Summer OFF Reflections: Christine's Story (3/3)
By Christine H.
A few years later, in 2012, our family gathered around the table to pray, this time at a ranch in Texas. Our then-teenage daughter Annie was trying to decide what she should do the summer following graduation. She felt the Lord calling her to bring a group of her Texas friends to Rhode Island so they could participate in Summer OFF with Godspeed Church.
The idea became reality. Using materials from another missions trip she had participated in, Annie brought her group of friends together weekly to disciple them with Bible studies and prepped them for the missions trip. We dubbed the mission “LOVENET” for New England and Texas, and prayed that God would grow them and give them a love for the children of Providence. He was building community. He was teaching Annie how to take gospel principles she had learned from one community to help unify another community. They were growing up into oneness. There were so many growth stories to be told about that summer that she could write a huge volume.
In 2014, our son Drew and I had the opportunity to share a little about Summer OFF to a home group from our church in Dallas one evening. The members, who met at the home of Derek and Miranda Laughlin, opened their hearts to a mission trip to the east coast. As Miranda and I got together to plan out our time for the designated week in Dexter Park, her passion and gifting for working with kids in a capacity like this became evident.
That week in Rhode Island, it was a joy to see how each person brought a gifting and saw a place where he or she could build up the body and contribute. Some were at home performing silly skits or sharing the gospel with children, while others had opportunity to use their professional skills to lend insights into the communities served by Summer OFF. The biggest marvel from that summer is to see how God used us to help lead the Laughlins to New England where Derek has begun his biblical counseling business and Miranda has begun her role as Summer OFF Director. The greatest privilege of being members of one body is seeing how Christ is building his church and to participate in that process.
He has enlarged the table of personal ministry to show us how he has a kingdom-centered heart, based in his purpose for us in community. I’m awed to think of how he drew in all of Godspeed Church to serve in Summer OFF. Then, as the circle widened to include other churches in other communities and even more to churches in other states, God is expanding Summer OFF in amazing ways that only the giftings of the body of Christ can provide.
He is teaching me to embrace "us" over "me". A simple prayer for my family was all that I had, plus faith that he would provide an answer. He is up to much more than I know. Just like I would never cook a delicious meal for my family without sitting down to enjoy it with them, I believe the work in Dexter Park that ministered to others was transformative for our family as well.