Partnership Embraced

By Devin Swank, Partnership Coordinator

With a summer of trips in progress, it is easy to get caught up in the everyday hustle and bustle of worksites. The construction is going great and awesome progress is being made, but above all else I continue to see partnerships flourish. For me the partnerships we have, is where my heart beats deep. I have grown so dear to these now friends of mine and the ministries they are a part of. For each group that comes, I want nothing more than for them to experience the same feeling of genuine care and hospitality I experienced when I came 4 years ago. Experiencing something that deep changes you. It’s my hope that this experience ignites a passion and desire to reciprocate the feeling from all groups visiting Oklahoma this summer.

A big part of our weekly trips that students and leaders get a chance to experience this hospitality and care, is at our Community Worship Night. This year we chose to highlight each partnership by having the worship night at one of their buildings or church, so that we could fully experience what it feels like to encapsulate all that they are about. With our partner Cross and Crown we had a great experience with Roberto and his wife. They shared their testimony about living in the neighborhood as strangers to everyone and then how the love of Christ radically changed their hearts and called them into ministering to the same community they were strangers to. At Serve More we heard how Chris, the founder and director of this nonprofit, quickly felt a calling out of the massively destructive 2013 tornado to just serve and love his neighbors and how it all snowballed into a great collaborative effort. Stories like this inspire students, leaders, staffers, and even myself, to continue to press into the partnerships we have with organizations and people, to not only hear their stories, but to be changed by the way Christ is working through each person’s life.

To add to that… it is even more beautiful when groups return summer after summer to continue the relationships they started the summer before. This summer we have a number of groups that have bought into this idea and keep coming back for not just a second summer, but for a third and even fourth. It is a beautiful example of how the short term effects the long term and makes each mission trip more impactful. I am so thankful for partnership and for the great partner we have in Christ.