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CCP

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Imperishable Joy

What a trip it has been. It feels like only yesterday we got on a plane to head towards Thailand. But now as I open my eyes once again, I find myself on the familiar beaches of South Carolina. Every morning, I wake up, ready to do my daily routine but eventually realize that we are no longer in busy streets of Bangkok. Why is there this sudden pain in my heart, the pain of feeling home sick. A pain I didn’t even feel when I was in Thailand. I think it’s my heart telling me that it misses the moments spent with the students and how many miles apart we are.

What has the Lord done to me? Never would I have imagined myself in this situation. It only took the Lord one month, just one month, to open my heart and fill it with a joy for the nations. My heart cries out to experience this joy once more, while my tears know it’ll be awhile.

Time here in South Carolina has been nothing short of amazing. We’ve gotten the chance to be reunited with old friends and make new ones. I’ve been given lots of opportunities to share about my experience and what the Lord is doing in Thailand. By doing so it has also helped me understand and reflect on my trip. However, I struggle in conversing with others about the joy that I experienced. I feel as though I am incapable of finding the right words to describe how amazing and sweet the Lord was throughout the trip. It’s so hard to convey this joy when I don’t fully understand it myself. The thing I’ve come to understand is that the only one possible of changing my heart is God. I used to ask myself “Why should I go?” but by the end of the summer, I can gladly profess that it has changed to “Why should I stay?”. Before going, I thought about all the opportunities I would miss out on by going on this missions trip, like internships and times spent with friends and family. How silly I was because I have lost nothing, but came out so much better because I now have a new family and a new joy.  

At times, I feel as though what I have to share is meaningless to some; being obligated to listen. These are just doubts and lies that run through my head after sharing. But I remember what it was like being in their shoes last year when I was on the listening end. It’s hard to understand what the person went through when you haven't experienced it for yourself. 

At the end of the day, it isn’t my call to dwell on this but to be faithful in sharing the great work that God has done. I have to remember that I am not the one that's going to open their hearts to missions but that only God can change their hearts like he changed mine. God has indeed made our efforts fruitful. Many students have opened their hearts and minds towards missions. I pray that they would have the chance to experience the joy that I have experienced. A joy that only comes from sharing the good news with the people who need it the most.

- Eh Doh Drawny

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The Family of Christ

Our time in Bangkok has come to an end. We finished teaching our classes last week and another team from America arrived to help the school teach the next session of classes that started earlier this week. We had one final event to spend time with students and before we left. Our Fourth of July celebration was our last farewell to the friends we made at the school.

Throughout our time in Bangkok, we learned many things about ourselves. Despite many barriers and cultural differences, it was remarkable how quickly we adapted. Within a week and a half, we established a routine of teaching classes, spending weekends on day trips and outings, and eating with students almost every night. It is incredible how quickly we formed new routines to get comfortable in a foreign culture. Looking back, the initial hardships of sleeping on the floor, sporadic food illness, and oppressive heat and humidity are very distant. It is amazing how faithful God was in giving us strength and grace to persevere through fatigue, sickness, and cultural barriers. 

The hardest thing of all was leaving our new friends. Family and friends are very important in Thai culture. For Thai Christians, friendships with other believers are even more important because the national and family identity of Thai people is Buddhist. Identifying as a Christian isolates the Thai person from their country, often separating them from their own family. So for Christians in Thailand and places like it, the church is their family. Witnessing this dramatically impacted my understanding of the church. Even though I am a foreigner and did not know these people before this trip, I was welcomed into the family.

Thinking about this, the words of 1 Peter 2:4-5 come to mind:

As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

This scripture has helped me to understand the beauty of the church. The church is not a physical building of brick and mortar, but the living stones of believers. The collective church is constructed to serve and worship Christ, a mission that is fulfilled not only during Sunday morning services, but in our daily lives. We do this in community, living life with a purpose of glorifying God and pointing others to Him. In Thailand, I saw this play out in sharing my testimony, having encouraging (and sometimes hard) conversations, sharing meals, going to markets, and playing games together. Many students at the school noticed that this uplifting community of Christians is dramatically different from their social circles. One of my students told me that the people at the school are his real friends. He would spend spent as much time as he could around us. This is the largest difference that I have noticed about ministry in Thailand; a strong community of Christians welcomes unbelievers into that community. Immersion in the community gives opportunity for unbelievers to ask questions and learn about Christ as Christians live out their faith. 

The reality is I love Thailand. More than anything else, I cherish the relationships that I have with the people there. I have seen the love of Christ in other Christians as they sacrificed their own time and resources to meet our needs. This is just a glimpse of the beautiful family that we will have in heaven. For those who do not follow Christ, they cannot receive salvation or be a member of this family. We are to cherish the community that we have in Christ, but our job is not done yet. We are to teach others about the work of Christ and pray that God work in their hearts so that they can also be part of God’s family with us.

