Tuesday, June 25, 2019

June Update

As I write these words, the last of our senior high campers are packing up and heading out from another awesome week at Ohio Valley Christian Assembly. The theme of this past week was "Repurposed" and dealt with embracing the new identity we've been given in Christ as we leave our old self behind. Paul writes to the Corinthian Church and reminds them that although previously they'd been idolators, drunkards, and thieves, that's not who they ARE NOW because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ which has forever changed them. In chapter 6 verse 11 he writes, "And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God." What a powerful reminder... we really aren't the same people we once were. When all we can think of is the way we once were, we need to be reminded of who we now are! 

Campers Maggie and Franki
in between trips down the
slip n slide.
It was a terrific week filled with adventures, laughter, worship, deep faith discussions, and best of all... life change. We are still praising the Lord as 3 of our campers made the decision to accept Christ and be immersed into Him! Please pray for our friends Connor, Ty, and Reid as they begin a new walk with Christ. As you lift them up, please also remember all of the campers, that they might take this message of hope back to their friends, families, schools, and all the places it's needed most. 

Another amazing thing that happened during the week at OVCA is that we were joined by ROC’s Worship Team “Mountains Fall” as they performed a concert on Wednesday evening. It was definitely one of the highlights of the week and the campers loved them. Speaking of which… would you be interested in having our worship team play for your next youth event or even church worship service? If so, shoot me an email (reachohio@gmail.com) or call us (740) 592-1086 and we will work out a date! 

With camp behind us, other summer activities come into focus. ROC has already been working Bobcat Student Orientation this month in hopes of meeting the class of 2023 as they arrive on campus for the first time. Also, ROC and some friends will be working with students at the Sugarloaf family camp at the end of June. Then in July we'll back packing the vans full of high school and college students to head for New Orleans for a mission trip. This will be the 7th year we've led groups to NOLA to serve alongside our friends at Crossroads Missions. 

Our NOLA team will be comprised of a little over 20 college students, high school students, and a few older (meaning not college aged, we aren’t calling anyone old) adults. I’m super excited to see how this team comes together to serve for the Joy of the Lord. If you would, please be lifting our team up in prayer. The dates of the trip
Camper's duplicating the ROC logo.
are July 6-14. 

Speaking of Crossroads, many of you know that ROC's student org president Noelle Mash is in New Orleans this summer with Crossroads, but did you know that Noah Rohrer, one of our NOLA 2018 members, is there serving as well? Noah came with ROC last summer on the mission trip and decided to return this summer as an intern! We are praying that God uses these people in big ways this summer. 

I’m also excited to be heading out to Sugarloaf Family Camp in Kentucky this weekend. I will be joined by some ROC students and other college aged (honorary ROC members) as we serve in the Teen Barn during the weekend. I’ll also have the privilege of sharing with the adults on Sunday morning. 

As always, we value each and every one of you and the blessing you are to the ministry of ROC. 

Blessings,

-Dodger

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

May Update

Shhhh, can you hear that? Yeah, me either, it’s the sound of calm and quiet in Athens, which can only mean that the majority of the University’s Students are gone for the summer. Summer is a vital time in the life of our campus ministry for several reasons. First, the change of pace gives us the opportunity to do things that are necessary to the life and health of the ministry such as planning, fundraising, and staff enrichment. Oh yeah, and rest… rest is a good thing as well. That was God’s suggestion not mine, hahaha. 
 
Some of the ROC Crew and family
members gathered for Year End Bash
Second, it’s an opportunity for many of our students to serve using the gifts that God has given them. In this month’s update, you’ll be reading about one such student, Noelle Mash, who will be returning to serve with Crossroads Missions again this summer. Other ROC students will be joining me at camp this summer to assist with Senior High week, and still others will be joining me on our summer mission trip to New Orleans. 

