Greetings from Los Angeles!
The swirling torrent of post-Christianity and deep globalization found here in L.A. make this city precisely the kind of ministry context in which we feel the most purpose. The nations and their religions are here; so too is the West’s culture-devouring secularism.
Here, worlds and worldviews collide daily. Crisis is commonplace. You can see it in the graffiti, and feel it in the streets.
But also here, in the torrent and through the crisis, God is quietly fermenting another wave of kingdom laborers. Erica and I are both eager and burdened to serve God’s process, however possible, in this emerging wave.
That said, we’re excited to share a bit about what God’s been doing recently at The Awakening’s International Base in L.A. More happened in the summer months than we can fully document, so here’s the brief version.
Summer 2023 was both full and fruitful. We were thrilled to host three mission groups, each with a unique emphasis. Here’s a quick breakdown for each one.
L.A. MISSIONS INTENSIVE (May 30 - June 5): The Missions Intensive is a conference designed to help students learn modern biblical missiology and discern God's call on their lives. These five days in L.A. were jam-packed with both educational and formational sessions on 21st-century mission topics. Our students also helped us lead one morning of compassion and evangelistic outreach in a nearby homeless community.
Some highlights? Each student in our group confirmed their call to future ministry leadership, with a few feeling specifically called to cross-cultural missionary work. One student was even baptized in the Spirit! God came through!
THE AWAKENING SUMMER INTERNSHIP (June 12 - June 29): The Awakening Summer Internship is a two-month missions journey during which seven young adults who feel called to future ministry leadership (potentially as missionaries) get to travel to and minister in at least three different cross-cultural contexts.
Of their two months on the field, we were able to spend a little more than two weeks with them on the first leg of their journey. Like the Missions Intensive, their schedule included educational and formational sessions but focused more heavily on providing practical outreach experiences in L.A.; getting out in the city and doing what we study about.
Some highlights? We spent much of our time serving our nearby homeless and at-risk communities, partnering with local ministers as well as with larger organizations like the Dream Center and Union Rescue Mission. Through each outreach, our interns demonstrated an impressive capacity to lead. They helped us forge new ministry connections in the city. Last but not least—during one of our children's ministry days in Skid Row, four young children whose families are currently experiencing homelessness gave their lives to Christ. God came through!
L.A. OPEN MISSION TRIP (July 10 - 17): Our final mission group for the summer was a composite team, made up of students and leaders who came together from several different IPHC church youth groups. While younger than our previous two teams, this group demonstrated inspiring courage to venture away from their comfort zones and serve the Kingdom. They spent seven days with us in L.A.
During that time, we led more outreach with nearby at-risk and homeless communities in the city’s difficult places like Skid Row. (Poverty and homelessness are among the top issues here in L.A., so our groups will always be found serving the poor.) These experiences are often both eye-opening and heart-rending for young people.
Additionally, the students also tasted a bit of pastoral ministry. We worked together to plan and lead two youth takeover services, one for our Korean partner church (World Agape Mission Church) and the other for a local Latino church (Iglesia Misión Christiana). And, as with all our mission groups, discipleship teachings and spiritual formation remained an emphasis throughout their seven days of service.
Some highlights? We were able to experiment with a new form of community outreach—laundromat evangelism. We buddied up with members from our local Latino church and set out on foot together, canvasing six local neighborhood laundromats, paying for people's laundry while also giving out cold waters, inviting them to church, and praying with them. Then… another salvation! A few days later in a local park, right after I returned from dropping off the missions team at the airport, one young homeless man (to whom our group had ministered earlier in the week) gave his life to Christ in our outdoor Bible study! I’ll say it again: God came through!
Space doesn’t permit us to tell you about our other ministry opportunities this summer, like YouthQuest and the West Coast Hispanic Girls Conference. Suffice to say: God is good, and we are so glad to be here.
Thank you for making that possible.
Jon & Erica Campbell