Recent News

Xenos Volunteers Support Unique Program for Human Trafficking Victims

By Kathy Sherry, volunteer with Xenos' Freedom ministry

Freedom a la Cart is a local non-profit that provides supportive services to local survivors of human trafficking.  It strives to bring hope to survivors so they can build new lives of freedom and self-sufficiency. Freedom does this by running a catering company that gives women practical job skills and helps them develop a strong work ethic in an environment where they feel safe and experience restoration. We provide women the opportunity to heal, learn, and grow as they prepare for sustainable employment within the community. 

Freedom also partners with CATCH Court, a specialty court docket in Franklin County, where survivors of human trafficking have the opportunity to get treatment for addiction and trauma. Freedom a la Cart organizes lunches for CATCH Court, helps with monthly outings, graduation retreats, provides mentors, and provides support to the CATCH graduates through their butterfly program.

Several volunteers from Xenos have been working with Freedom for years, mentoring survivors, providing meals, and volunteering in the Freedom kitchen. We have also hosted the annual Halloween party at Building X for the past several years. It has been amazing in this ministry to see God glorified through the relationships we have the opportunity to build with these resilient women. I’ve had the privilege of praying with several women in Freedom a la Cart over the years to receive Christ and have brought many out to Xenos CTs.

There are always volunteer opportunities with Freedom, primarily working in the kitchen with the women and helping to provide transportation for survivors to events and meetings on occasion. You can read more about Freedom and these volunteer opportunities on its website: freedomalacart.org.

An immediate need we have is the unique opportunity for MEN to volunteer by helping our Freedom women move. Often the ladies need help moving out of treatment facilities and into their own apartments (often their first on their own!). These can come about rather quickly with limited advance notice so ideally we would love to assemble teams of men that could be mobilized through e-mail when needs arise. These moves typically take place on a Saturday morning and usually involve limited furniture pieces and boxed and bagged personal items. With several men most moves can be completed within 3 hours. 

If you are interested in volunteering and want more information feel free to email Kathy Sherry at ksherry592@gmail.com.
 

Thousands Enjoy the Xenos Community Festival

An estimated 2,500 people came to the Xenos Community Festival last Saturday, enjoying a day of music, food, games, and the warm welcome of Xenos hospitality.

Many Xenos regulars say it gave them a way to introduce friends and family to Xenos, and connect them with Xenos ministries and activities. Many in the college ministry brought their parents, and say they came away with encouragement about their involvement, with some even deciding to visit an adult Central Teaching.

A big thanks goes out to the people who made it possible--the over 350 volunteers who smoked meat, flipped burgers, hosted kids games, sold tickets, directed parking, and handled many other activities. 

Fun facts from the event:

  • Believe it or not, this was the first time we have put on this festival!
  • So many kids played the games that volunteers ran out of prizes and had to use candy instead.
  • The Gracehaven silent auction raised $276.
  • Visitors bought over 2,000 plates of food.
  • The people staffing the lemon shake-up stand served so many that they ran out of lemons--over 200 used--and had to send someone out to buy more. 

Watch a video of some highlights at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hF4nvz1d3q8

New Senior Leadership Office Space Opens

For years Xenos elders and senior sphere leaders have worked in separate locations, several without any office space. Now, after a few months of renovation at Main Campus, they have a central location in which to work and collaborate.

The new offices are in the former Office Auditorium space, which, earlier in the summer, was moved to the office building’s lower level (in the old Study Center space). Over the summer crews worked to create offices for senior leaders, as well as a conference room and small kitchen.

In keeping with Xenos’ policy of employees sharing office space, there’ll be 2-3 people in each office. This policy allows us to spend less on facilities and promotes time accountability. It also allows workers to benefit from relationships they develop working in the same space.

Two people pleased about the new offices are elders Josh Benadum and Bret McCallum, who have worked without an office for years. “Before this new space, I studied exclusively in coffee shops around town. It got kind of expensive, and distracting,” Josh says. “I tried to work at home, but with two small children that wasn't working either.”

