come and go at the church and many changes happen, but she continues to love everyone the way Christ would. It is amazing to see so many generations come together and worship our Lord."

Kayleigh Marks "This summer I've learned that being a great listener is the best attribute to have when you're trying to share the gospel with someone. When you are truly listening to someone, they feel cared for and are typically willing to share more about their life. You can meet someone where they're at much easier if you listen to them and try to understand what makes them think the way they do about specific topics. People don't want to hear the gospel in a way that does not resonate with them. God is a personal God and He meets us at a personal level, we need to do the same with those we come into contact with."

Kayleigh Marks
"This summer I've learned that being a great listener is the best attribute to have when you're trying to share the gospel with someone. When you are truly listening to someone, they feel cared for and are typically willing to share more about their life. You can meet someone where they're at much easier if you listen to them and try to understand what makes them think the way they do about specific topics. People don't want to hear the gospel in a way that does not resonate with them. God is a personal God and He meets us at a personal level, we need to do the same with those we come into contact with."

Harmon Squires "Being that a majority of students can be apathetic to the Gospel, it has been very exciting to meet one who is excited about it; Derek. Derek is an international student from Hong Kong that Matthew, Larry, and I met at the University of Sheffield Student's Union. He has been one of the more open and responsive students that we have met on campus and now knows all of the guys on our team beacuse of that. He has been intentional with us in hanging out to play sports and get meals together, which has been awesome as it gives us more opportunities to share with him. We were able to share the Gospel with him and he agreed that devotion to God should be something we do out of thanks for God instead of something done to earn favor. Pray that we are able to continue to spend time with him allowing God to show him what the true Gospel is through us."

Harmon Squires
"Being that a majority of students can be apathetic to the Gospel, it has been very exciting to meet one who is excited about it; Derek. Derek is an international student from Hong Kong that Matthew, Larry, and I met at the University of Sheffield Student's Union. He has been one of the more open and responsive students that we have met on campus and now knows all of the guys on our team beacuse of that. He has been intentional with us in hanging out to play sports and get meals together, which has been awesome as it gives us more opportunities to share with him. We were able to share the Gospel with him and he agreed that devotion to God should be something we do out of thanks for God instead of something done to earn favor. Pray that we are able to continue to spend time with him allowing God to show him what the true Gospel is through us."

Torrin Nelson "This summer I have learned a lot about the difference between understanding God and knowing him. I have often struggled with wanting to pursue God on an intellectual level, putting him into a box of things that I can understand. I have realized this more as I have talked with English students who sort of view God in the same way. But, I know that the times I feel closest to God are times when I am not pursuing him on an intellectual level (usually for my own selfish gain), it is when He is pursuing me - my heart, my emotions, and my mind. Knowing about and understanding God in certain ways can be good, but it will never be satisfying. I will never understand God fully, I will still have doubts and struggles. But thank God (literally) that my salvation is not dependent on how much I understand God or how much I believe. My salvation is dependent on his pursuit of me through Christ, and that’s a truth that he allows me to feel beyond my understanding."

Torrin Nelson
"This summer I have learned a lot about the difference between understanding God and knowing him. I have often struggled with wanting to pursue God on an intellectual level, putting him into a box of things that I can understand. I have realized this more as I have talked with English students who sort of view God in the same way. But, I know that the times I feel closest to God are times when I am not pursuing him on an intellectual level (usually for my own selfish gain), it is when He is pursuing me - my heart, my emotions, and my mind. Knowing about and understanding God in certain ways can be good, but it will never be satisfying. I will never understand God fully, I will still have doubts and struggles. But thank God (literally) that my salvation is not dependent on how much I understand God or how much I believe. My salvation is dependent on his pursuit of me through Christ, and that’s a truth that he allows me to feel beyond my understanding."

Matthew Hunt "I was coming back on a 4-hour bus ride from London after visiting a friend I made in Hong Kong. I was really tired and wanted to sleep or read on the way back. As we were about to leave, this guy came walking down the aisle, and I thought, “I hope he doesn’t sit next to me.” I offered the seat if he wanted it, and even though there were empty seats in the back, he took it, and we began talking. Turned out he lives in Sheffield and is an open-minded Muslim from the region of Kashmir that my life group focuses on. Basically got to hear about his life story, talk about the gospel for several hours, and pray together on the bus. And just a few hours before that, he’d been talking to some catholic nuns as well. We both left thinking our meeting wasn’t accidental."

