Each summer, Pensacola Christian College students go home to relax from classes, spend time with family, and return to summer jobs; but some students also returned to ministries with a focus on others.
Jonah Stephan (Sr., IN) traveled with Youth Outreach Ministry’s Peru (ESL) missions team, where he and others taught English and ministered in schools and churches. His time with the students showed him what kind of difference he and his team can make in other’s lives as well as his own. “God worked in the hearts of those we ministered to, but I was most impressed to see how God moved in the hearts of those ministering,” Jonah said. “This experience has allowed me to grow more in my Christian faith, and I am eternally grateful to God for allowing me to reach so many lives.”
Bryn Collier (Jr., FL) spent her summer as a cabin leader for her second year at Camp o’ the Pines (COP), a Youth Outreach Ministry (YOM) camp. As an elementary education major, she has valued her opportunity to minister to children through the camp. “I had a camper who came to COP with many stubborn misconceptions. She asked some tough questions, and struggled for a few days, but after a couple days, she asked Jesus to be her Savior!” Bryn explained. “Every child who comes back to pray for salvation is one more soul that the angels rejoice over. It’s not about my words or the message spoken; the Holy Spirit works in spite of us, and it is a beautiful thing to be witness to.”
Like Bryn, Bella Martin (Sr., TN) was excited to serve campers, completing her fourth summer as Teen Extreme camp staff with YOM. Through her own experiences, she understands how pivotal a Christian summer camp can be in a teen’s life. “My last two years of high school, I went to a Christian camp, and the influence that my counselor had on me was huge,” Bella said. “When I came to PCC, I wanted to help in a youth ministry. It’s important to remember that every week was ’week one’ for the teens, so I asked God daily to give me a servant mind and to make every interaction with campers an excellent one. I wanted to finish each week knowing that every teen I’ve spoken to has seen Christ living through me.”
John Tilley (Sr., VA) interned at Campus Church over the summer, assisting church staff in different areas and teaching in different Sunday school classes each week. Even though he grew up in a pastor’s home, John spent time learning how a large church is run efficiently. “The Campus Church environment was perfect for meeting a lot of people and developing many new relationships,” he said. “If there is one thing that I have learned from working in any ministry it is this: always be ready for anything. No matter how much you plan and prepare and schedule there will inevitably be something that you did not foresee. And that’s okay. That’s what makes it so exciting. I love Campus Church and am so grateful for the opportunity to be serving this summer with the church and pastoral staff.”
At Campus Church’s Vacation Bible School (VBS), Ina Yefimov (Jr., CA) was a group leader for the second grade class. While the high-spirited children can be a handful, Ina remained diligent by helping them stay focused during the lessons, assisting with craft time, and encouraging participation during group games. “This is my third summer helping out with the VBS at Campus Church. VBS is a great opportunity to show God’s love to kids,” she said. “I loved VBS growing up. I still remember bits and parts of theme songs from when I was in VBS. I remember how much fun it is and how much I learned about God.”
At his home church in Connecticut, sophomore Lucas Ploszaj set up and performed in nightly skits for VBS. Prior to the performances, he relocated audio equipment and held practices with the actors. “It’s always a blessing to see teen and adult leaders excited and willing to serve Christ. I’ve been helping since I graduated from being in VBS,” Lucas said. “Our theme this year was time travel. Leading up to VBS, I edited the script, assembled actors, and tried to get a few practices in so that the skit was not totally improvised.”
With summer completed it’ll be time for these students to hit the books and coffee again, but next summer will bring more opportunities to minister to others.