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ENGAGE GLOBAL RETREAT

You may have guessed it, this retreat focused on: engaging global cultures.

My hope for this post is to give you an inside look into what we experienced on the two-day retreat with Engage Global.   

We first looked at GOD’S WORD. Rick Davis, from Engage Global, guided us throughout the entire Bible (Genesis-Revelation) to show us that again and again God has a heart for all nations or all peoples. Seeing God’s mission all throughout the Bible and not just in the New Testament was encouraging because you can see how this has been part of God’s plan from the beginning. Like God's promise to Isaac in Genesis 26:4:

"I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and will give to your offspring all these lands. And in your offspring all the nations of the earth shall be blessed."

The next part of the weekend retreat focused on GOD’S WORLD, during different exercises and talks we were encouraged to approach the other cultures with a heart to learn and an open mindset. We went to one of the largest Hindu temples in the US. When we arrived we were guided on a tour around the temple to see 19 altars (based on larger temples in India) of deities which they explained represented one god. Each deity had unique attributes and depending on your stage of life you may concentrate on praying/asking deity for favor or help.
One highlight from this visit was engaging those in the temple and also joining them for lunch to ask additional questions to help gain additional understanding. We ask you pray for the 86% of Hindus don’t personally know a Christian that they would come to know a Christian and know of Jesus.

Next we were split into two groups, one going to the Somali Market and the other to the Hmong market. Before we left, we were encouraged to see this experience as a way to engage the person/people we meet and not their religion. I personally was a part of the group which went to the Somali market and it was a sweet experience because it was the night before the end of their fasting for Ramadan. This was a great way to engage those in the market and ask what they do to celebrate. Laura and I also were hoping to join some women to experience sitting in the temple during the call to prayer. We were welcomed by a group of women and it was a unique experience and the whole time we walked in the market, I felt like I was in a different country. Overall everyone was welcoming and helpful to us and even appreciated that we came out of our comfort zone specifically two women, Ionita and Nemu appreciated us for doing that.

Lastly, we learned about GOD’S WORK and more of how we can join in being a part of God’s story and the gospel going forth to the nations who do not yet know Him. Rick explained that we are called to be a world christian which is a person who: understands God’s heart for the world and strategically lives their lives in such a way that wherever they are and whatever they do, they are striving to see Him glorified among the nations.

[Revelation 5:9-10] “And they sang a new song, saying, Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”

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ON YOUR MARK, GET SET... KICK-OFF RETREAT

Break out the flip flops, sunglasses, and fresh glass of lemonade! You can tell it’s summertime in Minnesota because everyone is out and about enjoying the sunshine because we only get a few warm months during the year. For some of us, this is our first summer as graduates, working a job or internship or eagerly anticipating what is next for us.

This past weekend kicked off the beginning of Twin Cities Project (TCP) with a retreat to St. Cloud, MN. Peter and Kelsey Sontag talked about three aspects of TCP which join together to offer a wonderful opportunity for students who want to continue to grow in their faith while staying in Minnesota.

The first focused on encouraging students to learn how to pursue their relationship with Jesus post-college. With schedules becoming increasingly busy, it’s tempting to choose other things over spending time with God in the Word and prayer. But Kelsey encouraged us to really dig into the Word and not neglect our time because it’s the best witness we can learn about God and share Him with others. [Romans 10:14-15]  

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent?

The second focuses on experiencing community through small groups and connecting with a local church. This summer there will be two small groups with about ten students each and they will meet at the homes of the assigned CO staff. During the time they spend together, there will be a shared meal for fellowship, discussion of the passages in Ephesians and then some time split up into men’s and women’s groups.

Lastly, Peter spoke about what mission looks like off the college campus. Building relationships can happen with meeting: 

  1. on their turf (their apartment/house)
  2. on our turf (missional hangouts like ultimate frisbee) and
  3. on neutral ground (their interests like coffee shops).

Please pray for us as we start learning how to balance our work and continuing to grow closer to Christ. Please join us in asking God to work in developing relationships with co-workers and stepping out in faith. Also, for our community groups, that we can deepen old friendships and form new ones.

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A Lesson in Culture - Engage Global Retreat

So this week we had another retreat. Now, I can't speak for everyone else in TCP, but I love retreats. They provide a certain environment in which things like cultural engagement can be taught with a higher efficacy than in other circumstances. 

We all met at the Engage Global Retreat Center located in the Phillips neighborhood. After a brief intro session, we started discussing the reasons for the retreat. Our goal during the weekend was to dive deeper into the cultures that constantly surround us. We were to obtain a different perspective and deeper understanding of culture, and what it means to engage with people of different cultures. 

The weekend had a slew of activities which included a cultural role-playing workshop, visits to the Hmong markets, and Somali malls throughout the weekend. The overarching theme of the weekend was the call of a believer to fulfill the great commission. This call involves people groups from around the world. As people of a certain culture, it is always difficult engaging other cultures because of the differences the cultures. However, we were encouraged to approach the other cultures with a heart to learn and an open mindset. One of the more interesting points was that one must always be wary of using their culture as the point of reference and comparison. Instead one should approach a culture with a learner's perspective and seek to ask questions and learn all they can. 

This weekend got me thinking a lot about culture, and how I engage it. Do I engage or avoid people of other cultures? If I avoid it, which I know I do a lot of times, why do I avoid it? What is causing me to not desire the fulfillment of the great commission? I've been praying through these questions for a few days, and have been challenged to engage culture and the commission more often. Jesus called us to make disciples of all people groups and nations, so that we could all worship him together. Let's get it done.  

