Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Impact the World - Israel 2014

Almost a year ago I traveled with some Impact Campus Ministries staff and students on one of our Impact the World initiatives to help students engage in the call to discipleship through a cross-cultural experience.

Last year I participated in the Kenya experience, and as you may know I was planning on returning this May, co-leading the same trip. Due to some circumstances beyond our control, the mission organization that hosts our group is unable to do so this year. Much to our disappointment this forced us to cancel the trip. However, Kenya is not the only Impact the World trip, and I want to take advantage of the opportunities I have to help challenge students to answer the call of discipleship. This July I will be joining the greater Impact family in another Impact the World initiative to Israel and Turkey.

Marty Solomon, an Associate Campus Minister at Washington State University and University of Idaho, is leading this trip that will focus on the journey of God’s people through the Bible. This is not a sightseeing trip, but rather a very intense study trip with the opportunity to dive into the Text with students in the culture and context that it was written. Just like the Kenya trip, it provides opportunities for mentoring and discipleship beyond the trip itself and challenges everyone in their relationship with Jesus Christ.

In order to be a part of this incredible initiative, I need to raise approximately $5,795 to cover all costs and materials during our time there (July 11-31). I would love to have you partner with me as I continue to Impact the U. Impact the World.

If you would like to donate to this project, you may do so by mailing your check to:
Impact Campus Ministries (indicate “Sarah Koutz’s BEMA Trip”)
PO Box 82925
Tampa, FL  33682
You may also give online HERE.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Cali Bound - Day 7

As you read in my last blog, we made plans to meet Jennifer this morning and stop by Sweet Cakes to buy some treats for the road. We wanted to help them get some more business because their treats are delicious, so we made this video to post all over social media.

Their treats were great fuel for our trip and we needed it because we decided to stop at Zion National Park to do some hiking before our last stop before Thousand Oaks. The hike was exactly what we needed to be out of the car and in God's creation just listening to Him and being with Him in preparation for our arrival in TO. Here are a few shots from the trip. There will probably be more on Facebook later.

These 3 peaks are called The Patriarchs - Abraham, Isaac and Jacob
I love climbing rocks!
Panorama Fun! Click on it to make it larger.

We arrived in Las Vegas tonight to stay with Gessica's aunt and uncle. We've shared lots of laughs to night. We'll have a leisurely morning here and then head on to Thousand Oaks. We're almost there.

Cali Bound - Day 6

Day 5 ended by arriving in Salt Lake City, Utah to stay with our Impact U staff. I decided planning a rest day in the middle of the trip would probably be a good idea and SLC seemed like a great place to do it. Here is a look at some of our adventures.
Brett gave us a tour of campus.
We got to help out with some "tabling" on campus.
After lunch Tommy took us to the Mormon Temple and taught us a little bit more about what it is like to reach out to a campus and community that heavily influenced by the Mormons. It was a powerful time connecting with the heart of Impact U's ministry and the very eye opening to the culture in SLC. As we debriefed the experience, Tommy surprised us and took us to Sweet Cakes, a completely gluten-free bakery. It was amazing!

We spent the evening hanging out at Tommy and Jennifer's house eating an amazing gluten-free feast and sharing lots of laughs. Tommy managed to capture one of my crazy story telling moments.
Of course I brought gifts for Tommy and Brett so they could drink their coffee from a proper mug.
This morning we'll head over to Tommy and Jennifer's again to make a trip to Sweet Cakes to buy some snacks for the road.

It was so encouraging to spend time on campus with our staff and see up close the work they are doing. It was fun to spend time praying with them about the new adventures in Cali and learn from their team leader about going into a new place and planting a campus ministry. I absolutely love our Impact staff and the Impact U team is doing incredible things!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Cali Bound - Day 5

Today we took a little trip off our path to meet a friend, Tyler, from the South Bend area who recently moved to Ft. Collins, CO. It was great to catch up with Tyler and see a little bit of the area. Bakeries with gluten-free cupcakes and the coolest coffee shops.

We also decided to check out the Colorado State University. It was a beautiful campus and we met a very cool lady in the bookstore.  And the rest of the day was spent in the car trying to convince Little Gray Car it could make it up the huge Utah mountains.

Cali Bound - Day 4

Today was a long day so it will be a short post. Our 9 1/2 hour trip became 16 hours due to some unplanned trips to pray on three different campus. We stopped at the University of Missouri, the University of Kansas and the university of Nebraska. We were also able to meet some campus ministry staff at Mizzou and KU, which was really cool. It was a fun adventure.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Cali Bound - Day 2-3

It was a great weekend. We spent Saturday with my sister, Anna, shopping and visiting the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. I may hate shopping but I love spending time with my sister.
On Sunday afternoon we drove to Columbia, MO to visit my aunt and uncle. We even got to spend some time with my cousin and her kids.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Cali Bound - Day 1

