Minnesota Mission Trip Update #1

Hi Everyone,

Here’s an update from Andrew about welcome week at University of Minnesota and the different outreach events that our mission team and church plant team have been involved with. Please continue to pray for them as they have several more events to meet students and publicize NSWN, which is on Wednesday, September 8th. A specific prayer request is for the weather; currently, rain is predicted for a number of days. Please pray that the rain will not interfere with the different outreach activities, and pray especially that it will not interfere with NSWN. Please also pray for all of the specific welcome week activities.

In addition to all the flyers they are handing out, an e-mail newsletter is also being sent out to all of the students who signed up with us to get updates to our events. Please pray that those students contacted through the newsletter would check out NSWN.

Our Minnesota mission team is uploading videos about the different events that they are a part of; you can check them out at the
Gracepoint Vimeo site. Here are five of the videos that have been posted as of Sunday night (Berkeley time).

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/14720942[/vimeo]
[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/14731218[/vimeo]
[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/14731039[/vimeo]
[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/14731095[/vimeo]
[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/14731204[/vimeo]


The mission team, 30 from Berkeley and Davis, arrived in two waves this past week, Friday night at 11:30pm and Saturday morning at 5:00, all of them excited and ready to help the Minneapolis church plant team reach out to the students at the University of Minnesota! (otherwise know as The “U” or UMN).

But even before they arrived, God has been actively at work! We had “Board Games and Bubbling Italian Soda” on Thursday night and 14 new students joined us! We introduced to them Jenga, Apples to Apples, and Speed Scrabble! As our board game night was going on, many of the freshman walked by our room on their way to a mandatory UMN Welcome Week event and we quickly moved to hand out our
many flyers and invitations to them!

And then, even right before the mission team arrived, we had our regular TFN and 11 new students joined us to hear Pastor Timothy speak on John 1:35-39 where he invited them to “Come and see” what are group is about and what the Bible has to say about their lives. In addition, using the clip from Forrest Gump with the background track of Jackson Browne’s “Running on Empty,” he challenged them to think about what they are running after! Afterwards, we had a game of nighttime ultimate frisbee in front of the Coffman Memorial Union (UMN’s version of Sproul/MLK building). It’s a high traffic area that has the Minneapolis skyline as a backdrop and we were able to invite some nearby students to come join us!

Saturday was the first full day for the mission team on campus and after starting the day reading Jeremiah and touring parts of the campus, we hit the various Dining Halls (6 total!) for lunchtime outreach! All the freshmen had to eat at the dining halls and so some people stood in line for over 45 minutes! But during that time, we were able to meet and talk to the students around us and got to know many of them in that way.

Afterwards, our group split up to do various activities. One group went to the university’s official “Acitivities Faire”, one of the many University’s mandatory Welcome Week events. It’s a time where students groups introduce themselves to the students and it was hosted at the Mariucci Hockey Arena on campus. (Hockey is really big in MN and likewise the arena is very large!) Our giveway at the table, in addition to our flyers, were frozen otter pops. We were able to give all 600 (!) of them away (to around 4,000 freshmen) and got 129 of
them the sign up at our table to get more info about our group! It was a pretty crazy scene, similar to the night markets of Taiwan or Sproul plaza during the noon-time crunch!

Another group went to host a shaved ice and sports night at a nearby park sandwiched between the campus and the Mississippi river. We had around 50+ attendance despite the busyness of the freshman’s schedule from the university’s mandatory Welcome Week itinerary. We played football and a lot of ultimate frisbee (it’s REALLY popular here!). Many of the students tried our shaved ice for the first time and enjoyed it very much! Some of them even compared our red
bean dessert topping to Boston Baked Beans! It was a wonderful way to get to know some of the students and to invite them to our future events.

We ended the evening with our regular nighttime ultimate frisbee and despite competing with a unlimited free-rides at the Mall of America’s amusement park night for the freshmen, we still had quite a few students walk by and join in our game time. As we hung around the water cooler during our breaks, we had a chance to talk and get to know better some of these new students and invite them to our upcoming NSWN. Some of them even expressed a lot of interest in our group and desire to learn about Christianity! PTL!

On Sunday, we started the day with conversational prayer walks around the campus as we thought about the students we met the previous day. Indeed our hearts ached as we heard about how active fraternities and sororities outreach and how quickly the students turn to partying and gaming. We continued doing DH and sports outreach and it was a little more challenging as the campus was fairly quiet because of the labor day weekend, a freshmen Twin Cities tour, and
some mandatory dorm meetings. However, we did have 4 newcomers come to our SWS! We ended the day with a work night topped off with some White Castle sliders, a midwestern treat!

It’s been a busy but exciting 48 hours here in Minnesota! There are over 50,000 students here at the U (4th largest Univ. in America) with around 5,300 freshmen. And while we might not be able to meet every single one of them, we can certainly try! Indeed the harvest is plentiful and we have the Gospel to share with the many students here, so please continue to pray for us and our upcoming NSWN (Wed Sept 8th!)

Please continue to pray for us, specifically:

* Weather – The weather in Minneapolis is erratic and rain is predicted for some of the days. Currently, rain is predicted on Labor day early evening but our NSWN day looks clear for now. Please pray that rain won’t interrupt our labor day activities (picnic, stone arch bridge tour, and ultimate frisbee) and that our NSWN will remain clear.

– Minnesota Mission Team and Church Plant Team

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