“Do Hard Things” was our theme on our Great Lakes Tour a few years ago. I don’t think I realized how deeply we plunged into that challenge n early a year ago with a new step for Shining Light. Our goal was to offer this unique experience to students from across the US who wanted to serve in the challenging places we visit. We seek to impact our audiences, but perhaps even more importantly, we want these dynamic students from all corners of the United States to apply new and deeper understandings of our world, God and themselves in their lives and communities in the future.
We recruited at 14 colleges in 8 states, and 2 conferences. We spoke to approximately 1,000 students in 40 classes, chapels, and department meetings. From this we assembled a team of 31 outstanding students from 15 colleges and universities. We also found some new leadership to assist in creating our production.
Our “cast & crew” for our upcoming tour includes theater and dance majors from Juilliard in New York City, a screen writing major from Los Angeles, a spoken word artist from south Chicago, a Christian rock band from Mississippi, and many other very talented, engaging students.
They are a very select group who has been willing to put aside the comforts of home and an opportunity to recharge their bank account over the summer to go to places where nobody wants to go to share Jesus. Many have their own powerful stories of overcoming difficulties or losses in their lives.
The first challenge was saying “yes” in spite of 3 weeks away from a summer job, the costs of travel to and from the tour, and responsibility to raise part of the costs on top of their regular college expenses. They are finding God provides a way, but they have to take the first, sometimes very big, step. One girl in California got creative and raised over $2,000 to cover her flights and SL contribution. A theater major from Florida hesitantly pursued participation in spite of great family financial difficulties. His church was so excited that he had found a way to use his performing arts skills for ministry, they offered to cover all his costs! We, too, were stretched last fall when we saw the high costs of doing this and the limited income we could receive from college students. We had to make a ‘big ask’ of long-time supporters and they have been steping up to make this possible with very generous contributions.
Our Impact Tour begins on June 7 with a week of preparation and team building at the University of New England in Biddeford, Maine. Our first full program is at Maine State Prison on Fathers Day followed by youth facilities throughout New England, 2 days at Rikers Island, and Shining Light’s first visit to the large women’s correctional facility in Philadelphia.
Your prayers are greatly appreciated as this group of 40+ people challenges themselves and each other to do some rather “hard things” to expand God’s Kingdom. Bringing all this talent and energy together, and effectively teaching in one week what we learned to do over 16 years is going to challenge every single person on our team.
We are also seeking some additional financial assistance to make this happen. If you would like to help these hard-working students bring real hope and encouragement to over 1,000 people in the facilities we will visit in June, contributions can be done online at http://shining-light.com/how-you-can-contribute/ or mailed to Shining Light Ministries 1600 N St Rte 934 Annville, PA 17003.
Thank you for your support!
In His Service,
P.S. On Saturday June 29 we will offer our final presentation at Glen Mills School at 6 pm. This presentation is open to the public. More information, including directions to Glen Mills, will be posted soon on our website.