Thursday, September 20, 2018

September Update

ROC and friends from SCF at Lifeline
Christian Mission for the ROC
Service Day.
Things are in full swing at Reach Out on Campus and Ohio University. As I write to you, we are officially 4 weeks into the semester. The past month has literally been a blur of activities such as church visits, outreach events, service days, and of course Crosswalk (our weekly worship gathering). One of the most exciting parts of this semester has been seeing the way our community has grown. Although we’ve definitely grown in numbers this year, it’s also been encouraging to see the ways that our community has grown together and grown deeper in their faith. It’s certainly an exciting time to sit in the Director’s seat to watch our students embrace the mission of ROC. 

With the present growth in the ministry, it has become abundantly clear that in order for ROC to continue to grow, our ministry staff needs to grow as well. That’s why I am excited to announce that at the encouragement of the ROC Board of Directors we are welcoming back former ROC intern Noah Mulvaney who will be joining us at the beginning of spring semester to serve as ROC’s Associate Campus Minister. Noah was a huge blessing to the community during the semester that he served here with us, and when the reality set in that we needed another staff member to meet the ever-increasing needs of the community, it became clear that Noah was a natural fit. 

Make sure you take a moment to read about Noah and his heart for the ministry of ROC in this month’s Spotlight feature. Noah will initially be working with ROC part time while we continue to work on support raising for this position. We are incredibly excited about bringing Noah back to serve with us, and I personally can’t wait to see the ways that God will be using him to continue to grow and bless our community. 

Last month's update was brought to
you in part by Jean's grandkids Ella
and Livie. Future ROC'ers? 
Speaking of other exciting things, I can’t believe that we are already planning for ROC’s annual Halloween Hotdog Outreach. If you’ve been following the ministry of ROC, you’re likely aware that each year for the past 3 years, ROC students and volunteers from the local churches have endeavored to reach students during the Athens Block Party. This year we are once again planning to invade the Block Party to let people know that they are loved by Jesus. Our goal is to once again hand out 1,000 hotdogs; each wrapped with a card that explains why the hotdog is free and also contains our contact information.

Here is where you come in… this is a MAJOR undertaking, so we can’t do this alone. Would you consider helping us love on people in Jesus’ name, by first and foremost praying for the outreach? We want to assemble a team of people from all over the state and country who would be praying that God would bless this event and allow the seeds that we sow to take root. Second, consider donating toward the cost of the hotdogs and supplies. Perhaps your church’s youth group or Sunday school class could even make this an offering. Finally, we are on the hunt for some of the larger chest coolers. You’d be surprised how many coolers we need to transport the hotdogs and keep them warm. If you have one we can borrow or know where we can find some, please contact us and let us know! 

God is so good! I see Him at work every day in the lives of our students, but know that I also see His goodness as it shines through each and every one of you who pray for us, encourage us, and help provide for the needs of the ministry. Thank you for your integral role in the ministry.

Blessings,

-Dodger

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

August Update

It’s almost time!! That’s right… as I write these words thousands of new students and their parents are preparing to journey to Athens, Ohio for move-in weekend. This is such an incredibly exciting time for the ROC community as this is our first opportunity to meet the students who will shape and lead the ROC community for years to come. Our current students have done a fantastic job planning a host of outreach events and social gatherings all geared toward meeting new students and welcoming them to our community. 

ROC was blessed by the generosity of
several  local churches this summer
who chose us to be the mission for VBS
One such event is our annual cookie outreach. Each year we are amazed at the love and generosity of ROC’s extended family of alumni, churches, and individuals who bake cookies for this event. I really do look forward to these busy couple days because it’s always a blessing to get to see students’ faces light up when they are offered free cookies. I say this every year, but I’ve always been amazed at how many of our current ROC students’ stories start with “I first heard about ROC when someone offered me free cookies during move-in.” It’s such a simple, yet powerful expression of love. 