I am so honored to have been able to see this in a cross cultural setting, and I cannot wait to see how God continues to bring others into the family of Christ.

- Noah Schuetz

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The Harvest is Plentiful

This past weekend, part of our team had the opportunity to visit a village in Northern Thailand. The village, Fak Tha, is about 350 miles north of Bangkok in the providence of Uttaradit. Fak Tha is the hometown of our host in Bangkok, P’Noi (P is added before a name to show honor to those older or in a higher position than you), and his nephew, Book, one of the students at Santisuk this session. We were able to go with Book as he traveled home to prepare for university in Uttaradit beginning in July. It was a blessing to go up country as it allowed us to continue relationships with P’Noi’s family that have been formed by our Global Partners in Thailand and a team of short term missionaries from Bethlehem Baptist last year.

Ben, Mitch, Noah, and I traveled by train and bus with Karen, our Global Partner, and Book. Being the first train ride for the guys it was an exciting cultural experience to take a six hour ride through the Thai countryside. Staring out at countless rice paddies, fields of various crops, small villages, and mountains passed the time quickly. The following three hour bus ride to the village center made for a tiring day of travel.

We were met with generous hospitality by Book and P’Noi’s family when we arrived. We slept at the house P’Noi built for his parents and simply walked across the road to Book’s family’s house for delicious meals. Book’s family are farmers which meant all of our food was fresh and the majority of it was from their fields. We enjoyed trying new dishes specific to Uttaradit with the staple of sticky rice at every meal. Having family-style, home-cooked meals was a refreshing change compared to eating at street vendors or restaurants for almost every meal in Bangkok.

Our time was spent bonding with Book and his family, praying for them and their village, and exploring a bit of Fak Tha. We had the pleasure of driving mopeds around the quiet roads of the country to see the water reservoir, the family’s asparagus and rice fields, and schools in the area. We even traveled to a local “farmers” market with fresh meats, produce, and other goods for sale. We definitely stood out, but it was interesting to see how rural Thailand differs from the city.

The main purpose for us going on the trip was missions. Although P’Noi is a believer, the rest of his extended family, including Book, are not. We prayed for opportunities to share the gospel with Book’s family and people in the village. Although we did not have an opportunity to share the gospel explicitly though words, we were able to show aspects of Christianity through our actions and Karen had spiritual conversations with Book on the train. It was incredible to hear stories of how changes had happened in Book’s father’s life since the Bethlehem team was there are shared the gospel with him. We believe and are continuing to pray that the Holy Spirit would be at work in his life and all of Fak Tha. Being that we were surrounded by unbelievers and farming communities, Jesus’ words in Matthew 9 were a consistent thought and prayer for our team.

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

Matthew 9:36-38

A specific prayer for laborers came from meeting a believer who lives in a nearby village. We were able to speak and pray with him and his family at the market. He is eagerly praying for a church to be planted in Fak Tha that he and his family can attend so that he could grow in his faith and his children would come to have a personal relationship with Jesus. We have joined in the prayer that our Global Partners have been praying; that a long term missionary would be called to Fak Tha and help to establish a multi-ethnic church there. There are connections with P’Noi’s family to host the missionary(ies) and help them learn the language and culture.

On the ride back to Bangkok, our team was praying about being called to long-term overseas missions. This experience in Fak Tha showed us it is more feasible that we may have previously thought. Pray that God would continue to work in our hearts to show his glory to us and through us. Pray that we would be willing to go wherever we may be called for however long is necessary. Pray that a missionary would go and a church would be planted in Fak Tha, ask boldly that God would place one of our team members there.

- Harmon Squires, 2019 CCP Director

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Sawasdee Thailand

Sawasdee! (Hello) We have been in Bangkok for over a week now and it has been a whirlwind of learning, adjustment, and meeting new people. The team and I are extremely grateful for the opportunity to serve with Santisuk English School and Water of Life Church for the next month.

The transition here has been more difficult than I imagined. Most of us on the team had never traveled across the world before, and jet lag became a very real term to all of us. Luckily, waking up far before our alarms allowed our team to spend time with the Lord every morning and some of us took the opportunity to exercise with the Thai believers we are staying with. Long days of taking in new sights, sounds, and smells along with heat that has not gone below 80 degrees Fahrenheit helped us to fall asleep quickly and rest well at night. This helped us to get over jet lag quickly.

Our first few days consisted of trainings at Santisuk, the English School we will be teaching at over the next four weeks. We learned about Thai culture, how to teach our English classes, the ministry our Global Partners run, and how we can best serve them and the Thai students we will be teaching. Orientation also included tours of the neighborhood we are living in and the area around our school. Acclimating to an unfamiliar city, new methods of transportation, and street signs in a different language has not been easy. We got lost once so far, but that is just the way we like it! We have found our footing now and are excited to become more familiar with Bangkok as we explore it with our students.

