There’s no doubt that life as we know it has changed since Coronavirus. We hear terms like “the new norm” tossed around a lot. In many ways this can be scary, but for those of us who trust in God, we know that not only is He still in control, He is also good. That is why I’ve been trying to focus on the good things that I’ve seen God work out during this season, and if it’s okay I’d like to share a few of those with you.
First, can you imagine having your wedding plans put on hold, or radically changed by Coronavirus? Well that’s exactly what happened to a lot of couples this year. It has been awesome to see firsthand how several of our ROC couples have overcome this challenge. For some of these couples it meant changing venues, for others it meant changing dates, but for all it meant scaling back on attendance. To be completely honest however, they’ve been some of the most incredible weddings I’ve officiated. In the past two months the ROC community has celebrated with Josh and Cara Mason, Gracie and Noah McCune, and Luke and Sara Fredricks. In addition, one of my former high school students Zach Sheets, tied the knot with his wife Torrie in a small back yard ceremony at his parents’ home in Middleport. What’s even more amazing is that Lowe’s helped design and pay for the wedding as part of a campaign they’ve entitled Home Unites Us.
Secondly, I’ve been encouraged by the support we’ve received from so many people about the ROC at Rio ministry plant. In case you weren’t already aware, ROC is moving forward with plans to plant a campus ministry at the University of Rio Grande. Noelle Mash, ROC’s former student organization president, will be living in Gallipolis while serving the Rio Grande campus. Not only have many of the faculty and administration at Rio expressed their support, many of the churches in the area have been incredibly supportive as well. I want to especially thank Derek Stump and the folks at Central Christian in Gallipolis for literally opening their doors to us. Central has an area in their church that used to be a minister’s suite that they’ve opened up for Noelle to live in and are currently in the process of renovating the space for her to use so she can live close to campus. I thought it was an incredibly brilliant way to support the ministry of ROC and we are extremely grateful for that partnership.
Finally, I’ve been encouraged by the hearts of our students to reach their campus. With absolutely nothing being “normal” this year we’ve had to be creative in the ways we are reaching new students. ROC has always grown by students reaching students. With this in mind, we recently came up with what we are calling our “Reach 1” campaign. It’s all about encouraging one person to reach out to another. With that in mind, we also want to challenge our supporters like you. Who is one person you could reach out to that will be attending Ohio University or the University of Rio Grande this fall? What is a way you could reach this person and help connect them to the ministry of ROC? (Check out the video below for additional details!)
Speaking of reaching new students, for years ROC has handed out free cookies during move-in weekend. At this time, we are still planning to hand out cookies both at OU and Rio Grande. Here is how you can help… bake some cookies and place 2-3 in a sealed zip-lock bag. You can drop them off between Wednesday, August 12 and Saturday, August 15 at 2 Ransom Drive, Athens or call me at (740) 591-1692 and make arrangements to meet me if you are outside of the Athens area. Thanks for helping us reach students in Jesus’ name.