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Living the Mission: Jon Smetana

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Jon Smetana has been at Integrity Church for three years running. Jon came our way as part of the initial staff of Campus Outreach (CO) - East Carolina. During his time at ECU Jon has shown a commitment to meeting college men and working to gain their respect in order to share the Gospel with them personally. 

Also, Jon has been an extremely valuable member of Integrity Church as well. Most often he attends the 11 o'clock service with college students he is actively ministering to and serves after service as part of the tear down team. 

This summer Jon, who is now the Campus Director at ECU, had a chance to serve ECU students during their time on Summer Orlando Project (SOP). We asked Jon to share with us a little about what that experience is like for both himself as a leader and also the students who make up the SOP. 

Why are you serving in this way? 

I am serving college students because I believe they are the most strategic demographic in the world. College students are the future leaders of tomorrow, and our 20's are called the "Defining Decade" of our lives. It is imperative to have a gospel presence on the campus because this is the window of time that people are becoming who they will be in the future. Additionally, I was converted on the college campus my freshman year at NC State, and everything about my life changed. Since that day, God has given me a burden to see students just like me come to know the surpassing worth of Jesus Christ. 

Who are you serving? 

I am specifically serving college students from ECU, NC State, UNC Chapel Hill, UNC Wilmington, Campbell, Meredith, Jacksonville, and Embry Riddle. (Campus Outreach Raleigh is in a 2 year partnership with Jacksonville and Embry Riddle, as I'm sure it's confusing that they are on the list.)

What are you doing? 

They are being trained in the basics of the christian faith: how to study the Bible, how to share the gospel, how to honor God with our time, money and talents, and how to invest in discipleship relationships. They are in Orlando, FL for 8 weeks attending training sessions each day and working full time jobs at Universal Studios and SeaWorld. The environment is specifically designed to be conducive to maturity in the gospel. Each student is being specifically thought for and prayed for and challenged for their spiritual growth.

How can we pray for them and the team?  

The SOP schedule is very rigorous. You are being pushed to the extreme in almost every category; physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. It is intense. Please pray God would grant everyone endurance to finish the summer strong, as we are now over halfway done. Pray that God would use this summer to raise up laborers to go back to campus in the Fall to reach their friends and classmates. 

Posted by Chris Wilson with

Living the Mission: Caitlin Hooks

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This Summer, I had the privilege of co-leading a team of 7 college students to Chiang Mai, Thailand to partner with the Campus Outreach staff who have positioned their lives on the college campuses there. The staff in Chiang Mai have been serving in Thailand anywhere from 6 months to 20+ years, and included in that are native Thai staff who have come to Christ through the ministry of Campus Outreach, and now desire to see their fellow countrymen do the same. 

Over the past two years, the staff have met and become friends with students at Chiang Mai University, and so this summer, they offered a Summer Beach Camp for some of these students, where they would have the opportunity to learn English from and build friendships with Americans (us), and learn more about Christianity. 

Our team used the platform of teaching english to build deep friendships with the students and to initiate spiritual conversations with them, with the hopes of the Chiang Mai staff being able to pick up right where we left off when we went back to the U.S. Besides teaching english, we also got to have a lot of really fun shared experiences with the Thai students, from climbing up waterfalls to taking a twelve hour bus ride to one of the beaches, where we spent a week! Two students, while we were there repented and believed in the strong, saving name of Jesus! The rest of the students (about 30 of them) are now solidly connected with the staff in Chiang Mai, the majority of whom are very interested in learning more about God and the Bible. 

Please join in praying for this team in Chiang Mai, that God would sustain them and be their rest and strength during this upcoming season, where a good portion of the staff will be coming back to America for furlough. Please pray for the two new Thai believers (and for the two that were already Christians), that God would protect them and establish them. We have a real enemy who prowls around like a lion. Pray these students would not be devoured.

Lastly, please pray for our team from America, as we have returned recently! There are a lot of great things about America, but the allure of comfort and falling into temptation is strong, and we need supernatural help to walk with God daily. Praise God that he, in His sovereign goodness, allowed us to have this experience. Soli Deo Gloria!  

Posted by Caitlin Hooks with

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