It’s also an thrilling time of year for us because we are ready to welcome back so many of our students who have been out serving, working, and traveling this summer. Speaking of which, please take some time to read this month’s Student Spotlight featuring ROC’s own Abby Cohen. Abby was blessed with some amazing opportunities this summer, and I hope her interview is an encouragement and a blessing to you as well. 

All summer long we’ve been sharing stories just like Abby’s with you in hopes that you see and are encouraged by the ways that God has been using our ROC students. Now as new students begin arriving in Athens, our prayer is that God continues to use our students right here on their own campus in the same amazing ways He has used them throughout the summer. This has always been the secret to our success; equipping and encouraging students to be used by God in order to reach out abroad and back home. 

ROC student leader Blayne Smith,
pictured center, helped plan his home
church's youth revival in addition to
leading worship and preaching
But we are incredibly thankful that we are not in this alone. If cookie outreach reminds us of anything, it’s that there are hundreds of people just like you who love our students and want to see the campus of Ohio University transformed by the message of the Gospel. Without this type of support as well as your encouragement, prayers, and financial gifts, ROC simply would not exist. But because you do what you do, we are able to do what we do! 

Please be in prayer for us and all of our new student outreach events as well as the prayer requests included in this update. Also, if there are any ways we can be praying for you, we’d love to hear your requests. The ROC staff prays for the needs of the ROC community and others during staff meeting each week. We’d be pleased to add your needs to our list as well. 


In Christian Love,

-Dodger Vaughan

*Just a quick update on ROC's summer fundraising drive. ROC's friends have been incredibly generous in stepping up to meet the needs of the ministry. While we still have some ways to go, God has been blessing us through your generosity. Thank you so much. If you want to know more about how to give to ROC contact us or click on the "Ways to Give" link above. 


Monday, July 23, 2018

July Update

July Update

1,800 miles, 2 flat tires, and countless bathroom breaks later, we are back from another amazing week of serving in New Orleans. This year our team of 25 met up with 15 friends from Kingston Church of Christ in Tennessee (whose generosity in hosting and feeding us was an amazing blessing). These groups worked together on a variety of projects throughout the week including hanging drywall, pouring concrete, building raised beds for local urban farming projects, serving in a kids camp, distributing food alongside New Orleans Mission, and hosting a cookout for the community at St Roch park. I could go on and on about what an amazing week it was, but I think I’ll let some of our teammates share in their words…
It's a ROC family reunion! Getting to
catch up with some of our ROC family
in New Orleans! 

I’m glad I went to New Orleans, and I’m so happy that I got to help out at the mission and help the kids at the kids camp feel loved. This has been the most fulfilling trip I’ve ever been on, and the best group I’ve ever been with, thank youfor introducing me to this wonderful place. Next year can't come soon enough!” –Kristi M. 

When I signed up for this mission trip I walked in thinking that I’d probably make very little impact in NOLA. I never realized how much the trip was going to change me and my perspective so much. The bonds I’ve made with these wonderful people are indescribable. I will never forget this trip and the impact the community made on me. I feel so blessed to come share the Lord with others and see the Lord shining in them. I will definitely be doing this again and very soon. I’m going to miss my mission team family so much so much!” –Samantha B.

One particularly impactful moment from the trip was having a long time resident of New Orleans, Mark Madary come and share with us at lunch one day. Mark told about what it was like growing up in St. Bernard Parish as well as his experience as a survivor of Hurricane Katrina. Most importantly he spoke about the good that has been done in the city by volunteers since Katrina, and how it has largely been groups of volunteers that have helped to rebuild his hometown. Mark said “If you want to see the face of restoration, look in the face of a volunteer.” 

While in New Orleans, I was excited (and very proud) to get a text from a friend of mine who had led a team to Crossroads Missions Appalachia that had met up with our very own Noelle Mash! You’ll have the opportunity to read more about what Noelle has been doing this summer in our Student Spotlight for this month. 

Building planter boxes to be used for
food plots in the Lower 9th ward of
New Orleans. 
Good things are happening all around the ministry of Reach Out on Campus as a result of the way that God is working in and through the lives of our students. I’m incredibly grateful to have a front row seat for all of it. I’m equally grateful for all of you who faithfully pray for us, provide for the needs of the ministry, and encourage us. Thank you for all you do! 