The third reason that Summer is vital to the life of the ministry is it’s a great time to meet new and incoming students. Noah and I will both be sharing turns working a table at Bobcat Student Orientation where we will be among the first people to welcome the class of 2023 to Ohio University. Noah and I will also be visiting local congregations throughout the summer to give an update from the ministry. If you’d like for us to visit you, just let us know! Connecting with new students is the reason why we are involved in summer camps and missions. Our summer NOLA team will consist of both younger students and adults (those older than college age). 

One of the goals of the ministry of ROC is to teach students to see mission as something that starts in their back yards and extends to the ends of the Earth. With that in mind, we will doing a local mission project right here in Athens next week. Several ROC students, staff, and friends of the ministry will be working to put a new roof on a home. I love these types of projects because not only do we get to meet a local need, but we get to teach students a skill that many of them had previously not possessed, while also glorifying God. 

I do want to take a second to say that we really are blessed to work with some extraordinary students. We honestly have some of the most talented and service minded young people I know. One example of this is ROC’s worship team, Mountains Fall. These young men do a phenomenal job of leading us in worship each week at Crosswalk, but they’ve also recently had the opportunity to showcase their talents and glorify God outside of our weekly meetings. In the past few months this group has performed at Ohio Teens for Christ, led worship at a youth lock-in for one of our supporting churches, and most recently played for the camp kickoff at Ohio Valley Christian Assembly. The best part is just being able to see their hearts shine through what they are doing. 

Last, but certainly not least, I wanted to share with you that we are ecstatic that our friend, and incoming student leader, James Wallace made the decision to follow Christ and be baptized into Him during our annual Year End Bash! Please join us in praying for James as he continues to grow in his relationship with Christ. 

Thank you for being constant encouragers and supporters of the ministry of ROC. Our students truly do feel and see your love demonstrated in real ways through your gifts, kind words, and support of what we are doing here at Ohio University. Thank you for blessing us in this way. 

Blessings,
Baptizing our friend James Wallace at Year End Bash! What a great way
an already incredible year. 

-Dodger


Thursday, April 25, 2019

April Update

Some of our ROC fans at
Ohio Teens for Christ!
Hey everybody, it’s Noah, the Associate Campus Minister for ROC. So, we’re officially coming up on the end of my first semester with ROC as a full-time staff member. It’s been awesome coming back and continuing all the relationships that I formed last year as an intern. I’m very grateful that I get to work with ROC and be around college students every day. Now let’s get to the fun stuff.

Late in March we got to take our current leaders and incoming leaders on a trip to Columbus to experience an escape room. We like to take our students to an escape room because it puts them in a position where they have to deal with many different things all at once. This year we went to Excape Columbus again, but with a much larger group of twelve. We got to participate in a room called “Pharoah’s Tomb” where we had to find three hidden gems in order to escape. Our group easily made it out with over 15 minutes to spare, which beat our record from last year. It was a fun day and we got to relate our experience afterwards to different situations that arise in the ROC community. The last event we had in March was a paintball day at OVCA. We had an amazing turnout from the ROC community and a lot kids from local youth groups joined us for an afternoon of paintball.

It’s April 16thas I write this, so we’ve officially gotten to the point where students are starting to panic. Whether it be graduating, looking for summer jobs, or just struggling to open a can of off-brand ravioli with my pocketknife (as Blayne is right now), there’s a lot of stress in the air in addition to pollen. As always, the ROC house will soon be a safe haven for students to come and study and also enjoy a free meal each day of Finals week. It’s a great way to support the students as they might neglect nourishment in favor of having more time to study.

Ohio Teens For Christ is coming up this weekend, so once again ROC will be heading up with a contingent of students to help out in any way we can. We’ll also be there to talk to high school seniors about joining us in the fall when they come to OU. OTFC is an awesome experience that ends on Saturday before Easter. I hope everyone has a great Easter weekend with family, and we remember the ultimate sacrifice that Jesus paid for us all. Our last event of the Spring semester called “Year-End Bash” will be on Saturday April 27th at noon at M&M Pond if you wanted to come and join us for an afternoon of games and hotdogs and hamburgers. 

