My name is Drew Crisp and I work for an organization called Christ In Youth (CIY). I believe fully in the vision of our organization to build resources, events, and trips to help amplify the call of Christ in a students’ life to be a Kingdom worker. Why do I believe in this vision? Because I believe that each student who attends one of our events has been gifted by their Creator for a specific role in His Kingdom. I simply get the task and honor of standing before them laying out that challenge. The wild thing about this generation is that they aren’t “all talk” and will actually do something. We have experienced numerous students who have accepted this call to Kingdom work and who are doing great things in their communities.
More specifically my role at CIY is to build a program for preteen students (4th, 5th, 6th grades) that challenges and inspires them to be Kingdom workers. This program is called SuperStart! and we believe very passionately that preteen students have a role to play in the Kingdom of God right now … not just later in the future sometime, when they have all their adult teeth, when they don’t ask annoying questions and can drive … but right now!
1 Peter 4:10 says, “As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”
Could it be that our role as their spiritual leaders is to simply stand before them and ask the challenging questions: What gift have you received? And then follow that question with a guiding question discerning the use for that gift: How can you use that gift to serve the Kingdom of God? The following stories are of students who are using their gifts to serve God’s Kingdom.
Bear Hugs Project
When Jaida and Madison from Olathe, KS where 11 years old their classmate had to spend an extended time in the hospital. When the girls heard of this tragedy they began brainstorming ideas of how they could help their friend. As the girls threw out ideas, one really stuck out to them. This is when “Bear Hugs Project” was born. The girls decided their friend needed a stuffed animal bear to hold and to hug during her time in the hospital. After they resourced their friend they knew there were other children in her same situation. So they set out to help others in the hospital. Their mission is simple: They exist to give bears to children who are in the hospital, recently out of the hospital, and anyone who needs a loving reminder that someone is thinking of them by showing them the love of Jesus. They do this by reaching out to friends and family, encouraging them to help as they seek to provide a tangible expression of God’s comfort to those in need. These young Kingdom workers are bold and their efforts are helping others know they are loved and cared for. You can find out more about their ministry by visiting their website at bear-hug-6kdi.squarespace.com.
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Kendi Cows of Grace
Kendall started her own organization “Kendi’s Cows of Grace” to help feed third world countries. Kendi’s father, Jason, returned home from a conference and began dialoguing with his family about people in impoverished countries who do not have adequate nutrition. As a third grader Kendi knew that something needed to be done about it. She began researching on the Internet about sustainable farming and how exactly to help people in impoverished countries. It was out of this deep burden to do something that Kendi started the organization “Kendi’s Cows of Grace.” Her organization raises money to buy cows, goats, and chickens to help resource communities that she has built a partnership with through her church.
She has been to several churches to present her mission and to seek support. During the 2014-2015 SuperStart! tour Kendi’s story was highlighted and many students responded by wanting to join her mission to help those in impoverished communities.
Bundles of Hope
Bundles of Hope was created in 2012 by Mason and Mackenzie. Mackenzie was adopted at birth, and Mason was adopted from the foster care system Both children decided they wanted to do something to give back!
After contacting their local Children’s Division supervisor, they discovered that most children taken into care are not able to bring any of their own belongings with them. The duo decided they would find a way to make bundles of items that the children may need during their first night in foster care. After enlisting the help of friends, Abby and Mati, the organization Bundles of Hope was born!
During the first year, the bundles included pajamas, a stuffed animal, toothbrush and toothpaste tied together with a ribbon, and a personal note of hope. The organization was able to provide over 600 bundles to Jasper County Children’s Division in and around Joplin, MO.
Currently, the bundles include journals, blankets, toiletries, and any other new or gently used items that may be donated and placed with love in their very own backpack. To date, over 900 children have received hope through these bundles!
Mason and Mackenzie would encourage anyone who has a heart for those in the foster care system to reach out to them so they can share their heart and their story. Their website is: bundlesofhope12.org.
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