All posts in “Lorain, OH”

Abundance of Assets

One of the coolest privileges of living in a community is getting the opportunity to see the Lord work through different groups and individuals year round. During the summer months we are surely blessed to have Him use mission groups to impact our city and the cool thing is that even though our trips stop in August, He doesn’t! Today I would love to share just one way He is working through local residents and community initiatives during the ‘off-season’ for mission trips. Continue Reading…

More Than a Ramp

‘Liz, this is Will. You put my mom’s ramp on the house this summer. I just wanted to let you know my mom passed away two days ago. I just wanted to tell you I greatly appreciate what you did for her. Take care.’ Continue Reading…

Lorain: Jewel of the North Coast

Do you ever leave space in your week to dream? To ask yourself – where do I want to be in the next 10 years? Where do I see my community, family, and friendships evolving?

Recently, in Lorain, we have been taking time to do just that. The image you see above is the front page of our local newspaper- The Morning Journal. You may notice, though, it is dated to June 20, 2027. This is one of our dreams- that 10 years from now our city will be recognized as ‘The Jewel of the North Coast’, that the stigmas that currently plague our city will be a distant memory, and that positive celebrations can replace stories of devastation on the front page of our newspaper. Dreaming is fun isn’t it?

But here’s the thing, dreaming is only the first step. It provides us an end goal, but also begs the question ‘So how do we get there?’ Here in Lorain we have been engaging in a series of community conversations around that very question. In the image of our 2027 Morning Journal cover you will notice a couple blank spaces to be filled in, this is where we determine the steps to accomplish our dreams. We believe a foundational part of this process rests in networking and collaboration. Throughout these conversations people with similar passions in their vision for our city have been identified and will soon be grouped together to actually begin working together on some of these steps.

It’s so cool to see the impact of a focused group of passionate citizens. The conversation has only just begun and we are certainly excited by the potential to make these dreams come alive. Please join us in praying for our city and the Lorain Proud movement. Check out the link below for more details.

Lorain Proud Website

Energy Meets Sustainability

It’s around this time of year that, as a Partnership Coordinator, I get the pleasure of following up with every homeowner, organization, and individual Next Step volunteers were able to work alongside in Lorain County this summer. In some ways, this is the most life-giving time of the year- the time where I get to hear the true impact of the past summer of missions trips.

For many who interact with Next Step, the time following a summer of service is one of renewed hope. Whether the individual is engaging their faith for the first time or a dormant faith was awakened, many of our Next Step friends are now entering this season with a different energy and excitement to experience the Lord. This is the profound role that short term missions so often has in faith development. Flooding a city with hundreds of visiting volunteers over a 9 week period has a specific and unique way of jump starting a new adventure with the Lord.

As we consider long term spiritual growth for our new friends, the importance of collaborating with a sustainable local force becomes quite evident. We begin to identify a need for an entity with the capacity to walk alongside folks for the long haul, to engage in year round spiritual investment, and to offer opportunities to serve others within their community. Here in Ohio, we see that opportunity through the local church.

Friends, this is a vivid example where ever-so-plainly we witness short term missions colliding with long term community development. The energy and hope brought by short term missions groups combined with the sustainable capabilities of the local church releases the potential for communities and individuals to be deeply impacted by the gospel.

Join me in praying for opportunities to connect each of our summer contacts with local church congregations here in Lorain County this fall!

Multiply

And just like that we wrap up another season of mission trips. It is with great joy that we reflect on the countless homes repaired, friendships created, and lives impacted by Christ over the past nine weeks throughout our mission trip season. Join with me in a couple praises specifically from Ohio this summer: Continue Reading…

Construction Work Is Messy

Messy.

This is a word that paints a different mental picture for each of us. If you are a homeowner in the middle of a construction project, the image of your kitchen covered in drywall dust, or backyard piled high with demolition debris, may come to mind. For a Next Step Volunteer, their mind may flash back to leaving the worksite covered in paint or mud from a hard day’s work. If you’ve served on Summer Staff, you may envision a kitchen filled with the week’s Sysco order, or foot washing buckets filled with dirty water after Thursday night service. Continue Reading…

Expectation

Over at Next Step we certainly define May as a month of ‘Expectation’. As we nail down the final details of our summer program, we are filled with anticipation as to how God will arrange them to expand His Kingdom over the next few months. In the whirlwind of countless to-do lists and last minute preparations this month brings, I have come to deeply value the discipline of reflection. Taking a moment to consider the thousands of students and community members who will have the opportunity to take their next steps in faith this summer grounds me back to the heart beat of this mission- to encounter and embody Jesus Christ through service. Continue Reading…

Lorain Charrette

Over the past two weeks, the air has been thick with excitement around some very intentional conversations here in Lorain. In partnership with Kent State University, the Lorain Historical Society has just finished hosting an eight part series of community discussions called the Lorain Charrettes. Continue Reading…

Follow the Leader

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where good intentions did not play out how you hoped they would? Maybe you’ve baked peanut butter cookies for someone with an allergy, surprised someone who hates surprises, or accidentally offended someone you meant to celebrate. Continue Reading…

Missions Outside of the Trip

I love mission trips, don’t you? I experience so much joy introducing visitors to my amazing community. Working alongside my neighbors on construction projects provides such a tangible platform to be the hands and feet of Christ. Worshipping with individuals from different parts of the country every evening is a blessing experienced in very few other platforms. Each summer I am more and more amazed at the ways the Lord uses the 9 weeks of mission trips here in Lorain County to transform and expand his Kingdom. Continue Reading…

The Theology of Presence

Recently, I’ve had the privilege of spending extended time with my friend Carole. Carole is a wonderful older woman who was introduced to me and many Next Step volunteers two years ago as we started construction at her home. Continue Reading…

Donna’s Story

It doesn’t take a detective to uncover the evidence that we live in a world infected with the very real disease of sin. Each community bears the symptoms of this disease a little differently. In my community it takes the form of  violence, poverty, education barriers, malnutrition, anger, hopelessness- the list could go on. If I can be completely transparent for a moment, I have to admit that these realities overwhelm me at times. Continue Reading…

Bringing It Home: Living on Mission

Two weeks ago we were privileged here in Lorain County to work alongside a group of 7 wonderful volunteers from Hinsdale, IL. What an incredible time it was experiencing the Lord together through construction projects, community outreach, nightly worship, and fellowship! Continue Reading…

Pieces of the Puzzle

As a representative of my community, the task of delivering our volunteers a comprehensive picture of the work the Lord is doing year-round in Lorain County is always tricky. Throughout their trip, Next Step volunteers have the privilege of witnessing the Lord’s transformative work in a very intimate and personal setting. Often, visiting groups are able to experience the Lord intervene within their youth group, the homeowners they are serving alongside, community partners, and on a personal level. The stories and experiences our volunteers have are truly amazing. Continue Reading…