Do you remember what you used to do for Spring Break in middle school and high school?
I know the answer for most of us is not that we gave up our whole break to go help people in need. But that is exactly what is happening all throughout Rochester, New York this week!
Over 650 students from over 65 churches will be coming together to help those that are less fortunate. With over 1,000 participants, Flower City Work Camp is one of the most impressive movements I have ever been a part of. The reason I call it a movement, rather than an organization, is because absolutely no one is paid! Everything is volunteer based. From the day time leaders who take off work to supervise the students, to the overnight leaders, to the worship leaders and pastors, to the top executive team who works on this week all year long – everyone does it because they want the city to see Jesus.
There are three different opportunities taking place all over the city this week. The first is that over 50 homes are being renovated by the students who are participating in the work sites. These students will be helping in all sorts of basic construction projects, with “roving experts” coming around to fix people’s plumbing, electrical, and other needs.
One parent from our home church, Calvary Assembly, told me of a conversation she had with a co-worker at the hospital this week. As she was describing what her kids would be doing, this woman shared the following our student’s parent (paraphrase):
I am a single mother with four children. I was working multiple jobs to be able to pay the bills. My house needed painted so badly and one of our toilets was broken. By the time the students left, our toilet was fixed and the front of my house was looking great again! That was such an answer to prayer and such a blessing for my family and I.
Isn’t that fantastic? I always tell our students that loving God requires loving other people, and that love requires sacrifice. I’ve told them time and time again, and I can’t articulate it enough, how inspirational it is to see so many of them step up to serve. This is Calvary Assembly’s first year participating (mine too!) with 15 students from our church and over 35 people involved with all the different aspects of work camp (preparing/delivering lunches, overnight leaders, daytime leaders, roving experts, security, etc.). Unbelievable!
The other two opportunities of FCWC include running a basketball camp for other kids in the city, as well as multiple vacation Bible schools for younger kids. The students do the dramas, the teaching, and coordinate many other parts of the day with their adult leaders.
We have the opportunity to be people’s answers to prayers by being the hands and feet of Jesus this week. My hope and prayer is that every single person involved will be able to experience God in an incredible way this week. I am also excited to be able to process what my students are learning and seeing throughout their days each night.
What a unique and incredible way to demonstrate the body of Christ – to see churches unite from all over the city to bless others.
I leave you with the words of Jesus:
Whatever you did for the least of these, you have done for me.
Who is willing to pray for our safety and blessing this week?