Gessica and I in front of the old 5824!
It has certainly been a long day. Packing was pretty stressful trying to get the few things I still own to fit in Little Gray Car. Fortunately, my parents came to help with the moving out craziness.
We all had lunch together and then Gess and I were on the road west. The first leg of the drive was to Quincy, IL to spend the weekend with my sister, Anna Lee. We arrived safely but not without some fun along the way. There are a few things we are trying to do in every state to add some excitement to hours of driving.
  1. Take a picture of the state sign.
  2. Take a picture of something that represents the state's nickname.
  3. Meet someone new.
Our time in Indiana was very limited and we were wondering how we could find something to represent the Hoosier state in such limited time. We stopped for a cup of coffee a little disappointed with the situation. I grabbed my cup of coffee and simply asked God to help us find something. (Silly I know, but I did it.) Literally as I was praying a man walked in with a Hoosiers shirt. Gess and I started laughing out loud. I'm sure the man thought we were crazy. Gess briefly told him the story and asked if we could take a picture with him. He loved the idea and said, "Sure. My shirt will make history!" We made a new friend and got a picture of something about Indiana.
Meet our new friend, Thomas!
I'm hoping to blog each night on this trip and share some of our stories with you. In the mean time, you can follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Use the hashtag #caliskoutz to send us messages, ask questions or give us a picture challenge.

Thank you for all of your prayers on this great adventure.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

California or Bust

The time is finally here and tomorrow starts the big road trip. My roommate, Gessica, will be traveling across the country with me. We are planning to visit family, friends, supporters, potential supporters, and fellow Impact staff along the way. Here is our itinerary; we would appreciate your prayers during our adventure.
  • August 23rd - 24th: Quincy, IL
  • August 25th: Columbia, MO
  • August 26th: Sidney, NE
  • August 27th- 28th: Salt Lake City, UT with stops in Ft. Collins, CO and Rawlins, WY
  • August 29th: Las Vegas, NV
  • August 30th: New home in Thousand Oaks, CA
Gessica and our Impact students have created a hashtag (#caliskoutz) for those of you who are on Facebook or Twitter.  You can follow this hashtag to get updates on our adventures or send us messages along the way.  

Many thanks to all of you who have been praying, sending words of encouragements, given special financial gifts and cooked wonderful meals for me this last week. I am incredibly grateful to be partnering with you to Impact the U. Impact the World.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

FAQ about California

I've heard a handful of questions several times so I thought I would share some Frequently Asked Questions and their answers with you. Impact's Development Team released this letter that may answer some questions as well.

Q: Why California?
A: A majority of America's college students are in the states of California, Texas, Florida and New York. Impact currently has a presence in Florida and New York and has been praying about expanding into California and Texas. We believe God has answered these prayers in huge ways by bringing us this opportunity to partner with the Christian Church in Thousand Oaks (CCTO).

Q: Why California Lutheran University (CLU)?
A: CCTO is located a few blocks from CLU and has a huge heart for reaching college students. CLU has a large population of international students, which is exciting as we think about our vision. (Impact the U. Impact the World.) As we've discovered from our ministry in South Bend, even at private Christian colleges there are many students who have not experienced the love of Christ.

Q: When are you leaving? When do you start in the new position?
A: If all goes as planned, I'll be leaving South Bend, IN on August 23rd and arriving in Thousand Oak, CA on August 30th. The new position officially starts on September 1st, but I've already started preparing and training for it.

Q: What about South Bend? Will ministry continue at St. Mary's?
A: Absolutely ministry will continue at St. Mary's! The student leader team we put together for the 2013-2014 school year is incredible and we are already planning for the fall. Tom Neyhart, a fellow Associate Campus Minister on our South Bend team, recently finished his support raising and will be joining the team full-time. The team has hired an intern who is raising support to be on campus this fall and talking with an individual who is considering an official volunteer position. The staff is committed to sharing Christ with the St. Mary's campus.

Q: Do you have to raise more support?

A: Yes! The cost of living in California is very different than South Bend and additional funds will need to be raised both for personal and ministry budgets.

Q: Can I see you again before you leave?
A: I hope so! The South Bend team is planning a party on August 16th at 6:30 PM at the campus house. (850 Lincolnway East, Mishawaka, IN 46544) It would be great to have you join us then. Please RSVP HERE or e-mail Lowell Kosak at lowell.kosak@impacttheu.com.

Q: This is exciting! How can I be a part of it?
A: Thank you for your willingness to join the journey. Here are some ways you can get involved.
  • Pray! Change always comes with challenges. Here are some specific ways you can pray.
    • Pray for the transition to California, saying goodbye well, the moving details, and an openness to the Spirit in the process.
    • Pray for housing in Thousand Oaks. 
    • Pray for the additional support needed. 
    • Pray for my car to survive the long drive. There are a few minor repairs that may need to be tended to before I leave if funds become available. 
    • Pray for the following trips I have scheduled.
      • July 17-21: Support raising in the Detroit and Lansing, MI area. 
      • July 26-28: Family trip to Indianapolis, IN
      • August 23-30: MOVING WEEK stopping to visit with supporters and potential supporters along the way.
  • Donate items for the "Sarah is Moving" yard sale on August 2 & 3. All the money from this sale will go towards moving and launching the new ministry. If you have items you would like to donate, contact Lowell Kosak at 574-245-0142 or lowell.kosak@impacttheu.com.
  • Become a financial partner by giving a monthly gift of any amount. You can give online HERE.
  • Give a special one-time gift towards the start up costs of the ministry. You can give your special gift HERE and invite friends to do the same. 
If you have a question that isn't so frequent and would like to ask, please do not hesitate to contact me at sarah.koutz@impacttheu.com