Gionna, Noelle, and Maggie
enjoying OTFC! 
I'm looking forward to this summer for a number of reasons. First, I get to help Dodger at Bobcat orientation, where we’ll meet the incoming class of 2023. Dodger and I will be at several different sessions in the month of June. After that, we’ll both be at OVCA for Senior High Camp which is June 9ththrough the 14th. Eventually, I plan on heading down to New Orleans to help CrossRoads Missions with their summer groups, which will probably take up most of my July. Dodger will once again be leading a group down to New Orleans July 6ththrough the 14th. It’s always a joy to work with CrossRoads and especially to do it with students from ROC. This year will be extra special as our Student President Noelle Mash will be serving with CrossRoads Missions again, but this summer she will be in New Orleans. I ask that everyone reading this joins me in prayers for Noelle as she will be serving many different people and experiencing a new mission field as an intern.

In Christ,

Noah

Thursday, March 21, 2019

March Update

I can’t wrap my mind around the fact that although last week was Spring Break, I still wake up to frost on my windshield in the morning. Actually, I can’t complain because today is a beautiful sunny day in Athens, and the ROC community is still buzzing from an incredible mission trip to Wallace, North Carolina last week. 

Last week we packed a van full of ROC staff and students and began the eight-hour drive to North Carolina’s coastal region. We then spent the rest of the week helping with the rebuilding process for homeowners who had been impacted by Hurricane Florence. The ROC crew was blessed to be able to serve four different homeowners throughout the week. Our students did everything from wiring outlets, to framing, to drywall, to building steps, and even cleaning. It was awesome to see them learn new skills while serving the homeowners with joy. 
ROC's 2019 NC Mission Team and
homeowner Steve and family. 

We were blessed to be able to serve with a disaster relief ministry called “Helping His Hands.” HHH has been on the ground serving in disasters all over the United States including Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, and the EF-5 tornado that struck Alabama in 2011 just to name a few. HHH’s Director, Scott Shipman, says "For these people this is the worst day of their life and it is for that reason we want to bring hope and a hand of service to those in need." That is precisely what I got to witness our students do this past week. I watched the way they loved on and cared for each homeowner and how their presence and willingness to help made an impact in the lives of the people they were serving. 

Our team enjoyed being able to serve alongside one of our sister campus ministries from Vincennes University in Indiana (Christian Campus Fellowship). I always enjoy watching our teams bond with other mission teams and groups. One special moment was observing the two groups come together in a special unplanned time of worship on one of the first nights of the trip. I think this truly set a tone for the week and helped the two groups deepen their bonds in Christ. 

ROC students Noelle and Sara with
homeowner Melba.
As terrific as spring break was, we are already looking forward to everything that the second half of the semester brings. This weekend we are taking a group of current and incoming leaders on our annual leadership retreat where we will be doing a Room Escape adventure. This will be the first time that our incoming leaders will be working alongside our existing leaders and it’s always an incredible bonding and learning experience. Also, Ohio Teens for Christ is exactly one month away as I write these words. The ROC community always loves being able to serve at the convention even as we enjoy the teaching and worship. Will we see your high school and middle school students there? I hope so! Come find our table at the convention and we will hook you up with some ROC Swag. 

Finally, we want to make a special invitation to you! Each year ROC holds its annual appreciation dinner where we get to celebrate with you all of the things that God has done in our community throughout the year. We would be honored if you would make plans to join us on Saturday evening April 13thfrom 6 to 8pm at Athens Church of Christ (785 West Union Street, Athens, OH). There is no cost associated with this event, as we truly just want to share with you what your love, prayers, and partnership are accomplishing for the kingdom. If you would like to come we simply just ask that you RSVP using the enclosed form or email us at jeandifilippo@yahoo.comwith the number of people you are bringing with you. We hope to see you there!

Blessings,

-Dodger 

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

February Update

Greetings from 50 South Court Street! It’s week 5 of the 16-week semester as I write these words, and wow, what a crazy 5 weeks it’s been so far. If you read the last update, you know we kicked off a new year of ministry with our winter break trip to the Dominican Republic. This trip really propelled the community into the semester with a lot of energy. 

