Where is your mission field?

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Carly Miller recently graduated George Mason University with a Masters of Social Work. This will be her 4th summer serving with FUGE, where she will be Directing at Louisville! Her idea of a perfect day is hammocking in the sunshine with a cup of crushed ice in her hand.

 

 

I had the incredible opportunity to visit South Africa and do ministry with a Fuge team for Spring Break. One day my team went to downtown Johannesburg in a part of the city called Braamfontein. We met up with two members of a local church, Masimba and Cece. We walked around downtown, looking for religious places and people, trying to learn the heartbeat of the city. We prayer walked, prayed with and met members of the community and just tried to learn what the name of Jesus Christ meant to this part of the city. We also would just share the love of Jesus and what He has done in our lives with the people that we met in the community.

We took a break from our time walking around to sit down for lunch and I was able to talk with one of the church members, Cece. She asked me if I do this where I live. I asked, “Do I do what?”. She said “You know, do you walk around, evangelize and tell people about Jesus in your city?” Conviction and guilt set in. I honestly had to think about it for some time. Well, I live life in my city. I go to work. I go to school. I go to church. I try to live my life for Christ and tell friends about him. I try to encourage others in their walks with the Lord. But do I walk around my city purposely looking to meet new people, develop those relationships, and share the gospel with them? I’m going to be real honest and say that that is not normally the primary goal that I have for my everyday life. And why is it not? Cece is here in her city, walking around praying specifically for her city, and telling others about Jesus and what He has done in her life. However my sinful, selfish nature gets in the way and wants to stay comfortable. Throughout my time in Joburg, I definitely learned that I need to break out of my comfort zone and that we as Christians are called to share this GREAT news that we know about Jesus Christ with everyone around us. I also learned that as Christ’s followers, we all have a mission field and are called to it.

Yes, I loved serving the Lord in South Africa and I definitely left a piece of my heart there. And yes, I am already yearning to return there and travel to other parts of the world. But as for now, the Lord has brought me back to the States. Wherever we all are, He has us here for a reason. We are to follow His will and His plan and be “missionaries” wherever we are in life. We are called to give God glory in everything that we do, wherever we are. I encourage you to view where you are at as your mission field. Talk to your neighbors, classmates, coworkers, friends, and strangers. Develop relationships with them, find out where they are in life, and ask what they know about Jesus. Share your heart with them and what the Lord has done in your life. This is not just supposed to happen at camp or on a mission trip, but in our real imperfect lives. And the best part is that the Lord is going to walk right alongside us in this mission!

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you” – Deuteronomy 31:6

But actually go ahead and just read all of Deuteronomy 31 because it just continues to tell of the Lord’s faithfulness. He is going to be faithful to us in this mission! The Lord is not asking us to do this by our own doing, but saying that He will be there with us as we share with others about His goodness. So be strong and have courage! Go out to your mission field (your city, your school, your sports team, your club, your neighborhood), learn how to love and care for those people and share Jesus with them. The Lord will be walking right alongside you.

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Laborers

libby2Libby Shwartz is a senior at NC State University studying Interpersonal Communication. She finds joy in early morning cups of coffee, acrylic paints, and Ben Rector music. This upcoming summer will be her second summer as a Centrifuge Bible Study Leader. She worked Ridgecrest last year and is very excited to serve at Union University this upcoming summer!  She recently had the opportunity to go to Johannesburg, South Africa with some fellow FUGE staffers and loved every second of it.

 

The ground there is nothing but dirt, sand and rocks. The sun shines bright and beams rays of heat that leaves white skin burnt and crisp. The homes stand just short of seven feet tall, made of plastic, metal and cardboard. And the clothes are freshly washed and hanging on a line to dry.

I left my heart in this place. In Soweto, a township of Gauteng, South Africa, that is.

It was left in six year old Offensa’s little shack where Offensa, my teammate and I had an impromptu funny face competition which was quickly followed by sounds of giggles filling the small room. It was left with Offensa’s mother, who was single, unemployed and dedicated to raising a twelve month old baby girl and six year old Offensa with cerebral palsy. It was left when Offensa ran up and gave me an endearing hug goodbye and the sweet memory of walking away, turning around moments later and seeing him still watching us in the street.