Also, it’s almost time for ROC’s annual cookie outreach. Each year ROC welcomes new students to campus by offering them free cookies. We accomplish this with assistance from many individuals and churches that help us by baking cookies. It’s just a small way that we can demonstrate Jesus’ love by offering students something familiar (like a homemade cookie) in the midst of a very chaotic and unfamiliar time (like move-in weekend). If you are interested in helping us, please see the additional information about the cookie outreach that we have included with this update. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to call or email! 

The gang's all here! The ROC group with our friends from Kingston, TN!

In Christ,

-Dodger

PS... make sure to check out some highlights from our week in New Orleans below! 



Wednesday, June 20, 2018

June Update

ROC Students and Dodger at OVCA
Senior High Camp
I sometimes hear parents who are a little older than me talk about the “empty nest” phenomena, and can’t help but wonder what that will be like when Brooke and I get there (not that we are in any hurry). While I can’t say for certain, I’m guessing it’s a little like the ROC House in the summer. Most days it’s pretty quiet as Jean and I work away. Sometimes a student will pop in to see us and say “hello” or have lunch with us, but for the most part our community is out serving on the mission field or working. I guess I’m saying that I miss our students! 
But don’t fear, Bobcat Student Orientation, camp, and church visits have kept us pretty busy since our students have left. Just last week, 6 ROC students joined me in working senior high camp at OVCA. We had a fantastic week full of adventures including a high ropes course, shooting sports, and white-water rafting. The theme of the week was “Go” which obviously centered around the idea of students being active in their faith and fulfilling the Great Commission. One highlight of the week was that a young man named Nick made the decision to put his faith in Christ for the first time! Nick was planning to be baptized in his home church when he returned in order to allow his family and friends to witness the event. Please join us in praying for Nick as he begins his journey with Christ! 
OVCA Sr High Campers and Staff
In addition to Senior High camp I had the privilege of preaching during campfire on Sunday evening of Middle School camp. It was a pleasure to be able to go and share while also getting to catch up with many of the students I have met over the past couple years at the OVCA Winter Retreat and the ROC Student Ministry day here at OU. Three of our ROC students are working this week of camp doing everything from worship, to teaching, to leading small groups. Next week kicks off 5th-6thgrade week of camp, where… you guessed it, even more ROC students will be serving and making the week special for a group of young people seeking to grow in their faith. Also, I forgot to mention that ROC student Stephen Bishop spent last week working at a JR/SR High camp at Round Lake Christian Camp near Loudonville, OH. I am so grateful to be a part of a community that loves serving as much as these ROC students do. 
All of this AND I haven’t even begun to share about the 3 ROC students serving on the mission field this summer! Over the course of the next several months, we will be updating you on each of these students, the things they are doing, and the ways that God is using them. This month the student spotlight is on our very own Blayne Smith. Blayne just wrapped up his freshman year here at OU and is currently serving with the American Indian Christian Mission in Show Low, AZ. I had the opportunity to facetime with Blayne just last night and I was both encouraged and amazed at the ways that God has been using him. I hope that you all will take the time to read his update to hear from Blayne in his own words about the work that is happening at AICM. 

White water rafting was one of the
highlights of this year's camp!
As you can tell, it’s already been a busy summer, and it certainly doesn’t show any sign of slowing down. We still have a few weeks of camp left in addition to the New Orleans mission trip happening July 7-15. Right now it’s looking like we will have about 30 people on the trip including middle and high school students, ROC students, and parents all serving the communities of St. Roch, Chalmette, Arabi, and of course New Orleans. Once that wraps up we will shift things into overdrive as we prepare for fall semester at OU!  

Once again, I want to thank each of you who are investing in the lives of our students by providing for the needs of the ministry, praying for us, and encouraging us. I am so grateful for each of you! I hope that you see your efforts are making a real impact in the kingdom of God here in Athens of course, but additionally all over the world! What an exciting thought… through investing in a local ministry like ROC your gifts are being blessed by God and expanding globally to reach people with the message that Jesus loves them. That is just one reason I truly love campus ministry!