Dodger and Tony in the
Dominican 
Last week our friend and trip interpreter from the Dominican Republic, Tony Batista, was able to video chat with us at Crosswalk. Tony blessed us by sharing his testimony with the ROC community and encouraged us to look at the ways that God has changed our lives and to be willing to share that good news with other people. 

We also started a new semester of leadership training last week as well. This semester we have 6 students going through leadership training. For ROC students, leadership training begins with 5 weeks of Discovery training which essentially covers the basics of our faith. After spring break these same students will transition into leadership training, which will run an additional 5 weeks and will cover topics such as what it looks like to be a leader in a faith community, servant leadership, and practical training in the tasks they will be assigned as leaders in the ROC community. Please join me in praying for this group of leaders. 

On Saturday, February 2nd, we spent the evening reaching out to the crowds that had gathered for SIBS Weekend at OU. We had an incredible time preparing and handing out over 300 hotdogs. Amazingly, we gave out all 300 hotdogs in less than an hour! While it’s hard to have meaningful conversations with every person crowded around our small table, each hotdog came with a label that explained who we were as a community and why they were receiving a free hotdog. We did, however, have many good conversations with people. Additionally, it is always encouraging to see how grateful people truly are to receive such a small act of kindness. 

The weekend before the hotdog outreach, ROC’s leaders and worship team assisted with the OVCA Jr/Sr High Retreat. We had an awesome time at the retreat where our ROC worship team led those in attendance through some remarkable times of praise. ROC students also led small groups, taught workshops, and supervised the dorms at night. I’m exceedingly grateful to have a group of students who see the value of investing in the lives of younger students. One of the highlights of the weekend was seeing our friend Maggie Hoover immersed in Christ! 
Pictures from the Hotdog Outreach!

This coming weekend ROC will be joining our friends from Student Christian Fellowship at Ohio State and Active Christians Today at Bowling Green and University of Toledo for our annual Ohio Campus Ministries Winter Retreat. This year will be special for us because it’s the first year that the event will be held in the southern part of the state at Ohio Valley Christian Assembly. The theme for the retreat is “Relationships: Knowing, Finding, and Being the One” and is based upon 1 John 4:16 which says “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” The community always looks forward to this event, as it is a great time of fellowship and growing together with our brothers and sisters from all around the state. 

Lastly, I wanted to mention that ROC’s 2ndannual prayer marathon is coming up at the end of this month. For the next couple weeks ROC will be collecting prayer requests from our community, friends, supporters, and mission partners in order for us to lift them up all day long on Thursday February 28th. Along those lines, we’d love to be praying for you and your prayer request. If you’d like to include your prayer request in our prayer marathon simply email it us at reachohio@gmail.comand there will be people lifting you and your request up all day long on the 28th! Seriously, we’d love to hear from you! 

Thanks for taking the time to read about what is happening in our community and for praying for us. 

Blessings,

-Dodger

Thursday, January 17, 2019

January Update

What an exciting start to the semester! I don’t know that there is a much better way to begin a new semester and a new year of ministry than with a week of serving. Our team of ROC students, staff, and friends spent the week of January 4-11thin the Dominican Republic worshipping alongside our brothers and sisters in Christ at the church in Moca. This is ROC’s second time serving alongside this body of believers as we first met up with them in January of 2016. It was a lot like a joyful family reunion in many ways as we were able to pick back up where we left off with our friends.
ROC Student Leader Dava Clark and
one of her friends she made in the D.R.

Our week was full of leading worship, running Vacation Bible School for about 80 kids, sharing testimonies of what God was doing in our lives, visiting a nursing home (whose residents loved to dance), and playing games and loving on children at an orphanage. It was certainly a week of incredible blessings. 