Matthew Hunt
"I was coming back on a 4-hour bus ride from London after visiting a friend I made in Hong Kong. I was really tired and wanted to sleep or read on the way back. As we were about to leave, this guy came walking down the aisle, and I thought, “I hope he doesn’t sit next to me.” I offered the seat if he wanted it, and even though there were empty seats in the back, he took it, and we began talking. Turned out he lives in Sheffield and is an open-minded Muslim from the region of Kashmir that my life group focuses on. Basically got to hear about his life story, talk about the gospel for several hours, and pray together on the bus. And just a few hours before that, he’d been talking to some catholic nuns as well. We both left thinking our meeting wasn’t accidental."

Lauren Dunlap "As a team, we are reading and discussing Prayer by Tim Keller, which has made me reflect on the trends of my prayer life. Multiple times in the book, Keller talks about the importance of not only knowing about God, but knowing God. I am learning to know and enjoy God more through reflecting on His promises in prayer. Also, being on campus has caused me to feel needy in prayer, knowing that God alone gives favor in friendships and that it is His Spirit, not our words, that are powerful in people's hearts. Throughout the summer, I have noticed my ministry partner, Torrin, and I have prayed more for people we've met on campus and become more dependent on prayer."

Lauren Dunlap
"As a team, we are reading and discussing
Prayer by Tim Keller, which has made me reflect on the trends of my prayer life. Multiple times in the book, Keller talks about the importance of not only knowing about God, but knowing God. I am learning to know and enjoy God more through reflecting on His promises in prayer. Also, being on campus has caused me to feel needy in prayer, knowing that God alone gives favor in friendships and that it is His Spirit, not our words, that are powerful in people's hearts. Throughout the summer, I have noticed my ministry partner, Torrin, and I have prayed more for people we've met on campus and become more dependent on prayer."

Josh Netterlund "I met a student from Spain named Gerard who attended the University of Sheffield this past year and is headed back to Valencia, Spain this fall. Talking with and being able to spend time with Gerard has been one of the best moments of the summer. Right away we were able to connect very well and became friends quickly. We were able to have great conversations about what he believes in and also about what I believe in and how I believe that we are sinful people who are in need of a savior and how Jesus filled that need by dying on the cross and now offers the gift of eternal life to anyone. When I asked him why he was so curious about Christianity he responded that I reminded him of his grandma who is a Christian and is always smiling and happy and trying to serve other people. He told me that he saw that same heart in me and then I was able to tell him that the reason I have that joy and serve others is because of my relationship with Jesus and that he can have that same relationship with Jesus. He was very interested in Christianity and came to church with me before he left to go back to Spain but now has left so I would like to ask for your prayers that God would continue to work on his heart."

Josh Netterlund
"I met a student from Spain named Gerard who attended the University of Sheffield this past year and is headed back to Valencia, Spain this fall. Talking with and being able to spend time with Gerard has been one of the best moments of the summer. Right away we were able to connect very well and became friends quickly. We were able to have great conversations about what he believes in and also about what I believe in and how I believe that we are sinful people who are in need of a savior and how Jesus filled that need by dying on the cross and now offers the gift of eternal life to anyone. When I asked him why he was so curious about Christianity he responded that I reminded him of his grandma who is a Christian and is always smiling and happy and trying to serve other people. He told me that he saw that same heart in me and then I was able to tell him that the reason I have that joy and serve others is because of my relationship with Jesus and that he can have that same relationship with Jesus. He was very interested in Christianity and came to church with me before he left to go back to Spain but now has left so I would like to ask for your prayers that God would continue to work on his heart."

