When I shared my story a few months ago, I briefly mentioned Crossroads Farm in the last part. I said,
On Sunday and Tuesday nights, I volunteer at Crossroads Farm. If you were sitting in front of me, you would see my eyes light up as I mentioned this. It is my life. I have 14 girls who I lead a discussion group for, stay in contact with, and cheer on at games/in life. Sometimes I help in the tech booth, sometimes I hold cups of disgusting food while the game leader makes the kids taste them, and sometimes I dress up like an alien. Those nights are the highlight of my weeks, and I feel like I’ve truly found my niche in ministry there.
Now, over three months after I wrote that, those same words hold true. Crossroads Farm has become my home, my community, and my support group. It is the place I pour into, and in return, it pours back into me. The friendships that formed tentatively over two days at the Essenhaus on training retreat have become some of my lifelines here in Hillsdale County. I have CRF people over as often as I can, and we sprawl on my floor and couch to eat food, play games, and live life together. I was baptized at Crossroads on March 2, and I am so thankful for a community I could stand in front of, share my story, and declare my freedom in Christ.
Crossroads Farm is a para-church, interdenominational ministry to students in rural Hillsdale and Branch Counties. Between the socioeconomic struggles (Hillsdale is the poorest county in the Lower Peninsula) and the fact that the only thing to do on Friday nights is walk laps around Walmart (I’m not kidding. I’ve done it), the rates of sexual assault, drug and alcohol abuse, parental abuse, and teen pregnancy are astonishingly high in this area. Crossroads exists not only to give every student in the county the chance to hear the Gospel of Christ, but also to provide a safe place for students to hang out. Crossroads also provides safe adults for students to talk with. Many of our students come from single-parent households or households where parents are checked out, and CRF staff cheer on students at sporting events and drama productions, take students on college visits, drive kids to church, and even help with homework.
About two months ago, I embarked officially on a new adventure with Crossroads Farm. All through high school, I dreamed of someday working full-time for the ministry. After a lot of prayer and conversation, I began the process to make that a reality. Currently I am in the support raising process, working toward becoming a full-time, 2-year program intern with Crossroads Farm. My duties will include planning programming and events, one-on-one and group mentorship and discipleship with female students, design and writing work, and a couple of special projects.
Crossroads Farm will be my fulltime job, with more than 40 hours a week being poured directly into student ministry. Because CRF is a small non-profit organization, all of the fulltime program staff are responsible for raising the full amount of their salaries. As of today, I’ve raised roughly a quarter of my support, but would like to be fully funded by the end of July so I can start working in late August (the beginning of CRF’s program year). My heart is already there fulltime, and I can’t wait until I can physically be there fulltime as well.
As I’ve prayed about who to mail letters to, who to call, and who to visit, this blog has consistently come to my mind. Through this space, I have connected with people across the country who I would have never otherwise met. I now consider many of you a huge piece of my heart, and find myself referring to you as my friends in every day conversation. I promise I won’t post every day begging for money, but I do want to ask you to pray. First, please pray for me in this process. I’m impatient, and I want to have my support NOW. Pray that God will refine me through the in-between period.
Perhaps as you’ve read this, you’ve felt your heart stir for the youth of Hillsdale County – or even for the ministry journey I’m embarking on. If that’s the case, I would also ask you to pray about the possibility of partnering with me financially – either with a one-time donation or a monthly commitment. Donations are fully tax-deductible in compliance with CRF’s 501c(3) status. Every little bit helps; I have a number of partners currently committed to $10 per month. You would be amazed at how quickly this adds up!
If you’re interested in partnering with me, THANK YOU. You can click here to be taken to the donation page on Crossroads’ website. There is an option to give online through Network for Good. Should you choose this option, please put “#72” in the designation line. Should you choose to mail in a check, please write “Missionary Account 72” in the memo line. This will ensure that your donation goes to my account.
Maybe you’re interested, but you want to know more about the stories of the students I’ll be working with, the ministry of Crossroads Farm, the specifics of my internship, or where your money will go. If that’s the case, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would be happy to chat via email, or to reply with my phone number or Skype information so we can talk further. Also, feel free to pass this on to any friends, mission boards, churches, or other parties you think might be interested in supporting me.