A group of leaders from Xenos is just back from a trip to the African nation of Côte d'Ivoire, and, despite difficulties and persecution, reports continued growth among a network of house churches there.
Xenos elders Scott Risley and Jim Leffel, along with Linda Leffel and Mike Woods, spent 7 days there, training and encouraging 50 people who are working as church planters. They returned with amazing stories of God reaching into the heart of this country that for years has seen intermittent civil war, government instability, and ethnic tensions.
The team reports there are now over 700 home churches spread across the country. And God continues to open the hearts of influential village chiefs. The Xenos team reports “Chiefs continue to turn and follow the Most High God, which opens the door to many in their villages to come to know Christ.”
Here is more from the team’s report:
In many areas where home churches are growing; there is some kind of instability, poverty, or persecution. Believers may face being ostracized or persecuted by their village communities, where most people are animists or Muslim. Looking around at the church planting leaders we met with, our team was really humbled by their stories of faith under fire during the most recent civil war, trying to maintain their ministry as wanted men. These believers are courageous, committed, and completely unwavering and the work of God is prospering under trials.
Meet the challenge posed by internet dangers with help from the Franklin County Sheriff's Office ICAC Task Force. Detectives will present an internet safety program at Xenos on June 20th from 7:00-9:00 pm. It's open to anyone, but could be particularly helpful for parents and those who work with young people in their ministry.
During this presentation, you'll get the opportunity to hear some task force undercover detectives speak about recently sentenced cases they've investigated. They'll cover internet safety, sexting, and the dangers presented by online predators and social media. They'll also discuss how to report situations that concern you, and how to preserve evidence if you suspect your child has been exploited online. And they''ll help you know how to prevent your child from communicating with predators in the first place.
You can help make this summer special for local kids in low-income neighborhoods by volunteering to help with the upcoming Renegade camps. There's a music camp that runs the week of June 11th and a sports/arts camp that runs June 25th.
Jenna Herron is organizing volunteers and says there are a lot of different volunteer positions, so you can find a role that is right for you. They need people to lead groups, teach different skills, and--what she says is their biggest need--drive kids to and from camp.
Both camps feature Bible study, breakfast and lunch, and a chance to build friendships with their peers and with the mentors with their group. The music camp offers group singing and the chance to try different instruments, and the sports-arts camp offers the chance to learn sports skills and work on art projects.
You can get more information at this link and can email your questions to Jenna at email@example.com.
Each year Xenos Schools host the Spring Fling, a fun run that raises money for the Humanitarian Aid Fund. This year the run raised $1150 for the fund, with 107 kids and adults participating.
The organizers want to send out a thank you to organizations that donated prizes for the top runners and team leaders. Those included CAPA, which donated tickets to CATCO and the Ohio Theater Summer Movie Series, and Vertical Adventures, which donated free rock climbing day passes.
On May 20th, folks at the 4th Street Central Teaching will be able to enjoy meat from Xenos' new smoker. There'll be smoked meat for sale after CT, so plan on lunch and time with your friends.
The new smoker can cook meat for hundreds of people at a time, and debuted at Main Campus last week. The meat got rave reviews there--see for yourself on the 20th!
With the summer coming up, the Xenos Softball League is forming, and it's time for you to get your team registered. The games are on Sundays (most at 12:30 pm) in Worthington, and teams need 10 people for a game (and must include at least 2 women).
Organizer Mike Sanda says it's a fun way to bring your home church closer and make newer members feel more a part of things, as you spend time together each week at games. And he says it's great for guests, giving them a welcoming environment to spend time with people in your group.
And he says all skill levels are welcome--that the league's focus is on people enjoying time together.
The cost is $250 per team and the deadline to register is Sunday, May 27th. If you have questions or you'd like to register your group contact Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sign up to volunteer at the Xenos Summer Institute and we will register you to attend the entire conference for free!
The XSI volunteer recruitment season starts this weekend, May 13th. It takes over 400 volunteers to fill hundreds of shifts and we need your help make this conference run like a well-oiled machine. Ellin Granger has been a walk-in registration volunteer for 15 years and says it’s pleasant work. “I enjoy meeting the visitors and have stayed in touch with some of the out of town people for several years.”
It’s easy to volunteer. Simply go to the Summer Institute section of the Xenos website, click on the “volunteer” button, find a role you like, and sign up. You will also see which home church spheres will be at each satellite location to help you decide when and where you want to volunteer.
Volunteer Joel Knapke oversees the workshop teaching assistants. He says he does it “because there’s an awesome sense of satisfaction that comes from doing the work that makes XSI happen and keeps it inexpensive to attend. Being able to support an affordable, major equipping event for our church and other churches is quite rewarding.” Join Joel, Ellin, and many other volunteers to make this an amazing event.
The Xenos Summer Institute is July 11-13, and this year’s theme is The God Who Is There with key speakers J. Warner Wallace and Sean McDowell. There will be a variety of breakout sessions offering a wide range of appealing topics.
Gracehaven is giving you the chance to put on safety gear and rappel down one of the tallest buildings in Columbus. It’s the Over the Edge event at Chase Tower in downtown Columbus, raising money to help end child sex trafficking in Central Ohio.
Each year the event gets a lot of attention, which organizer Teri Alexander says is part of the point of doing something so dramatic. “We chose this event because of its uniqueness and also because it gives us an extraordinary opportunity to bring awareness to the evil of child sex trafficking in our community.”
People who want to participate must raise at least $1250, but because of generous corporate sponsorship, all money raised goes to Gracehaven’s work. While it may sound like a lot, Teri says you’ll get a lot of ideas and support to help you make it happen.
And Teri says people who’ve taken part in the past have been so glad they did. “Our rappellers have shared with us that it has been an amazing experience for them, both from the physical experience of rappelling off a skyscraper downtown to learning more about child sex-trafficking and being able to make a difference in the lives of these victims.”
Alli Krivanek has done it the last two years will be back again this year. “I absolutely love it. The event overall is super exciting and it’s so neat to see so many people coming together and working together for this cause.”
Alli says she had never rappelled before her first Over the Edge but didn’t find herself full of fear. “As I stepped on the top of the building peering over the edge I definitely got an adrenaline rush. Rappelling down the side of the building is actually a lot harder work than you would think. But the view coming down the building is incredible and leaves you speechless.”
With summer right around the corner, the deadline for Xenos camps is coming up.
The deadline for registering for Blowout Camp is May 18th. The camp is for middle schoolers and runs June 2-6 (June 2-7 for incoming 8th graders). You can register online at xenos.org/jrhigh/summercamp.
TNT Camp's registration and payment deadline is May 15th, and registration is limited to 80 students. This camp is for incoming 4th and 5th graders, and there's more details at xenos.org/oasis/tnt-camp.
Final payment is due for Epic (camp for high school students) by May 23rd. Details at xenos.org/epic.
And you can register now for Vacation Bible School! Get more information on the registration form.
Conrad has written this with those who grew up in less than perfect homes in mind, who have lacked parental input on important issues. Searching for Wisdom shows how our heavenly Father's wisdom fills in the gaps left by our earthly parents.
It goes on sale for $9.99 this Sunday at all Xenos bookstores and the Study Center.