February Update

 A few weeks ago, we began a series of teachings at Rio called “The Journey Matters.” In this series, we’ve been looking at Biblical journeys and what we learn from them. For example, the first week we looked at Moses’ journey from an Israelite baby pulled from waters to being raised in the house of Pharoah, to fleeing for Midian, to encountering God in the burning bush before ultimately returning to Egypt. One of the big takeaways from this series has been how God continues to shape us throughout the journey. In the same way that God used all the events of Moses’ journey to shape him into Israel’s leader, He uses the events of our lives to shape us into the person He is calling us to be. 

Have you ever considered how God might be using the circumstances of your life right now to shape you? I know that I’ve asked that question a lot since the beginning of the pandemic. “God, how are you using this to shape me? How are you using this shape our community? How are you using this to shape your kingdom?” While I obviously don’t fully know the answer to any of these questions, I think prayerfully asking God to reveal these things to us is important. Also, I’d love to hear your feedback. What is God doing to shape you during this season? 

When the screen freezes at just the right time during Crosswalk!

So where has the journey led the ROC community this semester? Good question. We’re glad you asked! In addition to our regularly scheduled events like Crosswalk and Bible Studies, we’ve been navigating snowy weather to try and connect with people. For example, despite some frosty temps, a brave group of us went for a winter hike in Hocking Hills at the end of January. It was actually a great day of hiking and fellowship. Additionally, ROC had the privilege of serving at the OVCA Jr/Sr High retreat February 12-14. Annie Holbert, ROC’s Women’s Ministry Leader, and I taught a workshop on Saturday, while several of our ROC students from OU and Rio served as counselors throughout the weekend. 

Speaking of the retreat, I’m incredibly proud of Evan Lynch (former ROC intern) and Darrin Will (former ROC Student Leader) for organizing and running the event! These guys put their hearts into making this retreat something special for our local middle and high school students. I love when our ROC members “pay it forward” like this, for a new generation of students. 

One of the things that we noted in the series “The Journey Matters” was that the journey isn’t always easy. I think this is extremely timely and relevant to our students. This past year hasn’t been an easy one for college students. Many of them are feeling overwhelmed and stressed out while mourning the loss of the “traditional” college experience. I say this for several reasons. First, will you join me in praying for peace and strength for not only our ROC students, but college students everywhere? Second, if you know a college student, now would be a great time to reach out to them and encourage them. Call, text, write, it doesn’t matter, just let them know they aren’t forgotten or alone. Finally, let them know that this part of their journey isn’t wasted. God is using this to shape them for His purposes. 

ROC’s Winter Hike at Hocking Hills.

One thing that God has clearly taught me during this journey has been His faithfulness demonstrated clearly through the love, compassion, and generosity of His people. I can’t overemphasize how much the ROC staff appreciates the lengths that you have gone to, to make certain that the ministry of ROC continues even in the midst of this difficult season. Your prayers, encouragement, and faithfulness have literally carried us through. Thank you! 

Many Blessings, 

-Dodger Vaughan