Operation Barnabas 2019
Dear Family and Friends,
This past summer I once again traveled to Marion, Indiana for the national youth conference I attend every year - Momentum. I met a lot of awesome people, including the City Life team I never got to work with. After all was said and done, I did not attend City Life in California last summer due to a need to go to Indiana University of Pennsylvania. I got an awesome opportunity to be one of the drum majors of my high school band and I felt as though, when having to choose between a ministry trip with a lot of strong Christians or having the chance to create a more Christian environment for the band, God was calling me to lead the band. Back to Momentum 2018, I was able to talk my City Life team and Operation Barnabas staff. After having many conversations about the trips, I decided once again to apply. So, a few weeks after I got home from my trip to Momentum, I applied to Operation Barnabas. To my surprise, during the second week of December, I got my acceptance letter.
But what is Operation Barnabas?
Operation Barnabas is a three-week ministry trip in which students go on to grow in their relationship with God, grow in their relationships with others, and learn how to share the gospel to anyone anywhere. It is all made possible through an even bigger organization called CE National.
CE National is a Christian company who has a long history of organizing different trips and events for high-school aged students to attend. (If you want to learn more about CE National, you can visit their website at https://www.cenational.org). These different events teach students like me how to live “on mission.”
CE National sponsors some of the other church orientated trips I have attended, including Momentum and Urban Hope. I have attended both of these trips for three years and they have impacted me greatly. The summer of 2016, I attended Momentum for the first time. Even though registration opened in February of 2016, I registered for Momentum just days before we went to Cedarville University, in Ohio, to attend this one-week youth conference. This trip opened my eyes, it showed me there is more to being a Christian than just reading your bible, prayer, and going to church. While I was at Momentum, I started to find a love for being able to reach other people with my testimony. As Momentum was coming to an end, we watched a video about a weekend ministry trip in Philadelphia. This led me to my first time experiencing Urban Hope. In March of 2017, Liberty Grace and a few other churches got the opportunity to go to the Urban Hope Training Center. My first time down there was eye-opening, just like my first experience with Momentum. I got to go down to an atmosphere I had never been in before. Despite how unappealing the city looked on the surface, I loved it there. I loved the trash, the sirens, everything, but most importantly, the people. Our first night down there we did homeless ministry, saying I was nervous is an understatement. We went to an area with a lot of drugs and crime, I was scared. However, as soon as we got there, a wave of peace washed over my body. I knew I was meant to be there and reach someone. At first, I was not sure how to reach out to people on my own. Surprisingly, by the end of the night, I was able to talk to and pray for a homeless man named Dave. The next day, we walked around North Philadelphia and talked to the people in the community. This trip overall helped me become more open about talking about my faith. As months passed, my identity as a Christian and what it meant became clearer. Then, Momentum rolled around again. It was a blast! We got to do some work in a men’s shelter and help organize a thrift store. The night before we left we heard from Jason, the man who started Urban Hope and still runs a big portion of the organization. It was on this night that I made the commitment to pursue ministry in some form. After this trip, it was clear to me who was going to be there for me in my Christian walk. Liberty Grace has had a huge impact on my new life as a child of God. Less than a month after Momentum, I was baptized into the Grace Brethren faith through Liberty. Since Momentum, at times, it was hard at times to have the passion to confess my faith - this is due to bullying, being outcasted, etc. I went to Urban Hope again in March of 2018. This trip helped me remember why I loved being honest and opening up to people about my faith. The joy and the hope in the eyes of people who do not have the best circumstances showed me this. As for Momentum last year, it was amazing. At Momentum, I publicly announced for the second time that I will pursue full time ministry. Even just as a teenager in high school, I want to pursue ministry now. So, that brings me to today and when I have written you this letter.
As I stated above, I recently got some amazing news from CE National. I received word that I have been accepted on one of the Operation Barnabas teams. The purpose of Operation Barnabas is to help assist students like me to live a life that is “on mission” for God. While I am there I will receive training on how to minister to people, I will have many opportunities to learn, and then put the principles into practice by serving others. I will also be at Operation Barnabas with people all over the country, so it will help me learn how to grow in my faith deeper with other Christians my age, despite how long we’ve known each other. By the end of Operation Barnabas, I hope to better understand the truth of God’s Word, think of the needs of others above my own, and know my ability and responsibility as a follower of such a gracious God. However, I am facing one struggle in hopes of being able to get to Operation Barnabas this summer.
Each team member is responsible to raise their own support for training, food, transportation on tour, equipment, and other related expenses. The total finances due to CE National are $2325. In addition, I would like to raise about $3000 overall. As of now, I do not know if I am on West Coast or East coast team, but I will need money for transportation. If I get placed on the West Coast team the extra money will cover a plane ticket to California and then a plane ticket from California to Indiana for Momentum. If I get accepted to East Coast then the extra money I raise will be put towards transportation to where the tour starts. If I exceed the cost for the trip and transportation then I will use any extra money to help pay for Momentum. After that, any leftover money can get reimbursed. Any donation, big or small, would greatly be appreciated. Prayers are also appreciated too.
It would be awesome if any amount God puts on your heart to help me finance my trip be sent directly to CE National. CE National’s address is PO Box 365, Winona Lake, IN 46590. All checks sent should be made out to CE National. Also, please include my name along with the donation. This is so they know who it is for. Finally, if you would like to give via a credit card online, you can do so at https://OperationBarnabas.Net by clicking on the donate tab and then support an OB student. (All gifts sent to CE National are tax receipted).
As I close, I would like to ask you to pray for me as I prepare for this ministry trip, that God will challenge me and use me to minister to others. Thank you so much for your help, your interest, and that you are apart of my walk with such an awesome God.