This past month we took a team of 11 students to Nicaragua to partner with Nadia Garcia, the director of Chi Alpha Nicaragua and at the University of Central America (UCA) in Managua, Nicaragua. It was by far one of the most fruitful mission trips I have ever been on, especially given the short time that we were there, one week. Our students stepped out in boldness to share their faith, pray for the those in physical, emotional and spiritual need, build friendships, and pour into the student leaders at UCA.
Sunday was a day of ministry in churches. First, we visited a campus church where we led worship in Spanish and got to pray for the transition of pastors that was happening in the church. We then did three full days of various types of evangelism on the UCA campus on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. We did sports ministry on Monday morning playing fútbol, volleyball and basketball with students and then sharing some testimonies and about Chi Alpha at UCA with them. Some of our team did a 7-minute drama different places on campus throughout the day and the others shared the gospel after the drama. We also had a number stations on campus including an information table, a prayer booth and a spiritual readings tent. Beyond this our students simply went out on campus and talked to students either in Spanish or tried to find students that spoke English, having spiritual conversations with them, asking them if they needed prayer, and sharing their testimonies with these local students. Throughout this time, we also were passing out flyers for an American Party that we hosted on Thursday where we once again shared testimonies, invited students to follow Jesus and had tons of fun. Over 70 students came to the party and the local leaders of UCA were excited to have the contact information of over 60 new students 30 of whom were very interested in joining the campus ministry. This included 8 students who gave their lives to Christ that we know of.
Wednesday we served at a new church plant of the Nadia’s brother. We did door-to-door evangelism in the morning sharing scripture, prayer and prophetic words for people. This may have been an even more stretching time for our team being invited into people’s homes. Still, we continued to see a lot of fruit with 7 more people giving their lives to Jesus, 3 people that we know of healed, and we even did an impromptu baby dedication for a four-day old infant. In the afternoon we did a kid’s outreach with over 100 kids. We shared the gospel with them and their parents and invited everyone we came in contact with that day to return that night for a special service where Brandon preached. All in all, 12 new people came to the church that night and 4 more of them gave their lives to Christ. Many more received prayers for healing and that they would have eyes to see God’s vision for what he is doing in their community (John 9).
Perhaps just as exciting as the at least 20 people who came to Christ, over 10 people healed, and even more ministered to and connected with Chi Alpha or a local church was the time we got to spend training and equipping the local Chi Alpha leaders in evangelism, leading small groups, and leadership development. We also saw the formation of the beginnings of what will be a new campus ministry plant on another university as God called 5 students to pioneer on their own campus after we shared at their church bout what God was doing at UCA! Why is this more exciting? Because these students who have been further empowered will lead even more students to Christ over the next years! What was equally amazing was how each and every one of our students grew in their own faith and boldness. Everyone has a story of how God used them and it was so amazing to see God go before us giving us favor in everything we put our hands to. I really believe the seeds that were sewn are going to see multifold growth in the Kingdom of God both in Chi Alpha Nicaragua and Chi Alpha San Diego State this year.
Keeping Up With the Kertsons
The girls took swim lessons for two weeks last month and did amazing. Peyton and Amber both learned the backstroke and Eden is finally putting her head underwater which will hopefully mean that she will start swimming soon.
Peyton did very well on her standardized testing. Between her performance during the year and her performance on the test she was chosen for the schools PACE (formerly GATE) program for advanced students.
Amber and Eden also started gymnastics classes on Saturdays. Amber was moved directly to the advanced class even though she’s never taken a class before. It’s a testament to her hard work ethic as she works on her handstands, walkovers and cartwheels every day for hours it seems.
Kendra fulfilled a dream of hers by serving on a jury for the first time. It was a four-day trial and it was everything she’d hoped for in fulfilling in her civic duty.
Pray for our students who went to Nicaragua to transition back into their rhythms well but also to keep the new fervor they have for serving God and to cast vision for more students to go on mission trips in the future.
We have our second annual Gay Pride Parade outreach this month in connection with Hope Restored Church and Hope Restored Ministries in Hillcrest, San Diego. We saw a lot of fruit last year and are praying for the same this year.
We have two more spots to fill in the two houses we run by next month, one in each house. Pray for these spots to be filled with the right people and on time.
The Making of a Leader A Ministry Update from the Kertsons
This past month we had our first ever leadership retreat. What an amazing time to reflect on everything God did in our first full year on campus! We started last year with three student leaders who had no idea what Chi Alpha was, had no training, but had huge hearts to serve and reach their campus as best as they could. Those student’s faithfulness and hard work have translated into 12 student leaders taking a weekend out of their time just before finals week to pray, worship, and receive both theological and practical training to help them become better leaders next year.
As we heard each one share about their excitements and fears, it brought to life everything God had done in each one of these students over the past year. One leader particularly sticks out. Max already had a lot of leadership potential when we met him in his first few weeks of school as a freshman. Max has a charismatic personality, has a lot of knowledge about the Bible and loves sharing his faith with others. Even when he wasn’t an official leader, he was a big part of a number of other students becoming a part of what God was doing at Chi Alpha. Max told me during our leadership retreat that before joining Chi Alpha he had always done Christianity on his own. Even in his evangelism he saw himself as a sign post pointing people toward God, but never stuck around long enough to see what came from his sharing his faith. He told me at our leadership retreat how much our community had meant to his growth this past year. He is excited to be a small group leader and invest in a group of guys week after week for a year and not just a moment. He’s eager to disciple people toward Jesus, not just point them in the right direction and go on to the next person. He’s even excited to lead a small group with a partner, something he always thought he’d do better at alone! Max has changed from a guy with a lot of head knowledge who shared Jesus because he it was what he was supposed to do to someone who genuinely loves others and wants to walk through life with them.
Keeping Up With the Kertsons
Eden finished her first year of preschool! Being our youngest, she has been ready from the time she was born to go to school like her sisters. I’m sure she’ll miss it over the summer, but we’ll have her and the girls busy with swim, gymnastics and other family and Chi Alpha trips.
Peyton was very stressed out about her first state testing. So we made her special brain food smoothies and she felt pretty confident once she was done.
Peyton’s Little Mermaid Jr. show was a huge success, she was the scariest Ursula tentacle out of all 8 of them and mastered the art of “heely” shoes for the show.
Our aunt Laurie has made a full recovery from the pneumonia she had in April and is going back to regular feedings instead of tube feedings. Thanks so much for your prayers.
We did our semester ending cookies and prayer for finals again and had a great response. We got to connect with almost all of our students one last time as well as pray for their peace and well-being during their finals. We even got to meet and pray with some of their friends and some random strangers who wanted prayer. A big part of campus ministry is just being there for students when they need someone to talk to or pray for them. (see the picture above)
We had our first two students graduate! It was great celebrating with them. Hope will actually be with us at least one more year as she pursues her teaching credential and Jeff will be coming on staff with us. He was our president this past year and will be working with us while he pursues his MDIV and looks toward possibly becoming a Navy Chaplain in the future. (see the pictures below)
We started our Summer Worship Project where we gather for worship each Monday nights and one of our student leaders shares a message God has put on their hearts. Pray for more lives to be changed and for our students to be strengthened.
We are finishing the process of chartering a Chi Alpha group on a local community college, Grossmont College. We found an advisor this last week, thanks so much for your prayers. Continue to pray for more students and for our vision process this summer to start our second Chi Alpha chapter!
All of our staff are traveling and raising their budgets to go full time in the Fall. Pray for their support and endurance.