Rob Eller "In the first couple weeks, Josh and I talked to lots of students in the Student Union at the University of Sheffield. We started talking to this one guy about politics and eventually got on the subject of religion. At first he said that he was an atheist and he had lots of reasons why, but after a little bit of discussion he admitted that agnostic might be a better word to describe himself. Unfortunately we never really got to follow up with him again, but I consider it a success because the gospel was shared and the Word was spoken. Also he now readily admits that there may be a God, although the Spirit has not yet opened his eyes to truth."

Rob Eller
"In the first couple weeks, Josh and I talked to lots of students in the Student Union at the University of Sheffield. We started talking to this one guy about politics and eventually got on the subject of religion. At first he said that he was an atheist and he had lots of reasons why, but after a little bit of discussion he admitted that agnostic might be a better word to describe himself. Unfortunately we never really got to follow up with him again, but I consider it a success because the gospel was shared and the Word was spoken. Also he now readily admits that there may be a God, although the Spirit has not yet opened his eyes to truth."

Mckenzie Smith "Being welcomed into the Crowded House community has been one of the richest and most delightful learning experience here in England. My life group models an inspiring dedication and effectiveness in loving and meeting the needs of one another as well as making disciples of international students who are searching for Christ. I’ve also seen God’s love and Lordship alive and active in their families while getting to share meals with them, babysit for their playful kids, and simply sharing in what the English love best: a chat over tea. While participating in one of the investigative Gospel courses they offer for international students, I’ve been encouraged by how the members of my life group relationally invest in their unbelieving friends, seek to truly understand and challenge their beliefs, and boldly and truthfully engage their hearts in regards to Christ. I’m hopeful for how this may equip me for ministry to people from other nations as well as unbelievers in general in the future. I also count myself blessed, through the welcome of families of my life group, to get a clearer picture of the everyday lives of native Brits - seeing how they raise their kids, debate over political, social and personal issues, view education and work, and relentlessly lace their conversations with a lilt of sarcasm." 

Mckenzie Smith
"Being welcomed into the Crowded House community has been one of the richest and most delightful learning experience here in England. My life group models an inspiring dedication and effectiveness in loving and meeting the needs of one another as well as making disciples of international students who are searching for Christ. I’ve also seen God’s love and Lordship alive and active in their families while getting to share meals with them, babysit for their playful kids, and simply sharing in what the English love best: a chat over tea. While participating in one of the investigative Gospel courses they offer for international students, I’ve been encouraged by how the members of my life group relationally invest in their unbelieving friends, seek to truly understand and challenge their beliefs, and boldly and truthfully engage their hearts in regards to Christ. I’m hopeful for how this may equip me for ministry to people from other nations as well as unbelievers in general in the future. I also count myself blessed, through the welcome of families of my life group, to get a clearer picture of the everyday lives of native Brits - seeing how they raise their kids, debate over political, social and personal issues, view education and work, and relentlessly lace their conversations with a lilt of sarcasm." 

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A Week Away

After two weeks of many conversations with many new people, a week of rest and relaxation was definitely needed. I am continually amazed at how exhausting it can be to talk to people for a majority of the day. This break was also nice because most of the English students we have been spending time with have finished their exams and headed home for the summer. 

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Talking With The English

Surface Level

Last week was our first full week spending time with students at the University of Sheffield. Walking up to random people is probably one of the most terrifying things for me, but after the initial awkward tension (usually) a friendly conversation develops. It is this way with most of the students here in Sheffield. Once they get over how weird it is to talk to a random stranger, they open up quite quickly. Willing to talk about the weather, their lives, politics, and (of course) religion. I don’t think I expected people to talk so freely about religion. If you bring up Christianity or God at the University of Minnesota, people usually greet it with hostility because a lot of the time they have been personally hurt by the church, or grew up with it and don’t want anything to do with it. In Sheffield, church or religion is so far removed from their lives that they are able to talk about it as easily as one would politics. But it often doesn’t make a personal connection to their own lives. I think we are learning that a way to get personal is not by talking about religion, but by asking questions about what they believe, whether it be success, happiness, purpose or whatever. It’s finding out what what people are putting their hope in.  