Invite Friends, Neighbors, and Co-Workers to Community Fest

The Xenos Community Festival is set for September 28th, a fun event to welcome guests to Xenos' Main Campus. There will be plenty of activities for all ages and interests, so make sure you invite people you know.

One of the main reasons Xenos is holding the event is to bring together people from the community to enjoy time together--both strangers and friends. This sense of community--a gift from God--is something we enjoy at Xenos, and this is a great way to share it with a world lacking in ways to connect.

The festival also gives the community around Xenos the chance to learn more about some of the great ways folks in Xenos are serving Central Ohio.

Do you know a family with kids? There'll be carnival games, a bounce house, cotton candy, and other fun activities, all at an affordable price. For adults, there'll be a craft beer truck, artisan items for sale, and booths with folks from different community groups.

And for everyone--live music and great food, including quality smoked meat.

You can find cards with information about the event to make it easy to share an invite with people you know. Pick them up at Central Teaching. You can also connect friends to the festival's Facebook event page.

Impressions from Cambodia Short-Term Missions Trip

Recently a team of 30 Xenos members traveled to Cambodia to serve in the provinces of Phnom Penh and Kampong Cham. One of them was Liz Kifer, and she gives us her reflections on the 2 week trip:

By Liz Kifer

Many of us went into the trip thinking of ourselves as the teacher, but quickly we became the student. Before our work week started, we immersed ourselves in understanding the culture and history of Cambodia. We spent a few days visiting beautiful temples in Siem Reap and ate wonderful local dishes. After taking a few days to adjust to the time-zone and learn about the country, we met up with our Cambodian teammates that we would serve alongside during our work. We received an abundance of God's love from our brothers and sisters in Christ at Fountain of Hope (FOH), Mercy Medical Center (MMC) and Friendship Ministries, all Xenos Global Partners. Our eyes and hearts were opened to see the amazing work God is doing in these three ministries and beyond.

Our team had the privilege of directly interacting with FOH and Friendship Ministries by running VBS for the students, equipping indigenous leaders, and hosting medical clinics in the rural villages. During the trip, there were many laughs and conversations about God’s love among our team members and with the locals. All hands were on deck and many prayers were answered.

Just a few (of many) answered prayers:

Over 1300 Kids Take Part in Xenos Summer Camps

Great summer fun. Stronger friendships. A deeper commitment to spiritual growth. The start of a relationship with God.

These are all the wonderful results of Xenos’ camps this summer. The camps hosted well over a thousand kids—from pre-schoolers to high school seniors—at various camps.

For the youngest kids, VBS—Vacation Bible School—brought God’s love alive through music, skits, activities, sports, and teachings. Over 350 kids took part, with a couple hundred volunteers hosting them through the week. Claire Howard with VBS says the week went smoothly, and she says 5 kids said they invited Christ into their hearts. She also says most of the kids memorized the Bible verses that were featured through the week!

Older elementary-aged kids enjoyed TNT Camp, which is built around a missions focus each year. This year they featured the realities of life in Haiti. Over 70 kids took part, and 3 kids said they prayed to ask Jesus into their hearts. Camp Director Amy Cooksey says kids were very excited about memorizing Scripture, with some memorizing 20-30 verses during the week.

Meet Workers from Southeast Asia

From time to time, we feature profiles of Xenos elders, sphere leaders, and missionaries. Today we hear from R & J, working in Southeast Asia. Note: for privacy purposes, we are not including their names and location.

How did you become a Christian?
R: I came to Christ at Blowout Camp as a 6th grader in 1993. I had gone to church some as a young child but never understood the gospel until it was explained at a teaching at camp that year. It was the first time I understood that Christ had to die for my sin, and that personally trusting him was the basis of a relationship with God.
J: I was raised in a Christian family and came to faith at a young age. I got serious about my walk in high school when a teacher started a guys’ Bible study at my school. When I moved to Columbus and ended up in a ministry house my relationship with God became my own in a new and real way.