It was left in the welcoming greetings and the quick connections where strangers instantly became friends. It was left with the beautiful moments where difference in language did not halt communication, but enhanced it. It was left in the moments of roaring laughter and ear to ear smiles on the faces of seven South African children who wanted nothing more than to be held, chased and loved. It was left in the memory of three of them piling onto my lap and taking turns popping my air filled checks with their tiny hands.

Lastly, and most importantly, it was left with the unfamiliar, but powerful sounds of the Gospel being spoken in Zulu and the reminder that the God we serve embraces culture and His power far surpasses any language or cultural barrier.

My heart is still there. Can’t you tell?

To be completely honest, walking to class this morning was a big challenge. It was hard for me to realize and accept that when I got off that seventeen hour flight yesterday, I said goodbye to South Africa and unwillingly welcomed America back into my life.

As small as this is, it really bothers me that I can’t greet people as I go to class in the mornings without getting a death glare and a snicker here and there from the people surrounding me.

It really bothers me that I feel the pressure to look presentable and nice everywhere I go because of a deep fear of man’s rejection.

It really bothers me that everyday I am subjected to the demands of American culture and its teachings that preach pride and discontentment.

So, you ask, what did I learn in my short time in South Africa? I learned just this. With humility and service, comes contentment. When we are focused less on ourselves and more on the Lord and His work, we begin to deeply appreciate the Gospel in a way that transforms first, our hearts and second, our words and deeds. We lose sight of our own self and become transformed by Jesus, who simply desires our humble submission to His call.

We are called to be laborers. Laborers who attack with intentionality, pursue with truth, and love with grace. So see to it, friends. Because, there is so much work to be done.

Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” -Matthew 9:37-38

 

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Why FUGE? A Staffer’s Perspective…

</pMeagan has worked as a FUGE staffer for five summers, three summers as a track leader and two as a MFUGE site director. Currently, Meagan lives in Nashville where she works as a nanny and is also enrolled as a full time student to The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary where she is pursuing a Master of Divinity in Missions. Meagan loves road trips, good books, and big cups of coffee. 

It’s not every day that people ask me why I work FUGE camps. As I prepare for my sixth summer of camp, however, the question keeps popping up in conversation. The first summer I worked camp, I was in college and my desire to spend the summer serving students did not surprise people. The second summer I worked camp, people understood that decision, but they figured this would be my last summer. The third summer I worked camp, people became more puzzled, but since I was in a transitional season of life, they figured this summer would be my last “hoorah” after graduating from college. The fourth summer I worked camp, people were confused and instead of asking “why?” asked “do you not have a real job?” The fifth summer I worked camp, people were shocked I was going back for yet another summer and some people concerned for my future, looked at me and asked, “So, why do you keep going back? Why do you choose to work FUGE again and again?”

For five years I’ve traded summers of sitting by the pool, going on family trips to the beach, shooting fireworks with my friendson the 4th of July, mornings of sleeping in, and weekend road trips, to work camp where summers are full of cafeteria food (“Asian Delight” day, I’m still not over you), little sleep, dorm living, thousands of teenagers, and a wardrobe that has already been decided for me.

Why would I do that? Why would I quit my job, leave my friends, and give up my summer to serve churches and minister to students and the community?

Because…

I’ve seen students and adults lives changed

I love experiencing a staff of strangers becoming closer than family

I love serving the community through new ministries each summer

I love screaming about a relay race until my voice is gone

I love free t-shirts

I love worshiping with hundreds of people every night of the summer

I love how clearly I can hear the Lord’s voice when I’m at camp

There is nothing like dancing like a fool at 8AM

You get to meet and connect with more students and adults than in any other context

12AM after MEGA relay is when Waffle House tastes the best

Exhaustion has never felt more rewarding

I think camp gives us a clearer picture of the Kingdom

I love the community and friendship of a camp staff

The best naps I’ve ever taken are after closing celebration on the last day of camp

Camp is a small picture of what an abundant life in Christ should look like

It’s challenging, but the rewards way outweigh the hard days

I love helping equip people to do ministry

There is nothing better than being part of students and adults going from death to life in Christ

I could probably go on and on forever with reasons why I love and choose to work FUGE camps. The biggest reason I work FUGE, though, is because I believe in the life change that happens at camp. I have seen campers and adults come to know Jesus for the first time. I have seen and been a part of life change in Sub-Saharan Africa because of the missions offering given at camp. I have experienced life change for myself. Thanks to FUGE I have been able to serve in communities from Greenville, SC, to Johannesburg, South Africa, to Glorieta, NM, to New Orleans, LA, to Asheville, NC.