Personal

But, once you ask them a personal question of what they believe, they begin to get more closed off. This can be hard when the God we believe in is such a personal God. A God who sympathizes with our weaknesses (Heb 4:15), has a plan for our future (Jer 29:11), loves us even when we don’t love him (1 John 4:10), and knows us deeply (John 10:14-15). This is the God of the Bible. He is not an intellectual concept that can be solved, He is a personal God who loves us in ways that we cannot understand. This is something that has been so hard in talking to students; they don’t want to believe something unless it can be understood fully. But, we as believers know that we will never understand God. And yes, we could have conversations for hours debating whether God really exists, why evil is in the world, or why there are other religions. All of which are good things to talk about, but those things are not getting at the heart. And the God we believe in gets at the heart of things and that is what the gospel does and is. It is God loving us so much that even while we were still sinners (and continue to be sinners) He sent His son to us to take on that sin so that we could be united into a relationship with Him. It is so much better to know God through that relationship, then to fully understand him.

God Still Works

One thing that can be hard with all of these conversations is feeling like we are not getting anywhere. It can feel discouraging to talk to someone for an hour and walk away feeling like nothing was “accomplished”. But, God is accomplishing something so much bigger than we could ever imagine. He is a very creative story teller and is drawing people to Himself in ways we could never understand. 2 Corinthians 3:6-7 says “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants, nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.” It is important for us to remember that in our time here, we are not the ones saving people; God is. God is the one who changes hearts, but He is gracious in honoring our feeble attempts to make his name known. So even if we walk away from a conversation that went really well; able to ask lots of questions about what people believe and articulate the gospel in a personal way, God can work in their hearts. Or, if we have a bad conversation; we didn’t talk about God, or didn’t get their phone number to follow up, God can work in that too. We cannot see into God’s ultimate plan for people, or the story He is telling. All we can do is be faithful to what He has called us to do. Whether that is by loving them by listening, or loving them by telling them the best news in the world. God is still working in both the surface level conversations, and the deeply personal conversations.

Here are some photos from the last week of our team and some new friends we have made along the way. 

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Our New Home

Traveling 

Well we are finally here and settled in to our new home. It feels like the past week has been a whirlwind, but here is a short snippet of what went down in the past 5 days. We boarded our plane on Tuesday afternoon headed for DC with a connecting flight to Manchester, England. There was a lot of looking out plane windows, watching movies, reading, and trying to sleep in an upright position. As we descended down into Manchester it was obvious we were somewhere different. Many beautiful old houses with red brick, rolling hills, and roads winding every which way. As we made our way by train to Sheffield, the beauty of the countryside blew me away (even though it was really hard to stay awake after not sleeping at all the night before). Once we got to Sheffield our group lugged ourselves and all our luggage a mile (or should I say kilometer?) up some pretty big hills. The amount of people staring at us as we walked by in our zombie-like state was almost laughable. We made it to the Wilson Carlile Center and checked into our home for the next two months.  We weren’t allowed to go to sleep because our body clocks would be way off, so the rest of the Wednesday was spent going over a few technical things like finding the nearest grocery stores, and getting a taste of the local food (which, contrary to what everyone has said, food here is pretty good). After dinner we welcomed the long awaited comfort of sleep.

Exploring

Thursday was spent exploring the city, which is pretty large and has about 550,000 people. We were given a very tiny map with no labels and expected to find different buildings, landmarks, and parks based off of it. I’m convinced it was made really hard on purpose to force us to get help from the locals. As we were exploring the city one thing became very clear: there are hills everywhere and we walk everywhere. I have never walked so much in my life (I’m talking like 6-7 miles of casual walking a day!) Although it has made transitioning into the new time zone pretty easy, I’m out the moment I hit the pillow each night. The next two days were a mix of exploring, talking to people, and learning. On Saturday we went to campus and finally met some of the college students at the universities we will be spending so much time at. Surprisingly, most people are so friendly, and very willing to talk to us. I think we have a little bit of an advantage by being American in that we can get away with walking up to random people and asking them to talk. I think everyone on our team was able to connect with a student that we can follow up with in the coming days. It seemed to be gracious of God to give us some nice friendly people as our first interactions, it definitely helped to calm some nerves that I think all of us are experiencing.