How did you become a worker in the missions field? Was it something you always planned on doing?

It was something we both became interested in as teenagers before meeting each other. We both talked about our interest in serving cross-culturally while we were dating and considered it as a real possibility early on in marriage. But we always wanted to remain open to whatever God had for us, overseas or in Columbus. When the call first went out to send more workers to Southeast Asia, we hesitated at first because of our other ministry responsibilities (we were leading in the College & High School Groups, and R was serving as a sphere leader and elder). But it was really through prayer, and the Body of Christ, that God revealed that He was opening this door for us.

Xenos Grief Ministry Offers Loss of Spouse Workshop

By John Montgomery, Xenos Grief Ministry Coordinator

On Sunday, August 18th, the Xenos Grief Ministry will offer a workshop called GriefShare: Loss of a Spouse. It will be from 1:30-3:30 pm in the newly completed Xenos Office Auditorium (1340 Community Park Dr., 43229). 

When your spouse dies, your world changes. One minute you are married; the next you are single, alone, and grieving. The person who would normally help you through difficult times is no longer there for support.

You may feel numb, brokenhearted, confused, or anxious. You may feel guilty for being the one who is still alive or relieved that your spouse is no longer suffering if a long-term illness was involved. You might even feel angry at your spouse for leaving you, disappointed in God for not preventing the death, and/or resentful toward the doctors who provided treatment to your spouse. You may cry a lot or a little or not at all. Dealing with the intense emotions, the significant life changes, and the many practical considerations that accompany the death of a spouse, can make you feel overwhelmed and uncertain about your future.

Find help at a Loss of a Spouse Workshop

The Loss of Spouse workshop is designed to help grieving spouses receive comfort, encouragement, and practical teaching on dealing with their tremendous loss. It presents a Biblical perspective on grief, suffering, and trust in God. The workshop features practical suggestions and reassurance through video interviews with counselors, grief experts, and others who have experienced the unique pain of losing a spouse. Topics discussed include: what to expect in the weeks and months after a death, what to do with surprising emotions, how to handle changing relationships, how to handle the loneliness, what to do with your spouse’s belongings, and how to find the strength to go on.

A Big Thank You to Hundreds of Clean-Up Volunteers

Nearly 900 volunteers joined in on the effort last Sunday to clean up trash and bulk items from the Ohio State campus area. They gathered at Central Teaching locations to get supplies and get organized, then spread out across campus streets and alleys. They swept up glass, filled trash bags, and loaded dumpsters with larger items.

While most volunteers were picking up trash, others were serving in Oasis rooms, taking care of young children so their parents could participate. And others distributed water, helped dispatch teams to different locations, and worked security.

Laura Bolain participated with her home group and says it was a fun morning. She says some of the team focused on small items while the others worked to clear space in front of a dumpster so it could be emptied. She said when they all met up later, they agreed it was gratifying to see they made a visible difference for the better.

Many parents brought their older kids along, saying it was great to have an opportunity to serve together as a family, along with their friends. Kristin Ratliff and her kids volunteered. She says, "Serving with my friends and seeing my kids get into the whole thing really made it a great time."

This time of year students are moving out of rental housing from the previous school year, and leave behind a large amount of trash, furniture, and other belongings. This event was timed to help take care of that debris.

Learn More about Xenos' Partnership in Côte d'Ivoire

For the last few years Xenos has been part of an exciting movement of God in Côte d'Ivoire in Africa. Our global partners from that country will be visiting Columbus next month, and you'll have a chance to meet them, hear their story, and support them financially.

There'll be a fund-raiser for them August 7th from 7:00-8:30 pm at the Main Campus Cafe (1394 Community Park Dr., 43229). It's a unique opportunity to hear first hand about the amazing ways God has been working in that country.

There'll be dinner and drinks, followed by a presentation by Victor, with whom Xenos works. This effort has reached over 6,000 people, extending beyond Côte d'Ivoire's borders. Come hear more!

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