Another Summer in the Books

By Devin Swank, Partnership Coordinator

With another summer in the books, it is always good to reflect and see if goals were achieved and our mission was successful. This summer was a little different for me as I stepped into the role of Partnership Coordinator, which gave me a new perspective on how each summer really goes from more of an outside standpoint. It’s a huge part of my job to make sure that the effect Next Step has on this community is positive and in line with our mission to collide short term mission trips with long term community development. One of the ways I do that is by talking to the partnerships and homeowners we work with.

This year we worked with a member from our host church, Southpark, who has been involved with us since day one of Next Step being in Oklahoma. Typically in Oklahoma, we work with 3 main partnerships that supply many of our projects throughout the summer, making our summer very busy, very quickly. With this homeowner in particular, we couldn’t pass up a chance to work alongside this servant-minded woman as she began the effort to put her newly acquired home, back together. We worked on her house every week this summer, and every week she would share her story with students and leaders and how significant it was for them to be there. There was a lot to work on at her home, both inside and outside, amounting beyond the work Next Step could complete in one summer. So, additional help was needed. This was a perfect opportunity for her home church to step in and lighten the load by painting the entire outside of the house. This took a huge amount of relief off of her. It doesn’t stop there however. Groups that worked with this woman during the summer, are already committed to comping back to help finish the work this fall. The core of a partnership really takes on new meaning, when both sides understand the why. It wasn’t because Next Step chose this project or because it worked well with our schedule. No. It was because she needed the help and is on a daily basis, a help to those around her.

Too see the amount of partnership that took place with one project and one homeowner makes me realize we are still being effective and our mission is still being fulfilled. I am so thankful God has continued to do all the heavy lifting when it comes to making these summers impactful. It is by His grace and power that we get to do these things and reach others while doing it.