Wow, what a fantastic week of serving. ROC’s group of 13 arrived home late in the wee hours of Saturday morning after an incredible week of working alongside Crossroads Missions in Piedras Negras, Mexico. Our team served meals to refugees, assisted with construction projects, and helped with outreach in the city among others! We couldn’t have asked for a better experience, and I couldn’t have anticipated what a wonderful team God had assembled.
You know if there is one thing that I’ve learned from years of leading mission trips, it’s this: as good as your trip may go, there will always be something that tests your faith, your patience, and your composure. We’ve experienced everything from flat tires (too many to count), to cancelled hotel reservations, to even fleeing from a hurricane (no joke). This time it was flying home into blizzard-like conditions. Our normal 3 hour trip from Cincinnati home became a 5 hour ordeal in a church van that was less than ideal for the conditions. Thankfully God is exceedingly good, and each team member arrived home safely!
It really was a joy to get to not only serve in Mexico with the team, but to serve alongside my son Trey and our very own ROC president / staff member turned resident of Piedras, Noelle Mash (both of whom are working for Crossroads Missions there this spring). I can’t put into words how proud I am of these two. Watching them lead and serve our group as well as the others that were there last week overwhelmed my heart with pride. Please pray for Trey, Noelle, and the rest of the CRM Mexico staff as they continue to bless the community and other groups traveling there to serve.
Today is the first day back after Spring Break for ROC at OU. We decided to kick things off here with an outreach event. Our students set up at the Alumni Gateway here in Athens to hand out free cocoa, coffee, and breakfast bars to students as they passed on their way to class. It was a great day and God blessed us with some beautiful weather for the outreach. I’m looking forward to another day of reaching out to our community as we set up again tomorrow.
One thing that I am greatly encouraged by is the team that we currently have training to be leaders in the ROC community this fall. Our group, let’s call them the fearless 5, have done an amazing job of showing up each week to train, ready to learn, discuss, and grow in hopes of making the ROC community a place where others can “Belong, Become, and Be Sent” this fall! Please be praying for this group as so much of the identity of the group is set by the leadership. Please pray that God would continue to guide them, lead them, and use them in powerful ways in the year to come.
I also want to take a second as close to share with you how blessed we have been by our Administrative Professional Jean Difilippo. Jean has faithfully served ROC and loved our students for the past 14 years. Some may call her a Saint for putting up with me nearly 8 of those years! Jean will be wrapping up her time with ROC at the end of April and will be moving to NE Ohio to be closer to family (especially her grandkids, she seems to really like that idea). We are going to be celebrating Jean and wishing her Happy Retirement on Saturday March 26th at noon at Athens First Baptist Church. If you would like to come and wish Jean well and share in a meal, please RSVP by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org . You can also feel free to send Jean cards to Jean Difilippo, c/o Reach Out on Campus, PO Box 2613, Athens, Ohio 45701.
As always, I am incredibly grateful for each of you who lovingly pray for and support the ministry of ROC. Your love and generosity are making an eternal impact in the Kingdom.