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Work & Faith Retreat - David Kim

Another weekend, another… retreat? I’ll be honest reader, I wasn’t necessarily looking forward to the “Faith, Work, and Cultural Renewal” retreat that happened this past weekend. However, as tends to happen with all serendipitous circumstances, I was hit with awe-inspiring, earth shattering gospel truth.

The evening started off with check in at the front desk and a gathering in the sanctuary for some quick news and notes about the event. After those were completed the main speaker, David Kim, got up and addressed the eager crowd.

He began talking about the meaning of work and how our careers and jobs reflect the work of God. Yes, in one sense, it does mean a spiritual “God is seen through my work”, but what struck me the most was Pastor Kim compared it to God’s actual work. Reading through the passage of creation in Genesis 1 we see how God’s creation is not only a reflection of his beauty, but it is an expression of his nature. In essence, through God’s work of creation we can see bits of his character. I’ll be honest reader, I was floored by this idea; not because of its implications on who God is, but of its implications on our lives as believers. Pastor Kim summarized this point when he stated “We cannot love our work, because it cannot love us back”.

As a relatively new entrant into the professional scene I’ve noticed this trend a lot in both my time at work, as well as in conversations with my co-workers. There seems to be a lack of love and energy in the workplace which leaves it looking like a seemingly dry environment. Its like a relationship between two people. The first person is incredibly invested in the relationship, and is determined to do any and all things required to see it succeed. The other, however, is purely in it for the affirmation and benefits of a relationship. One gives, and the other takes with absolutely no reciprocation. Does that seem draining to you? It certainly does to me, both draining and pointless. This is how many people, even me and many points during my week, engage with and experience work. This begs the question: If this is how we work, and it seems so tiring should we not work to alleviate the problem? Um no. Obviously we should work, and the Bible does call us to work, so really the question we should actually be asking is how should we work.

I don’t have time to break down David’s talk in its entirety, but some of the main answers to the “how” question were found in Ephesians 4. Pastor Kim discussed how our work should be an expression and not a definition of our pursuit of Christ. He also talked about how happiness comes with being thankful for what we’ve received through the gospel, and how that satisfaction in the gospel is the anchor that holds us firm in a relatively unsatisfied world. Ultimately, the answer to the “how” question is to image God’s process when he worked. I don’t mean literally, but instead working and creating with the purpose of expressing the joy and fulfillment that our faith is anchored in.

These talks, and the internal dialogue that they have led to, have helped to refine the question of: Why am I in the Twin Cities this summer? Part of that answer is to work, but the question of how I want to work has its answer.

 

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Kick-Off Retreat

The birds are chirping, kids are playing, and summer is in full swing. For the students and recent graduates of Campus Outreach Minneapolis that remain in the Twin Cities, this can only mean one thing: Twin Cities Project has come. For those students who have, for one reason or another, elected to remain in the Twin Cities this warm and rainy summer of 2015, Twin Cities Project (TCP) offers a community in which they can pursue and deepen their relationships with Christ.

My name is Isaac Chan and I am one of those aforementioned graduates. A little bit about me before we begin with my ramblings. I am a recent graduate of the University of Minnesota where I majored in Communication Studies. I currently work in the Human Resources department of the Minneapolis Public School district. I enjoy everything from video games to camping, and all the activities in-between. Lastly, my writing is almost always influenced by the books I am reading at the time, so I apologize reader if this blog starts sounding like a Sherlock Holmes novel.

So what does a TCP summer consist of you ask? Great theoretical question! During the summer participants will attend events, theme nights, and small groups all aimed at helping them pursue a relationship with Jesus alongside and amongst their busy schedules. The first of these events is the Kick Off Retreat. This retreat was aimed at bringing the students together and allowing them to bond and get to know each other before diving into the summer. The participants all met up at the a-Loft hotel in the Mill City district of Minneapolis. This quirky off beat hotel played home for 20 students over the Friday-Saturday event that saw host to several talks and hangouts amongst the students.

The highlight of the retreat was a talk given by Jared Wass. After the obligatory schedule run through and announcements, Jared launched into thoughts about TCP and its students. Jared shared with us about his hope for our lives and where we would be headed. For a recent grad like me this part was especially real and relevant.

After this Jared moved into expounding on the main point of his talk: building a love for the city. To me, and many others, a city is a modern day creation. When I think of a city I think of tall buildings, glass, steel, and lights, all of which are very modern and not the kind of place I imagine Jesus talking about in scripture. And yet, those places the apostles visit and preach in the New Testament are, for all intents and purposes, cities. The apostles love for a city, which ultimately is a collection of people desperate for the gospel, is a calling that Jared challenged us to embrace. A simple call to love the city and the people that reside in it. This challenge was answered with a short reflection time in which we were asked a few questions, chief amongst them being: Why am I in the Twin Cities this summer?

I would challenge you, reader, to seek the answer to that question with me. I don’t think I fully know the answer to that question, but I’m hoping that through prayer, community, and lots of awesome events and talks, that the answer will become slightly more apparent. Thanks for reading, and until next time.

 

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2015 Twin Cities Project Internships

Every summer we have students who are talented in different areas work as project interns. There are several positions available for this summer:

COMMUNICATIONS INTERN  |  Help write copy for the project’s blog, learn how to utilize social media, and work with Karen, the CO Communications & Web Manager - Want to see more info?

VIDEOGRAPHY INTERN  |  Help produce recruitment videos and help students relive the summer - Want to see more info? Want to see more info?

WEB CONTENT INTERNS  |  Help make all of the summer resources available to students - Want to see more info?

APPLY FOR AN INTERNSHIP

We'll get back to you by May 1st by email.

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