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Lotz Addresses Campus Worship

  Evangelist and speaker Jonathan Lotz spoke in campus worship January 27 at Anderson University. Lotz is the son of evangelist Anne Graham Lotz and grandson of the late evangelist

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A team of Anderson University students spent nine days sharing Christ’s love in the heart of England. 

They ministered in May at OIKOS Church, located in Erdington, a suburb of the city of Birmingham, England’s second largest city.  

If the name OIKOS sounds Greek to readers of this article, there’s a very good reason for that. OIKOS is the Greek word for “family/household.” OIKOS Church exists to live out what it means to be the family of God in a community of diverse ethnicities and beliefs.  

Anderson University Assistant Vice President of Christian Life and Director of Campus Ministries James Hanson met Kenny and Kristy Dubnick last year when they were dropping off their youngest child during Base Camp, the University’s orientation, setting the wheels in motion for a trip to England. 

The Dubnicks serve with the International Mission Board (IMB) and helped plant OIKOS Church 14 years ago. Both of their children, Kayla and Max, grew up in Birmingham but now attend Anderson University. Kenny and Kristy recently moved to Dublin, Ireland, to do ministry there but returned to Birmingham to come alongside the team from Anderson. 

AU students worked alongside volunteers at the café located on the ground floor of OIKOS Church. They served customers or worked in the kitchen. Students also passed out brochures for the café and church or dropped them in residential mail slots in the surrounding neighborhood. They also provided children with fun crafts along the city’s High Street (High Streets in British cities are similar to Main Streets in the U.S.). Some students assisted refugees and immigrants with ESL (English as a Second Language) classes. 

“What was neat was the fact that we weren’t from there. Our American accents would provide great footholds for the gospel because they would ask ‘what are you doing here? You’re American, you’re not from here.’ It was super easy to speak about the Lord and His calling on our lives,” said Anderson University Director of Women’s Ministry and Community Missions Maddy Woodford. Woodford said that kids could get their faces painted or make crafts that included bracelets.  

At one of the craft stations, students helped youngsters make sheep out of simple craft items. Sheep provided a simple, yet powerful object lesson. 

“We got to talk with the kids about how God is the Shepherd and what that means and we had scripture verses on the back of the plates,” Woodford said. “Someone during a debrief made the point that now those plates are in their homes and that might be the only piece of scripture that ever comes into their home. Who knows what God will do with that?” 

For Michelle Barrientos, an Elementary Education major with a minor in Christian Studies, the trip was a memorable one for a lot of reasons. 

“It was my first time outside of the U.S. and also my first time on a plane,” she said. “A lot of firsts.”  

Ian Macurda, a rising senior majoring in Supply Chain Management in the AU College of Business, was looking for avenues to serve in some type of ministry. Learning about the UK trip in chapel, he felt led to sign up. 

Serving as a chaplain in the café wasn’t without its share of challenges for Macurda and others on the mission team.  

We had a lot of opportunities to speak about the gospel… It was very difficult to make a connection,” Macurda said. “A lot of them have heard about the gospel… they kind of shut off to the point that they’ll avoid the conversation. They’ll turn the topic in a different direction. It was really challenging to try to make that connection spiritually.”  

Anna Mosqueda, a rising sophomore majoring in Business Management, admits she was apprehensive about speaking with others on a spiritual level, but she found ways to connect. 

They were pretty receptive, and even if they weren’t. They gave you the time of day to listen to you and talk to you. Very polite conversations,” Mosqueda said. “My favorite part was probably all the different people that I got to meet. We did an English as a Second Language (ESL) class and I got to teach English to a woman from Afghanistan.” 

Barrientos observed, “Something that really surprised me… The English people don’t seem very approachable, but as soon as you start to just invest in them and ask them how they’re doing, they’re open to sharing their life problems.” 

For any challenges Macurda faced, he felt there were also blessings. 

I got to work with a refugee from Iran who was working in the café and I got to hear all about his story and really connect with him over the course of a couple of hours,” he said. 

As they ministered to others, members of the team formed strong bonds among themselves. 

“I went on this trip not being friends with anybody else (on the team) and I was able to make a lot of good friends that I probably would have never met, even though we all go to the same school,” Macurda said. 

We didn’t know each other before then, so we got to know each other throughout the trip. I think that was a bit challenging at first, to be intentional with ministry at first, but by the end of the week, we were really close,” Barrientos said.  

When the team wasn’t ministering, they enjoyed a side trip to the nearly thousand year-old cathedral at nearby Lichfield. They also traveled to London for a day.