IMG_1910.jpgCornerstone Youth this summer is experiencing a renewed message – “it’s not about me, it’s about us.” While teenagers are often described as being self-centered and unconcerned with the world around them, you will be amazed at the experiences Cornerstone Youth are having this summer. The M25 Mission Camp team in Atlanta, the Senior Uganda team, the Radius Mission Camp team here in Lee County and our focus on serving the children and teenagers at Shepherd’s Cove this summer will prove that the “us” referred to above is about those who experience the love, grace, mercy and compassion of Jesus Christ. Read the impact that M25 Mission Camp had on two of our rising 10th grade female Cornerstone Youth, and you will see that God is already at work among us.

This past week I got the amazing opportunity to attend M25 Mission Camp in Atlanta, Georgia. Before M25 I thought all homeless people did something bad to get them into that situation; like drugs, alcohol, jail, etc. But I was completely wrong! During M25 we visited the Gateway Center, which is a home for men who are experiencing homelessness. At Gateway, we had a karaoke night, and it was amazing to see all of those men’s faces just light up when they were singing songs. I also got the chance to talk to a man there named Charles. Charles was just a normal man like you and me. One day at his work Charles got a serious injury and lost his job. After that he just couldn’t find anymore work. Hearing that made my stereotype of homeless people completely change. At M25 we also partnered up with 7 Bridges to Recovery, an organization that makes meals and goes out under the interstate bridges and gives out the meals and prays with the people. This was a huge eye opener! Can you imagine living under an overpass; where it’s always noisy, bugs are everywhere, your sleeping on concrete, etc.? Well that’s what a lot of homeless people have to do. Under the bridges I had the opportunity to put a meal on someone’s bed because he told David (a volunteer from 7 bridges) to please leave him one on his bed if he wasn’t there. This man’s bed was a piece of soaking wet newspaper, and his pillow was a roll of newspaper. This was when I broke down. Can you even imagine living like that? M25 was life changing! One of the most important things I took back from camp was “You can’t change a person’s life, you can only change a person’s day. Only Jesus can change people’s lives.”IMG_1912.jpg
– Holland Myers

This week my peers and I had the opportunity to serve Jesus in many ways. We got to spend four days of the week in Atlanta, Georgia, at a camp called M25; getting to know and experience homelessness. Before this trip to Atlanta, I didn’t understand how or why people got to the situation of being homeless. I began to understand how they became homeless when I got to sit down and start conversations with them. I realized that the homeless were just regular people, like you and me, that happened to have a terrible stereotype of being homeless. However, they have something that most of us might not have, and it is how strong their faith is in the Lord. This was very beautiful to see because no matter what they are going through, or are still going through, they have faith in the Lord to get them to better places and even just to the next day. Getting to see the people’s situations when we went under the bridges to go give them food was really how I got a grasp on homelessness. This was when I saw how real this situation really was. It wasn’t something in another country, because it’s happening here, in America, just hours away. This mission camp, M25, also took us to Safehouse. There we served pancakes to the homeless, and again visit to them and hear their story. I met a couple of people named Ralph and Jackie. They were both the happiest people I have ever met, and I enjoyed getting to know them. I think that this camp has taught me that I don’t need to take the things that I have for granted, and also to find ways to serve Jesus in my own community.
– Ansley Ayers

IMG_1911It sure is awesome to lead people to know and serve Jesus!!! Continue to pray alongside Cornerstone Youth for our upcoming mission teams in Uganda, June 18-30, here in Lee County (Radius – July 21-25) and on Thursday nights at Shepherd’s Cove in Auburn.

Pat Bethea
Youth Pastor