I first heard about Cru’s Summer Missions during Northwest Pennsylvania’s Fall Retreat in 2017. I felt that God was putting international students on my heart, more specifically, those in the Middle Eastern area of the world. I decided that I wanted to go on the Sam’s Place Summer Mission in the Northern Africa/Middle East area. I was excited about the challenge that I thought was laid in front of me. However, God had different plans. I was discouraged to hear that the team leaders in Sam’s Place highly suggested that I gain experience before I could be trusted with such a daunting task internationally. My heart was set on Sam’s Place because I really wanted to share the gospel with people who I thought didn’t have the chance otherwise. So, I wasn’t quite sure where I was being led to next. Through my staff members on campus, I was encouraged to consider applying for the Hampton Beach Summer Mission. I didn’t realize that Hampton Beach and the New England region, in general, is one of the least churched areas in the U.S. I soon learned that there were places so close to home that were surrounded in darkness, not just places overseas. I jumped on the opportunity to apply and now I’m halfway through Hampton Beach’s 10-week Summer Mission. God has reaffirmed that He wanted me here this summer and will bring me to Sam’s Place sometime in the future.
I felt immediately drawn to the mission the moment they announced it at a Jersey Metro Cru meeting and severely anticipated and looked forward to being discipled and taught. This missions trip taught not only me, but each individual in the team about almost every aspect about faith: community, outreach and evangelism, trust, spiritual warfare, prayer, world vision and so much more. Personally if I could choose one word to describe how God grew me over this mission, I would choose faith.
Being a newer Christian in that I accepted Christ as my Savior 9 months ago in early October, I was eager to learn. I knew that I had and will always have areas in my life that needed growth. However, throughout this trip, I struggled with depending too much on my feelings and emotions. I would instantly doubt if I hadn’t felt the Holy Spirit that day, or the presence of the Lord. However, I have learned and am continually learning to really set my soul, heart and mind to the promises of God and that the Christian walk is walked by faith, and not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7) My faithlessness at times led my eyes to look upon and set my eyes on God’s faithfulness (2 Timothy 2:13; 2 Thessalonians 3:3) and the assurance that He would and will never leave nor forsake me. (Deuteronomy 31:6; Hebrews 13:5-6)
The Lord called me on the outreach team and also graciously appointed me as the leader of the team and our missions statement was to equip and challenge the team to live missionally at work, on the beach, at home, and on campus as a lifestyle.
As the outreach team facilitator, I had the opportunity to work with 3 other students on the team to plan the outreach events on Friday nights, most of which were forecasted in rain. Having to use some of those nights inside to dig deep into different fears and struggles when sharing the Gospel, the team decided as a whole to step out in faith and pray for the forecasts to be clear. As a team, we all submitted to God and faithfully knew that He was going to take away the rain and He graciously did! As a whole, the team managed to initiate around 355 spiritual conversations, around 185 of them of which the Gospel was presented and 7 individuals who prayed to receive Christ as their Savior!
The Lord has provided so abundantly throughout this trip in so many ways. He gave every 18 of us jobs, many working at Dunkin Donuts, with some working other places, including me who worked at a nearby McDonalds. The Lord provided abundantly with funds, fully funding the trip for all of us. There were also so many answers to prayers throughout the trip and I praise and thank the Lord for all that He has done through this trip!
"I have learned and am continually learning to really set my soul, heart and mind to the promises of God and that the Christian walk is walked by faith, and not by sight."
"Dear God, please give me more boldness in my faith, and help me to fully rely on You to sustain me.”
Have you ever looked back on your life and thought, “God, how did You do that?” I’m sure many of you can relate. The above prayer is one that I have been praying for about the past year or so, and here I sit, with 2 weeks left at Hampton Beach Summer Mission, amazed at how God is growing me in my walk with Him. Here is my “God, how did You do that?” story.