Church

On Sunday, we had our first gathering at the Crowded House Church that we will be attending and partnering with for the summer. It was great to be in the company of believers, after hearing and witnessing a culture that is turned off to God. Our relationship with God through Jesus connects us to people across any culture. What a beautiful picture of what heaven will be like someday (Revelation 7:9). After church we were able to meet with the life groups we will be a part of for the summer. These life groups meet together after church and spend the afternoon eating, talking, and drinking tea in each others company, but more on that later...

Prayer

Overall, I think the team is excited to finally be here. Pray that God would continue to comfort nerves that we have in sharing the hope that we have in Jesus to a people who are in desperate need of a savior. Pray that God would grant us boldness through the Spirit. Lastly, pray that God would be softening the hearts of the people we interact with and love. 

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It's Finally Happening

INTRODUCTIONS

It’s crazy to think that 11 days from now the CCP team will be boarding a plane headed for Sheffield, England. Eleven days to finish finals, raise remaining support, buy power converters, pack our bags, and tie up loose ends. The time to leave has kind of snuck up on us, but I think the team is ready!  But, before I even write another word, I think it is important that you see who exactly is on the CCP team this summer.  And because I think faces are beautiful and important and putting names to faces is important, here is a lovely picture of our team. I have really loved getting to know these people better over the past 5 months. We have had multiple retreats focusing on support raising, team building, and British culture. I was pleasantly surprised at how much fun these retreats were with the team. It made me so excited to spend 2 months leaning on them, learning with them, and laughing (a lot) with them. 

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Bottom Row (Left to Right):
Lauren Dunlap, Junior at Washington University 
Kayleigh Marks, Senior at University of St. Louis 
Hannah Henley, Junior at University of Northwestern
Mckenzie Smith, Sophomore at University of Minnesota   
Torrin Nelson, Junior at University of Minnesota (the person writing) 

Top Row (Left to Right): 
Rob Eller, Junior at University of Minnesota
Josh Netterlund, Junior at University of Northwestern
Harmon Squires, Junior at Bethel University
Larry Martini, CO Staff at St. Thomas
Lynn Martini, CO Staff at St. Thomas

WE'RE ALMOST THERE

After months of planning, support meetings, retreats, and praying we are about to see it all come to life. When people ask me how I feel about going to England, the answer is usually ‘I just want to be there’, we have been talking, planning, and thinking about it for so long that it’s almost like I have forgotten that WE ARE ACTUALLY GOING TO ENGLAND! A real place, with real people that we will soon be meeting, loving, and sharing the hope that we have found in Jesus. Two real universities with 60,000 students. And a real church, with a body of believers that we will be fostered into for the summer. Our ideas and dreams of what England will be like is about to become very real, and I couldn’t be more excited and maybe a little bit nervous.  By the way, the ‘I’ referred to is me, Torrin Nelson. I will be updating this blog frequently over the summer, just to give a little taste of what our team is experiencing. I’m sure at points it will be hard to express exactly what is going on in Sheffield over the summer, but I will do my best. I hope that you will check back here often to find updates, stories, photos, prayer requests, and learn a little bit more of the English culture.

BEFORE WE GO

Larry (our fearless leader, along with his wife Lynn) just emailed out our itinerary for traveling to Sheffield, and our plane leaves at 11am on May 26th! Another wave of, ‘Oh wow, this is actually happening’ hit when that email came in. Before we go, our team has a bit of support left to raise. Right now our team has raised about 81% of the support we need, which is awesome considering that our goal is $49,000! It has been absolutely amazing to see the ways that God has provided so many generous people to partner with us! It is a good reminder that God provides even our physical needs (Luke 12:24, Matt. 6:31-32), probably an area that I struggle the most to trust God with. God’s providence in support raising has really encouraged us all to see more of his power and fulfillment of his promises like the verses above. Both things that we will especially need to rely on while in England, and will probably be a big theme throughout these blog posts.

 

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4 Reasons We’re Thrilled about Going to England

Every year Campus Outreach sends a small team of students to another country to share the Gospel with college students. We call it our Cross Cultural Project (CCP). This summer, we’ll be taking nine students to Sheffield, England for eight weeks, and we’re thrilled about it. Here are a few reasons why...

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