“I totally lied on my application.” Those aren’t the words one hopes to hear from a student you’re discipling on the first day of an intense, three week summer mission. Students are required to fill out an extensive application and go through an interview to make sure they know what they’re getting into, and that we know as well. So to hear that a student had blatantly lied on her application was shocking, to say the least. I was able to sit down with this student and really hear her heart and her struggles. It became clear that, even though she wasn’t fully honest about her current struggles, she had come ready to fully surrender her life to Christ. By the end of the three weeks, she had taken huge steps, including calling a friend from home and confessing everything, toward strengthening her relationship with Christ and her Christian community.
The three weeks were filled with time on campus (including working to launch new campuses in the area), serving at homeless shelters, a men’s recovery center, and a group called “Night strike”. I (Merrilee) must admit that I was nervous to serve at the men’s recovery center, but that turned out to be one of the best experiences all around. We were able to meet the men who were going through their discipleship recovery program, and encouraged them by planting a garden for them, doing yard work, and helping set up for a big event they were hosting. It was such a blessing to see these men learning about God and recovering from their intense addictions.
I wish I could tell you all the stories from this summer, but know that God was working in amazing ways through the students that came to Portland. We shared our faith (many for the first time), served the homeless, and had a little fun as well! Two conversations led to people indicating a decision to follow Christ, and many more were interested in talking further and getting involved! Praise the Lord for His faithfulness!