My prayers for boldness in faith began when I was in community college. After graduating from a private Christian high school, I found myself surrounded by a plethora of different worldviews, knowing the truth but unsure of how to find my voice among the muddiness of tolerance and self-discovery that our culture so desperately clings to. I thought I had the answer. Finding a great interest in apologetics, I thought that my knowledge would increase my boldness in faith. But after much studying, I found myself prideful in what I knew and still having little confidence in sharing my faith with others. I was disappointed that God wasn’t working through this, but looking back I see God’s hand very clearly.
After transferring to state college, I joined Cru. I was very encouraged by this community of college students. I didn’t think many college students followed Jesus, but after embracing this community I did not feel alone any longer. God used my fellow students at Cru to convict me of how content I was in my faith. By being with these students who were so passionate about Christ, God convicted me that my life was about His kingdom and not my own. As a result of this, the more I grew in identity as a child of God, the more steps I naturally took to share my faith and have spiritual conversations with my friends. I did not expect this to happen. God was beginning to answer my prayer for increased boldness, not by my own efforts, but by His own hand, giving Him the glory. I still find myself asking, “God, how did you do that?”
This all lead up to my journey to Hampton Beach. When I joined the leadership team at Cru in Fall 2016, I longed for God to be the One who sustains me and nothing else. Though God gave me great relationships intended to bless me, I still found myself putting relationships with my family, friends, and my boyfriend on the same level as my relationship with God. I longed for this not to be true, but no matter how much I prayed I still found myself in the same patterns of compromising my relationship with God in seeking after my earthly relationships. I was disappointed that God wasn’t working through this, but looking back I see God’s hand very clearly.
During Winter Conference of this same semester, summer mission was advertised. I had known about it before, but always blew this off thinking that it wasn’t the right time or that I had been on enough mission trips before. But when I felt a pull on my heart to apply, I knew that God had something in store. Of course this brought to mind every reason that I didn’t want to go on a summer mission. I didn’t want to book my last summer before grad school, I didn’t want to spend a summer away from my family and with a bunch of college students I didn’t know, I didn’t want to be mentored by someone who knew nothing about me, I didn’t want to do street evangelism, and I didn’t want to get a job at Dunkin’ Donuts. Truthfully, I didn’t want to go on summer mission, not even a little. But this made it that much more clear that this pull on my heart was not coming from my own fleshly desires, but from the desires of the spirit God has placed in me as His child. God used my reluctant heart to affirm his plan. I still find myself asking, “God, how did you do that?”
"God convicted me that my life was about His Kingdom & not my own."
So, now it’s week 9 of the Summer Mission that I did not want to go on, and God’s faithfulness abounds. This trip has been challenging. A few of the challenges that this trip brought forth has been submitting to my staff and teammates, trusting and confiding in people who I only have known for a short time, stepping out in faith to talk to strangers about Jesus, pushing myself to have spiritual conversations with those I meet at work, having an eternal mindset, and being trusted with a leadership role among my peers. All of these things have challenged and humbled me in various ways. The amazing part is this; while I face some of the greatest challenges of my life, those who I typically lean on in times of weakness are 220 miles away. This has caused me to rely fully on God, while also gaining confidence in my identity as his vessel. Not even a year ago I found myself lost in my inability to grow in boldness and reliance on God, and it in these two areas that God has been refining me the most. I still find myself asking, “God, how did you do that?”
Going home, I look forward to taking what I have learned here at Hampton, and seeking how God wants to use this trip in my life back home. I also look forward to being able to live out the relationships that God has blessed me with, but this time placing Him at the center. The more I grow in my relationship with God, the more I realize how much more work needs to be done. This does not make me overwhelmed, but overjoyed. As one of my teammates so accurately described it, “being refined by God hurts so good.”
This is my “God, how did you do that?” story. I am sure one of many to come. Now, I long to trust God, even when I face times of uncertainty, knowing first hand the work that He does when I cannot see.
“Dear God, thank you for your faithfulness. Strengthen me to trust your hand at work.”
