Three Students Make Surprise Visit during CHIC Service

Post a Comment » Written on July 16th, 2009     
Filed under: News
KNOXVILLE, TN (July 16, 2009) – Three Covenant teenagers who surveyed mission projects in Thailand and sent two live reports via satellite to the evening worship services at CHIC2009 made a surprise appearance at the event Wednesday evening.

The crowd cheered when Judy Peterson, North Park University campus pastor, told the gathering that although talking via satellite was a great thing, being able to hear from the students – Rachel Lindsay, MJ Pacheco, and Kerrick Stevens – was a lot better.

Thai kidsThe students and Pastor Cue of Newsong Covenant Church in Los Angeles, California, who accompanied them on the trip, then walked onto the stage in the Thompson-Boling Arena. The group sat on stools at center stage as they answered questions from Peterson.

They shared how the special offering to be taken Thursday night would help the Thai people. The trio had visited a broad range of ministries and emphasized that the offering would not be a handout.

“This type of offering is really going to sustain the people there,” said Pacheco, who attends Sanctuary Covenant Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. “I’m kind of concerned that because you’re not seeing pictures of starving children and things like that on the screen, you think the need is not urgent in these places, and the truth is that it really is.”

She added, “When you give to these people, it’s not just a thing you will end up needing to do every single week. It really is going to jumpstart their communities and get them on track for their entire lives.”

Stevens, who attends Community Covenant Church in Peabody, Massachusetts, said he was most impacted by the ministry at Abundant Life Center (ALC), a holistic ministry in Bangkok. It seeks to help people find jobs and develop life skills for people who have migrated to the city from the countryside.

For the past several years, the ministry has helped women through its ALC Crafts project. Women use local Thai fabrics to sew small bags and purses that are then sold internationally. They made 500 custom messenger bags that the students at CHIC could purchase.

During Monday night’s satellite feed, the gathering in the arena were able to see the women at work and hear from one of them about the impact the ministry had on her life.

Covenant missionary Karen Groot, who leads the ministry, said during Monday night’s video feed that “Our hope at Abundant Life Center is people will find a new dream for their life.”

Stevens encouraged the gathering to help make that dream a reality and noted that the women at ALC had done all they could to extend kindness to their American visitors.

“I’ve seen people in poverty give everything they can to make sure we were happy,” he said. “We should give everything we have to make sure they’re happy. We have it so much better than they do. They love us, we should love them back.”

Lindsay, who attends Grace Covenant Church in Clay, New York, emphasized the similarities between the people in Thailand and those in the arena despite the world of differences in the cultures.

“Deep down in the core – in the core of who we are – we are so similar, and we have the same struggles. We both go through brokenness, and we both go through hurting. In the same sense, we both go through healing too. And we both go through the building up through Jesus Christ.”

Cue also emphasized similarities, saying that watching the single mothers try to raise children, earn an income or go to school, reminded him of his own experiences growing up. He added that it would be overwhelming if every church in America would commit themselves to truly helping people through word and deed.

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