MSM Students' Call to Ministry
Note: Two years ago, Emma Pettis, Emma Denzer, Kayla Hokanson, Cortney Hokanson, Haley Steel, Maddie McCarthy, Isabella Hinson, Kerstyn Quittem, Emma Rognlie and Tessa Cockerill felt moved. In their 6th grade small group they designed t-shirts that reflected their faith. Then they sold those t-shirts as a fundraiser for a Mission outpost family. They were 6th graders at the time. This is their last year as in Middle School Ministry and they are honoring that with a new design. Once again, profits from all sales will go to families served by the Mission Outpost. You can read their amazing story here.
God calls us to help others. He makes the needs in our community evident for us to see. For instance, have you ever seen a homeless person sitting on a street, or a food bank that can’t feed all the people coming for help? If our church offers clothes for a clothes bank, do you know the people who come to receive those clothes? God uses these examples to get our attention to see the needs of others.
In the spring of 2012, our small group was presented with an opportunity. Cortney and Kayla Hokanson’s mom, Tonsha, works for a graphic design/screen printing business. She offered to create t-shirts for our group as a way to show our faith outside of the walls of Prince of Peace. We went to work for a couple weeks, designing our t-shirts and ultimately chose a black t-shirt with the “Strong Enough” logo. This logo symbolized our knowledge that we are “Strong Enough” to walk through any challenge, struggle or concern in our lives with God’s help and guidance. We wanted to send a subtle message to everyone who sees us in our shirts: God is number one in our lives and only He has the power to lead us through anything we may face.
Because we wanted to share this message with others, Cortney and Kayla’s mom offered to create a website where we could sell these t-shirts to our friends and family as a fundraiser. The proceeds would be given to us to give to an organization or person we felt could benefit by the gift of money. After selling t-shirts, hats and bags with our “Strong Enough” logo for a couple weeks, we ended up with a $105 dollars to give away.
The next step was deciding where we would share our money. We discussed this for several small group session times and with much deliberation, we just couldn’t decide what felt right. There were so many organizations worthy of this money, but as a group we didn’t feel settled on any one thing. We decided to pray about it. One thing became clear. We wanted to see the person or people who would get the money and we all wanted to be a part of the experience.
We finally decided the best way to do this was to serve one night at Mission Outpost. The only thing left to decide was who was going to get the money. Again, we decided to pray about it. We discussed the option of having the first family who entered Mission Outpost be the winner. We discussed choosing a family with a baby. We discussed many possibilities, but in the end, we simply decided to trust God to let us know which family would be the one blessed by our money. We were going to wait for God to “show” us the opportunity and wait until the Spirit led us to the right family.
On Wednesday in early May, our group was finally gathered to begin serving at Mission Outpost. We began by gathering with adult volunteers and Pat Jarvi to pray about our evening and the families we would serve.
To say we were all a little nervous and giddy about what was going to happen that evening, in an understatement. We could hardly focus on our work, as we tried to quietly discern which family would receive our money. As time passed, we kept checking in with each other, quietly discussing our thoughts and yet trying to listen to God’s call. All the families who were coming had been checked in and still we didn’t know which family was the “one”. Then finally, our small group leader checked in with each of us. She walked around to each of the areas of Mission Outpost and asked who we felt called to bless. The answer was unanimous. The last family to enter the Mission Outpost that evening was a mom, a son close to our age and a little daughter about 4 years old.
It was amazing that God called to each of us with the same answer …this was our family. We didn’t know why we were so drawn to that particular family, but the call was very clear. One of the weekly volunteers who checks families in came to us and said, “I don’t know if you have decided which family will receive your money or not, but this family has quite a story and I know they would be so grateful for that extra money right now.” Our small group leader told her “call” was amazing, because everyone had already decided on this particular family before we knew anything about her story.
After this family had been checked in, we gathered in a separate room to surprise the mom and her kids with our money. She had been out of work with an injury for a while, had just used the last of her money to put gas in her car and had nothing left. She had come to Mission Outpost to get food and household items in a last ditch effort to simply survive for another week. As we shared our story of praying about who was to share our money, tears fell from her eyes and ours, too. This mom was so grateful for our generosity. Our trust in God to lead us to this family was right. God had hand-picked the perfect family for us to serve and bless in an extraordinary way.
This experience was perhaps one of the most profound experiences we had as a small group two years ago. We know we blessed a family in need, but we believe that we were really the ones who were blessed. In a profound way we learned that serving others is God’s number one call for all of us. We couldn’t get it out of our minds. We needed to do it again, so we are.
We recently designed a new shirt and will be selling our design with our faith statement on them on sweatshirts, sweats pants and dri-fit wear. We are sharing this opportunity with all of you and will have examples at Freestyle along with a brochure and a website where you can purchase items to help another family at Mission Outpost.
Our goal is two-fold. We want to share a monetary blessing with a family in need. We also want to share our faith with others. You kids are walking advertisements. You wear logos for your sports teams, your dance studios, the businesses you frequent on your clothes. Why shouldn’t we share our faith, too? Isn’t that the best advertisement of all? That should be our number one calling in life. We hope you will join us in this mission project!