Galatians 2:20 ~ I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Song of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
A mere year ago I was beginning to engage in a period of planning and preparation for my first summer on senior staff at Camp Hemlock, and I was working with the leadership team to develop ideas of how we as the senior staff could invest and mentor the junior staff in the most wholesome way. Having already served four consecutive summers as a junior staff member, I knew the next step was to serve on senior staff and pour into the junior staff so that they, in turn, could spiritually invest in the campers. I was convinced that I would continue to be heavily involved with camp in 2017 for a second summer on senior staff.
I knew that I would never take even so much as a year off from serving at Hemlock. I knew I wouldn’t be able to separate myself from some of my closest brothers in Christ and distance myself from a place that has had monumental impact on my spiritual growth. I knew that I would not find myself away from Hemlock for the entire summer season for the first time in fourteen years. These thoughts were radically inverted when I realized my plan was drastically out of line with a plan that was greater than mine.
God showed me that I had to take a break from a mission field that I was too comfortable serving in.
I had learned over the years on junior staff that camp is always changing in many aspects, but in others, I had grown so accustomed to the traditions and the way we do ministry at Hemlock that I found myself able to carry out any camp-specific task without even thinking about it. While having very widespread knowledge such as this is helpful, it can help harbor complacency and contentment that says, “I am fine with not looking for new ways to grow.” I still pursued intense and meaningful relationships with the junior staff guys and helped to build them up in their walk, but in this, I found myself always thinking that there was something more to chase. I found myself not being challenged to grow in my own walk, and I was having trouble finding new ways to embrace ministry. Being at Camp Hemlock fourteen out the twenty years of my life has been an incredible pleasure, but It has been my singular experience with mission work.
Because of this, I have never been on a missions trip. My summers have always been full serving at Camp that I have never experienced what ministry in an unknown environment feels like. As December of 2016 rolled around, I felt God tugging on my heart to pull me towards mission work outside of Camp Hemlock for the summer of 2017. I was incredibly opposed to this notion at first, and I even said, “God are you crazy?” The more I prayed over my summer plans, the more God showed me how sovereign he was. In these moments with him, I began to see why God was calling me towards a summer mission.
He wanted me to embrace ministry in a way I have not had the opportunity to experience yet.
Through all the moments I doubted how God would use me this summer, he reassured me that this summer would be an incredible opportunity to serve him in a way I have not before. Seeing how God has blessed me with new friendships and opportunities to serve him through Cru, I know that he will use a Summer Mission at Hampton Beach as another incredibly rewarding path in my walk with him. I have no doubt that the summer will be filled with just as many struggles as there are victories, and I look forward to seeing how God will grow me through the moments where I must press into him and dig deep into the Word for guidance.
I am excited to look back ten weeks from now and see the incredible work God has done at Hampton Beach. He is going to use some very broken vessels to show Hampton Beach the greatest treasure of all eternity. This summer is yours Lord, and because of your Son, I am very blessed to say I will be a part of it.
H E L L O !
Welcome to the place where we hope give you a firsthand look into all things (or at least a lot of things) involving Cru's Summer Mission at Hampton Beach! Hopefully you've made your way around this site and have enjoyed what you've seen so far!
My name is Jocelyn and I'm one of the staff leading this year's mission, & I'm in charge of all things media! This blog section of the site will be used for students to share their POV experiences of HBSM.
Maybe you're a family member of a student who's currently on mission. Maybe a friend from your campus is here, and maybe you're considering coming here yourself! Maybe you're completely new to the idea of Cru's Summer Missions and simply want to find out more about Hampton Beach. Maybe you've heard a lot about Summer Missions back on campus, and you're wondering if they're realllyyyy as great & life-changing as people claim they are. (They are). Maybe HB sparks your interest but you want to see a little more of -- the nitty gritty kind of stuff. In any case, the hope is that this blog will answer questions + provide a more holistic view of the things that go on here! Stick around & we'll be featuring student posts soon!