Throughout the week I kept thinking of the following verse from Romans… “so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others” (Romans 12:5 NIV). It really is hard to put into words what it’s like to get the chance to experience the “bigness” of the body of Christ until you step outside of your normal context and experience the Church in other areas and within other cultures. Even with differences in language, styles of worship, and cultural norms there is this underlying reality that we belong to one another. Bottom line, I miss my Dominican Church family and cannot wait to return and see them again in a couple years. 

Dodger entertaining the VBS crowd with some silly songs
Another exciting development within the ROC community is the arrival of our new Associate Campus Minister, Noah Mulvaney. Some of you may recognize Noah from his time as an intern with ROC last year. Prior to coming to ROC, he spent time serving with Crossoads Missions in both New Orleans and Piedras Negras, Mexico. Noah originally hales from west Tennessee near Memphis. He officially started his tenure with ROC with us in the Dominican Republic last week. We are certainly happy to have him back with us once again and we look forward to the impact that he will be making within the ROC community in the coming years. 

With all these exciting things happening, I nearly forgot to mention that it’s the second day of a new semester here in Athens. It’s been so good to catch back up with our students and hear how their time away from campus has been. We’ve definitely missed each of them over break. We have a great semester planned out for them, full of Bible Studies, Crosswalks, retreats, and even more service trips! There is anticipation in the air here within the ROC community. 

As always, I’m incredibly grateful for each of you who take the time to read about what is happening in our community and have committed to praying for us. We appreciate you more than you could ever know and recognize the important role that you play in the lives of the college students that we have the privilege of ministering to. 

Blessings,

-Dodger

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

November Update

ROC Students during the HallOUween
Hotdog Outreach
It’s currently week 12 of the semester, which means that we are officially ¾ of the way through another academic calendar here at Reach Out on Campus. It’s honestly surreal to put that in writing because it seems like just yesterday we were handing out cookies and meeting new students during move-in weekend. It really has been a terrific semester so far, and it’s been incredible to see the ways that God has been moving the hearts and minds of students in our community.

As many of you know, at the end of October ROC held its 3rdannual HallOUween Block Party outreach. It was a wonderful night and despite being a lot of work and planning, it really was a joy to be a part of the event. Our ROC students showed up in record numbers to reach out to their community and share Jesus through a small practical act of love. Despite attendance for the event being down due to rainy, cold weather and Homecoming falling the weekend before, we gave out all the hotdogs in less than an hour! It was incredible. 

In the midst of the chaos that is the Block Party I was encouraged to watch our students lovingly engage each person who walked by that night. Nearly as awesome to witness were the reactions of sincere appreciation and gratitude. Several times that night our students had to turn down offers of money, and even explain in detail why they were giving away free hotdogs. 

With just a few weeks left in the semester we are still looking forward to a busy couple of weeks. This coming weekend (November 16-17) several of our students will be attending the International Conference on Missions in Cincinnati. Many of them are eager to catch up with friends they have made on the mission field, find out about ministries they can serve with, and even be encouraged through worship and teaching. This year at ICOM the Association of Campus Ministries will be putting a spotlight on our Ohio Ministries since the convention is being held in our home state. We are eager to share about the ways that God has been working through our students here at OU. 


Once we return from Thanksgiving Break we will have just two short weeks of classes before finals. OU’s finals week is December 10-14ththis year. Each year during finals, we try to show our students a little extra love by having food, coffee, and a place to relax at the ROC House. Once again, it’s just a small act of love during a stressful time in their lives, but it is greatly appreciated. 

As we wrap this semester up, I want to say that I’m excited about the things that our student leaders have planned for Spring Semester. The calendar is chock-full of great things like Bible Studies, mission trips, retreats and more! One of the cool parts of the ministry of ROC is that even as we wrap up a great fall semester; plans are already in place for amazing things to happen in the spring. Please join me in praying that God would bless these events and multiply our efforts. 

As Thanksgiving approaches we are mindful of the many ways that God continues to bless our faith community. Certainly, your ongoing support and prayers are among the most incredible. For that we are grateful. 

Blessings,

-Dodger

ROC Students at the ROC Halloween Party