Short-Term Missions; God's Long-Term Plans

By Nicole Chick, Partnership Coordinator

It’s project planning time for Next Step, and in Milwaukee that means a lot of meetings with partners to discuss visions and goals for the summer. Today, I met with Steve, Al, and Terri at Adullam Outreach. After about six years of partnership between Adullam and Next Step, these meetings usually consist of listing out the needs of the facility, discussing the big picture, explaining the purpose and vision behind projects, and prioritizing the list for the summer to come.
This meeting did not exactly follow what is typical for an Adullam/Next Step project planning meeting. God had something else in mind for this time and revealed Himself right before my eyes.

As I walked through the building entrance to meet on the second floor, I walked through a room I had never seen before. This room, was a space in past summers where Next Step students had dragged furniture through, organized carpentry equipment, and put up drywall. During those summers as I facilitated and worked alongside volunteers I had no idea what exactly would come about from these projects. Today, this room was filled with beautifully crafted bunk beds, head boards, and tables all crafted from those involved in Adullam’s new job training program, Custom Cottage. This program employs people in the community and teaches them carpentry, as well as teaching them various life skills. To see that space being used for something so empowering to those in the community was overwhelming in the best way.

As I proceeded up the stairs to the second floor for our meeting, I heard lots of footsteps and noise coming from the third floor. I was super confused, but Steve explained we were not alone in the building. There were over 30 college students staying at Adullam for several weeks of Bible study, service, and discipleship. I was encouraged to know there are more people in the city partnering with Adullam and using their amazing facility to glorify the Lord.

Knowing that over 30 people were staying on the third floor for several weeks, initially I was a little concerned. For the past three years I have been on that floor during summer months. Hundreds of Next Step students have worked in that space moving and sorting donations, tearing down walls, building new walls, mudding, sanding, taping, painting, all things construction… you name it, we’ve probably done it. The third floor of Adullam has been the never-ending project where completion has always seemed far off. So much space and so much work.

As if they could read my mind, Al and Terri were excited to bring me up to the third floor to check out the space these college students were utilizing. I could not believe what the third floor had become. Bathrooms and showers installed, study and computer spaces, dorm rooms for the students to sleep in, and a huge central meeting space where all of these college students were studying God’s word. The transformation of that space is so impressive and I remember how I felt those past summers working up there wondering, “what exactly is the plan for this?”. Three years ago I never would have envisioned this space housing college students for urban missions. God knew how it would be used and it was amazing to see how He has transformed it throughout the years.

As for the actual meeting? The project list has grown much smaller. More ideas were shared about how to get outside the walls of Adullam to begin to reach those in the community.

Today was the most encouraging reminder to me that God’s plans are bigger than I can perceive. As I continue to work with partners on planning for projects this summer, I am pumped to enter into these ideas knowing in confidence that God has a specific and unique plan for each one.

Next Step Ministries