I feel beyond blessed to have been part of this ministry for five plus years. Six years ago when I applied to work FUGE for the first time I could have never imagined how different my life would look now because of the impact of this ministry and the work God has done in my life though camp. His grace is overwhelming and his joy is truly a gift.

“I have come that they may have life and have it in abundance.” John 10:10

// www.fuge.com // #mysummerstory // @fugecamps //

 

 

Do Unto Others

Marci Coleman

Marci Coleman is the author of today’s guest post. Marci currently resides in Memphis, TN, where she is working on a degree in Worship Leadership at Visible Music College. She will graduate in the spring of 2014. Marci is a talented singer and guitarist and is beginning to work on an EP. She has worked two summers with MFuge, at Mobile in 2012 and Ridgecrest in 2013.
Philippians 2:1-4 speaks of looking to the interest of others and to consider others better than yourself. What exactly does this look like? I’ve heard this scripture many times before, but until I experienced it in a unique way, my perspective has been completely changed.

One afternoon I decided to go to a Taco Bell drive-through to order a cheap burrito, like every normal college student does. I was home that weekend visiting family, and was familiar with the cashier, who had seen me multiple times before. I had always been a friendly “drive-through customer” to her and she had always served me with kindness and a smile.

As I pulled up to her window to pay, I sensed gloominess from her. I didn’t want to impose on her private life, and especially through a drive-through, but I immediately asked, “How are you?” It was such a unique sensation, but when I asked her this, I could feel the Holy Spirit prompting me to make conversation with this lady. She responded with a sulky, “I’m okay.” So, then, I bluntly asked her, “What’s wrong?” She had no problem with pouring out her troubled soul to me—a death in the family, taking care of her own family, managing her work schedule, and not having enough time to herself. She ended with, “I just need a break. I need strength to get through.”

To be honest, I was a bit shocked that she felt so comfortable telling me these things. It took me a second to grasp what was happening. I responded sympathetically, and told her I would pray for her. I got her name and assured her that she would be prayed for. As I drove away, I immediately started to re-encounter our conversation and wondered if I had said the right things.

At first, I regretted not saying more about the Hope and Strength of Christ. But I couldn’t dwell on what I didn’t do or what I should’ve said. I realized all it took on my part was to listen, to encourage, to look to the interest of others, and to humbly put a cashier’s life situation before my cheap burrito. And that speaks more volume than I can even imagine!

Let us put on the attitude of Christ, having the same love, and seek out those in need! The world makes more sense when it’s not about us. We all need to be reminded that people are truly suffering and going through some hard times and they are ready to talk! We must be ready and willing to listen, even if it is through a Taco Bell drive- through.

May God bless our conversations!

Holiday Traditions

Now that December is here, the Christmas spirit is filling the FUGE Camps office. Here are some of our favorite holiday traditions.

Holiday Traditions Blog from Fuge Camps on Vimeo.

A VP’s Perspective

AJ Chambers sqr AJ Chamber has a very rewarding history with FUGE.  He has worked 9 summers in various roles, such as track leader, actor, and video producer.  He currently lives in a suburb of Charleston, SC and serves as a high school broadcast journalism and film production teacher.  In his free time, AJ is a Zumba instructor and movie addict.

 

As a FUGE Camps video producer, I get to be a fly on the wall; I see everything as an observer. In these moments, God teaches me so much about our relationship with Him and other believers.

I could be out visiting MFUGE sites trying to fight traffic and the clock in order to capture as many campers as possible, yet gain endless joy from what I see.  It can be as simple as a little girl’s smile as she totally tangles the hair of a camper (who unbeknownst to her is about to spend all evening trying to get it back to normal for worship), or an elderly woman with dementia smiling from ear to ear playing balloon volleyball.  In these moments, I see God’s love for us.  My heart and mind are opened to the reality of how simple life is when you focus on serving God with everything.  These moments fill me welling with emotions.

More importantly, I see that same impact in the lives of those being served and the campers and staffers serving.  It is life-changing and truly inspiring.  I am reminded of what Jesus called us to do in John13:12-14 “When Jesus had washed their feet and put on His robe, He reclined again and said to them, “Do you know what I have done for you? You call Me Teacher and Lord. This is well said, for I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.”  It is beautiful, inspiring, and joyous to see this action in practice working with FUGE.