Many Blessings,

-Dodger

Monday, May 21, 2018

May Update

I’ll never forget stepping out of my car onto Court Street after graduation weekend my first year of campus ministry. It was a truly odd feeling to walk around Uptown Athens and feel like I’d somehow stepped into an alternate dimension. Everything was quiet and nobody was outside on the streets… I briefly considered that perhaps I had stepped onto the scene of an old-fashioned Western Show-down when the reality hit me; this is summer time in Athens! 
ROC's Giving Campaign is off to a
great start, but we still have a long way
to go. Would you prayerfully consider
joining ROC's support team?
Summer is an extremely important time in the life of the ministry of ROC for many reasons. First, summer is one of the first opportunities that we have to meet the class of 2022. ROC is actively involved with Bobcat Student Orientation where Bobcats-to-be and their parents come to get housing assignments, take placement tests, finalize financial aid details, and prepare for life in Athens this fall. ROC will be tabling along with other campus ministries to share information about faith community options at OU. 
Secondly, summer is an important time for ROC students to “Be Sent” (one of our 3 core values). As you may recall from Noah’s update last month, in addition to ROC students who will be joining me on the mission field in July and those serving with me at OVCA in June, we have 3 students who have been given some incredible opportunities to serve this summer. Noelle Mash, who will be our incoming ROC Student Org President this fall, will be serving in Kentucky with Crossroads Missions. Blayne Smith, incoming ROC Student Leader, is serving with the American Indian Christian Mission in Show Low, AZ. Finally, Abby Cohen, incoming ROC Student Leader, will be serving at Children’s Hospital in South Africa. 
Baptizing our friend Tera Hogue at
Year End Bash!
Asyou may have guessed, summer is an important time for fundraising to provide for the needs of the ministry. We are on the go a lot during the summer meeting with current supporting churches and donors as well as talking to new and potential supporters who are considering joining the ROC Financial Support Team. If you are a current supporter or are interested in becoming one, please get in contact with us! We would love to talk with you about what God has been doing in the ministry this year. 
Along those same lines, we are pleased to give you an update on our summer fundraising progress. This month our supporters came through and picked up new monthly support in the amount of $300! We are so incredibly encouraged by this generosity, but we still have a good ways to go to meet our goals! 

Some of the ROC Community at Year
End Bash. 
We want to encourage you to join us in celebrating. Just a few short weeks ago at ROC’s annual Year End Bash, we had the privilege of baptizing our friend Tera Hogue into Christ! What an incredible exclamation point on an amazing year of ministry. Tera has been an active part of the community for several years now, participating in Crosswalk, Bible Studies, retreats, and even our Spring Break Mission Trip. This year she decided to take that all-important step in her faith and be submissive in baptism. We, of course, couldn’t be more excited. 
As we look forward to summer events, we can’t help but think about the amazing things that God has in store for us this fall. Of course, we believe that YOU are a big part of our success. We know that without your prayers, encouragement, and ongoing commitment to the ministry of ROC, none of this would be possible. For that, we are eternally grateful. 
Blessings,

-Dodger

Monday, April 23, 2018

April Update

ROC Summer Fundraising Drive 

Some of you may be reading this and wondering why we have included this giving pyramid. The short answer to this question is simply that ROC is ALWAYS trying to identify and encourage new partners who would commit to meeting the financial needs of the ministry. If you’ve been reading our updates, you’re no doubt already aware of all the amazing things that GOD is doing in the ROC community as well as in the lives of students. This is only possible because of the faithful support of churches, alumni, and friends just like you! As we enter the summer months we are making this push to invite new friends of the ministry to partner with us to help meet our current needs so we can continue to provide students with the same opportunities that ROC has provided for nearly 43 years. So let me ask, if you are a current friend of the ROC community but do not yet regularly support the ministry would you prayerfully consider beginning that partnership with us this summer? Obviously if you are a current supporter and God moves you to give an additional amount we would welcome that as well (also you all are amazing, thank you). We will be sharing this pyramid each month and crossing off each new partnership and giving level from the pyramid so you can celebrate with us! 



