Friday, July 14, 2006

Update on the Epic Project

I just received the following e-mail from Grace Yao & Adam Go, the directors of the Epic summer project in Hawaii. In case you are not aware, Epic is our ministry for Asian American college students. It seems that God is doing some great things in the hearts of students on the project this summer. Read on...

"The word ohana in Hawaiian means family in an extended sense. It emphasizes that family and friends are bound together and members must cooperate and remember one another. This past Sunday during our project “ohana” time, we experienced a true ohana when God show up and took the relationships on our project to a deeper level.

It began when we were asked to sit down in a large circle and share an emotion that we had been feeling during the week. Words such as lonely, isolated, homesick, awed & challenged were uttered from students’ mouths. Then one of the youngest female students on the project got up to share but began nervously laughing, giggling, curling up in the chair behind her, hiding her face in her hands. She was encouraged to speak, but it took what seemed like the longest time for her to express that what she had been feeling was inadequacy. Swallowed up by her emotions, she began to cry and other students came around her giving her hugs
and tissues.

This opened things up so that one of the next girls who shared, mentioned that she was hurt because she had gotten wind of other project students gossiping about her. She said she viewed us as an “ohana”, but yet she felt betrayed and backstabbed. What happened next was not only powerful but also truly beautiful. Time was opened up for anyone to share if they had a part in this, so one male student confessed that though he may not have deliberately taken part of the gossiping, he knew it was going on and hadn’t come to the girl’s defense. He asked for forgiveness for not protecting her as a brother and also not edifying her with his words.

Another student asked for forgiveness of this girl and another guy for talking about the both of them behind their backs and being part of this offense. We bowed our heads to pray and the male student who was offended got up and walked across the room to other student and gave him a huge hug that may have lasted 5 minutes straight. They both wept and something in the air broke. Students and staff were so moved that after we prayed everyone was hugging, crying, and putting their arms around one another for a long time. As one student commented later that night, God did something to open things up in the ohana and softened our hardened hearts. Coming from Asian families where many don’t experience environments of open communication and affirmation, we praise God for leading in His spirit to show us what true forgiveness and grace looks like in a community of believers!

As we step into the week where students are taking over staff roles, Adam and I are confident that when staff leave next Tuesday, these students will really take what we’ve started here to the next level. We had a huge celebration on Monday as we praised God for all that He’s been doing here through the project and then simulated a basketball lineup with music pumping and announced leadership roles for every student as they ran through the tunnel of people who were hi-fivin’ and cheering them on! The room was totally electric!

Our student Project Directors team consists of two guys (Sam Park from UC Davis and Jacob Kim from George Mason) and one girl (Amanda Sham from Penn State). It is especially exciting to see two Asian American guys lead as passivity amongst AA men has been so much a hindrance in times past. Please pray for this triad as they begin to move into leading this project. They are nervous and anxious but also challenged and excited for what is to come. Pray that they may be unified in one spirit and in one mind and heart. Please also pray that the transition of leadership roles for our 26 students will go smoothly.

In addition to the “student takeover” (as we’re calling it), students are launching local movements on campuses this week and continuing to lead people to Christ...daily. Epic students are bold, faithful, and connecting with many Hawaiian locals as they launch movements across the island. Thank you friends, for your support and encouragement as the sleeping giant continues to awaken!"

Press on in prayers,
Grace Yao & Adam Go

What is happening on the Epic project demonstrates what it can look like when Christian students walk in humility, live in community and trust God to reach others through them. It's so exciting to think of how God can use young people when they simply trust Him and walk by faith! Campus Crusade has students all over the world right now on summer projects just like the one in Hawaii. Please take a moment to pray for these students right now that God would produce personal growth in them and fruitfulness in their ministries.

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