We have enjoyed meeting and growing in relationship with our Global Partners and the Thai believers connected to Water of Life Church. It is a small church that meets in the same building where we are teaching. The service is in Thai, but parts are translated into English so we are able to understand and follow along. Worshiping with brothers and sisters in Christ in a different language shows me a greater picture of how big and great our God is. It has truly been a blessing to interact with the believers here, and even though we desired to encourage them, they have been constant encouragement to our team.

Oh, and did I mention the food? Aroi! (Delicious) This has been another adjustment point, but one myself, and the team are really appreciating. Streets full of stalls with various foods have introduced us to another important part of Thai culture. From spicy rice dishes to fresh, sweet mangoes we have loved experiencing new flavors and getting to know Thai people over a shared meal. And yes, I did try the fried crickets.

Khop khun (Thank you) for your prayers and support. God has been so faithful throughout this experience so far and I believe he will continue his faithfulness.

- Mitchel Magee

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It’s the Final Countdown

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

 Ephesians 5:1-2

Two weeks and three days left of CCP in Mexico. The past two weeks have been focused on having spiritual conversations with ITESO students. My ministry partner, Sarah Bujold, and I were able to study the Bible with two girls this past week. Everything that the girls said was extremely encouraging! They seemed to have a good understanding of the Gospel and want to know more about our faith. Sarah and I have been praying that they will accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior by the end of the summer.

Having spiritual conversations with the students has been surprisingly easy. Because the Mexican culture is so friendly and open, they have been so receptive of our beliefs. Since ITESO is a Catholic school, we’ve been able to use the topic of Catholicism as an opening to spiritual conversation. The Catholic Church in Mexico is seen as corrupt and evil to multiple students and professors that we’ve spoken with. One professor that Laura Caponigro and I talked with mentioned that her cousin was molested by a Catholic priest. Since then she has had many negative experiences with the church. We were able to invite her to our Protestant Church and plan to meet with her again for coffee. Laura and I prayed for our professor and hope that we can see her at our church on Sunday.

Sharing the Gospel with lost students has been an eye-opening experience for me. I have never intentionally spent time with people for the sole purpose of sharing the Gospel with them. Cross-cultural, relational missions is what I wish to pursue after college and I am truly getting a taste of that here. Though I am tired and sometimes tempted by the appeal of Mexican culture, Christ is becoming more and more constant in my life. I must be dependent and filled by the power of Christ in order for this mission to be successful. We praise God for the ways He has used us in spite of our tiredness and weaknesses.

To Him be the honor and the glory!

Hannah Swanson 

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Clear Eyes Full Hearts Can’t Lose

In Him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of His glory.

Ephesians 1:11-12

As we press towards our goal in Christ the team has become unified and seen God work. We are three weeks into the summer and God has done so much! Every morning we pray together as we drive onto campus. It has been so sweet and humbling to pray for non-believing students at the university then start to have spiritual conversations with them.

Mike Caponigro, our team leader from Eastern Illinois University, decided to spend some time reading the Bible at ITESO. He was tired and needed to be filled by the Word. As he sat and planned to spend some alone time with Jesus, a student came up to him and started asking him questions about the Bible. Mike was able to do his devotions with a random, non-Christian student and share the Gospel with them. Mike explained that throughout his entire career with CO, this had never happened to him. The team prayed for the student and surrendered the whole experience to the Lord. Since then the student has been attending our Friday evening parties and getting to know other guys on the team.

The more we interact with the ITESO students the more we see that the harvest is plentiful for ministry in Mexico. Because the Mexican culture is so open and friendly, it has been easier than ever to get to know people. God has truly started to give us a love and a passion for these people. There are 5 weeks left of the summer for God to use us as He chooses in Mexico. To Him be all the honor, glory, and credit!

Hannah Swanson

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One Goal

The team Minnesota CO Team and Illinois Team has conjoined and is slowly getting used to new surroundings. Last Friday we had orientation for Spanish classes at ITESO. Classes started Monday (May 29) and I feel a little overwhelmed. Everything is in Spanish and I can’t help but feel discouraged with the amount of learning I will have to do in order to communicate with students this summer. It has been a new level of surrender for me, being surrounded by a different culture. I think God needed to take me away from everything I’m used to (friends, family, culture, daily comforts) in order to show me that my dependence, confidence, passion, and life must be completely reliant on Him. Honestly, I don’t think I understand what it means to live a life that is “dying to myself.” Jesus gives us an example of this in His life and ministry. I had decided it was an unachievable, unrealistic goal. That is simply not true! We have the power of the Holy Spirit living inside us and we have the capability to love others the way Jesus loves us. I am excited to see what that will look like as the summer goes on. I want to live this summer by dying to myself in a way I’ve never done before. The team is going through the book of Ephesians, which we’re all excited about. The more I read through it the more I understand what God means when He tells us to live and walk in His wisdom. I pray that the more we seek Him and His wisdom, the concept of dying to our flesh will be more of an achievable goal.

~ Hannah Swanson

 

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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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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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