Love- Serve- Unite

These three words were the focus of the Unite Work Camp that took place June 6-9th in Clinton, Fulton, and Morrison. For three days students from this area along with student from Ottumwa and Marion, Iowa and students from Mt. Carroll and Rock Falls, Illinois came together to paint homes to help others.

For me personally it was the best Unite Camp I’ve been involved since my first summer in 2015! We had more students this year than ever and plenty of adult volunteers to work with the paint crews. We had a total of 10 crews who would paint 10 different homes in 3 days. I’m happy to let you know that we were able to paint all 10 homes! God provided three days of perfect painting weather and it was also a safe week with no students or adults getting injured climbing up and down ladders.

The three words at the top of this page are the three key areas that are the focus of the Unite Work Camp. These three words are also things that Jesus talked about while he was here on earth. During the camp I could see reflections of Jesus in the three words that create the foundation on the purpose of the Unite Work Camp.

Love: 1 John chapter 4:7-12 reminds us that love is not some warm, fuzzy feeling we get in our bodies when we see a person we are attracted to. Love is not some American invention. Love finds it’s source in God. We should love each other because love comes from God in the first place. God gave a visible, powerful, life-changing example of His love by sending Jesus to this earth to rescue us from the penalty of sin. As God loves us, we should be motivated and desire to love others. I saw so many examples of people sharing the love that God gives them and sharing that love with others around them.

Serve: At the work camp we see so many awesome reflections of the servant attitude of Jesus in the lives of youth and adults. At times the work to paint the homes is not easy. Often in early June it can already be very hot outside and zap your energy and desire to do the work. The important thing to keep in mind is that we serve others regardless of the circumstances or maybe because of how we feel. We serve others because Jesus has served us so well! Jesus Himself said in Matthew 20:28 that he didn’t come “to be served but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many.” We made a great impact in the area during the camp as students and adults served others because of the example that Jesus gave us in serving us first.

Unite: Jesus prayed in John 17:20-23 that those who placed their faith in Him would be one, just as Jesus and God the Father were united. Jesus makes the bold promise that the world will see us as believers united and then know that God sent Jesus to this world. So many times at night when all the students and adults were together and hearing God’s word preached there was this visible and invisible sense of unity with all of us. We were all different people coming from different places in life, but it was the worship of God and gathering together for His name’s sake that brought about a unity with all of us.

I wish the camp week didn’t go as fast as it did! We are encouraging everyone who took part to continue to Love-Serve-Unite in their churches, cities, neighborhoods, and their homes. Basically, wherever they go we want to challenge them to be a reflection of Jesus in their lives. The picture I posted in this blog is my crew that I worked with all week at the camp. Behind us is a man named John. It’s his house in the background that we painted. It was the best to be with an awesome bunch of student and adults who made a great impact for Jesus!

Michael Bell