From the Intern's Desk...


Hello everybody, it’s Noah the ROC intern. Hopefully, you guys saw the spotlight on me at the beginning of the year, so I won’t share too much about myself. I am from Dyersburg, Tennessee and worked for CrossRoads Missions on and off for the past couple years in Mexico and New Orleans, which is where I met Dodger. Anyways, this month’s update is going to be from my perspective instead of Dodger’s, and I’m also going to share a few instances where I saw God work earlier in the semester.

ROC Student Leaders were locked in
an escape room but managed to get out
in less than an hour! 
We are coming to an end for the spring semester at Ohio University, so that means good weather will get here….eventually (it’s still snowing in April?). With the good weather comes every student’s favorite time of the year, EXAMS. When exams come, the ROC House is transformed into a place where students can come to relax with a snack, rest up between exams, cram a study session in, or silently cry in a corner as they realize all their hopes and dreams are coming to an end.

With those warm and fuzzy feelings in mind, let’s get to the cool things I got to experience while a part of ROC. First, we went up to Mohican State park with our partner student ministry ACT! (Active Christians Today) from University of Toledo and Bowling Green State University for our Winter Retreat. While there, students got to learn a lot of different spiritual lessons ranging from different prayer techniques to being thankful for all the little things that God puts in our lives every single day such as the environment we live in. One of the coolest parts about that weekend was when we got to go out in the beauty of nature and see God’s handiwork while on the different hiking trails.

Being a former intern for a missions organization, I’ve got to talk about all the different ways that ROC served this semester. The first opportunity we had to serve was at OVCA’s junior and senior high winter retreat. ROC students led worship, ran group discussions, washed dishes, and made sure that no kids killed each other the whole weekend (this is by far one of ROC’s greatest achievements in my book). The next big chance we had to serve was on the Spring Break service trip to Arizona at the American Indian Christian Mission. I know Dodger has shared about our trip already, but I’m going to throw in my two cents. The students of ROC jumped right in to the work projects and the blue bus ministry with absolutely no hesitation, which is no easy feat. I’ve helped lead volunteers that came to New Orleans and Mexico, and I can truly say with all my heart that the students of ROC are a special group on the mission field. The love of Jesus Christ was shown through every single person that went on the trip. Whether it was loving on kids on the reservation, building a deck, or just helping out the staff at AICM in any way possible, ROC was making a positive impact.

Speaking of missions, let me brag on some students that are being sent by the Father this summer to go do some awesome things. Abby Cohen was graced with an opportunity to study abroad in South Africa for the month of June. Abby will be working with the Red Cross’s children’s hospital in Cape Town to help kids cope with being hospitalized. Yet, she’s not done there as she will also be chaperoning kids with cancer from Detroit to Camp Make-a-Dream in Montana, where she will also serve as a camp counselor for the week. Also, Blayne Smith has been called to serve with AICM in Show Low, Arizona. Blayne felt led to serve on the reservation after we got back from Arizona, and was accepted as an intern just last week! He’s going to be there from the end of May through the month of July. Last, but definitely not least, is Noelle Mash. Noelle has accepted God’s call for her to serve in Appalachia with CrossRoads Missions. She’s going to be in Eastern Kentucky for the whole summer serving as a Storyteller intern. I ask that everyone who reads this joins me in prayer for Abby, Blayne, and Noelle so that they are safe and successful in their endeavors this summer while serving the Lord.

As my time comes to an end here at ROC, I can’t help but think that the semester flew by. I’m pretty sure that’s a good thing though, because “time flies when you’re having fun” right? I want to thank everyone that supports ROC. Whether you’re a parent of a student, a member of a supporting church, alumni, or whoever, you should be proud of your students. Not only have they shown God’s love through their various acts in various places, but they are growing together to become men and women of Christ. Lastly, I want to thank Jean and Dodger for serving at ROC and investing in students every single day.

-Noah Mulvaney