By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer
ALEXANDRIA/PINEVILLE – More than 400 middle and high school students stepped out of their comfort zones to share the Gospel during the recent M-FUGE mission camp.
Throughout the week of July 9-14, Good News seeds were planted by the students by going door-to-door and holding Bible clubs in area parks.
The students from churches in Louisiana and six other states enjoyed a time of worship and Bible study at Louisiana College in Pineville each morning and then dispersed into smaller teams as they worked at their assigned sites.
Some students presented the Gospel in the afternoons to community members while others sorted through donated clothing, renovated a church building and packed boxes at the Food Bank of Central Louisiana.
“For the second year, Louisiana College was pleased to partner with Lifeway’s M-FUGE serving as a host site for over 400 high school students,” LC President Rick Brewer told the Baptist Message. “These students from SBC churches across Arkansas, Mississippi, Texas, Tennessee and Louisiana had a transformational worship and work experience while in Central Louisiana. It’s our desire to expand this partnership with LifeWay to offer four weeks of M-FUGE annually in the years ahead.”
40 YEARS OF MINISTRY
Since 1979, LifeWay Christian Resource’s FUGE camps have seen God work in the lives of more than 1.7 million students and adults across the nation. More than 55,000 students and adults are expected to attend a FUGE camp this summer, according to LifeWay.
What began as Centrifuge — with a full-time staff that plans and leads Bible study, recreation, worship and other camp elements — has grown to include four types of camps in multiple locations across the country and overseas.
FUGE Camps, which are a ministry of LifeWay Christian Resources, take students out of their normal routine and places them into an environment focused on life change through a relationship with Christ. FUGE Camps are for students having completed 6th grade through 12th grade. Youth pastors can choose from one of four programs at FUGE — Centrifuge, M-FUGE, X-FUGE and X-FUGE on Mission.
Students can participate in either recreation or missions with everyone at camp, or churches can stay together and choose their own customizable experience. This summer’s theme is “The Mission” based on the study of Paul and how he lived on mission for Christ.
HEARTS FOR MINISTRY
Hannah Stroud, a member of Union Baptist Church in Seminary, Mississippi, sang during a time of worship at Main Street Mission in Pineville before she joined her fellow team members who shared the Gospel with low income individuals eating their lunch. The camp encouraged her to leave her comfort zone and sing before a group for the first time.
“It was kind of nerve racking, but I had my friend right beside me to encourage me,” Stroud said. “But I’m glad I ended up doing that and was able to share Christ’s love with all the people here since I took that leap of faith.”
Trisha Prewitt, an adult leader with First Baptist Church in Westlake, Louisiana, said M-FUGE gave her group of 27 students a chance to get hands-on practice in serving on the mission field.
“They are preparing themselves for God’s kingdom work He has for them,” Prewitt said. “They are opening up to each other and understanding that no one is perfect. Because of that, they are more understanding of why people are experiencing difficult circumstances.”
Sam West, pastor of the Main Street Mission, said the students have encouraged him and the neighborhood through their bold witness in the surrounding neighborhood.
“They have come with a lot of energy and are willing to do what God is asking of them this week,” West said. “Hopefully they will take what they learned and apply it where they live.”
Students also renovated the worship center and education wing at the Gathering Place West campus in Alexandria.
“I enjoyed sharing this experience with some of my church, but mostly a lot of new friends I made as we together got out of our comfort zones,” said Jackyln Walker, a member of Westlake Baptist Church in Chandler, Texas. “We took the messages we were learning about being on mission for Christ and applied it by helping out this church.”