Friday, January 27, 2012

Fighting Social Justice Snobbery By Samantha Bender, ACT:S Fellow

On a day when I am prepping for our clean water event tomorrow and excited to see some cover designs for my book dealing with the topic of social justice, I needed to read this piece of writing from the national ACTS many ways it profoundly exposes the struggle and sin I feel so very often as a self-proclaimed global issues and justice guy...

To whom it may concern,

I’m about to do something I hate doing…I’m going to admit that I was wrong.

I used to pride myself on being the one in my family who “cared about justice”. I was the one demanding my mom buy me fair-trade Christmas presents, or that my aunts gave money to charities instead of birthday presents. I was the girl arguing with anyone who suggested we take a family vacation to a resort on an impoverished island, I was the one who “got it”. Obviously none of those things are evil or wrong. I, however, distorted these good decisions because I felt so superior by ‘caring’ about everything. I knew about every injustice, and I wanted to do something about it. I was the definition of awesome.

While I was a Sophomore in college, strutting around in my “Save Darfur” shirt with my fair-trade coffee, my sister was a junior in high school. Her and her friends began organizing an event called “Mini-Thon”. Mini-Thon was a smaller version of a fundraiser put on every year at Penn State University that raises money for an organization dedicated to fighting and treating childhood cancer. My sister’s heart was broken by a family friend who was suffering from childhood cancer, and she couldn’t rest until she did something about it. They spent the year getting ready for the big event and ended up raising over 75,000 dollars!

Was I ecstatic? Was I so incredibly proud of my sister, or happy that such an awesome organization had been given so much? No. Foolishly, selfishly, I was not. The whole thing felt so “over-done” to me. “Suburban families and housewives raising money for charity… real original,” I remember thinking. My sister told me the amazing news and all I could do was chastise her for wearing a shirt from the Gap, which I added, was inevitably made in sweat-shop. “She just doesn’t care”, I told myself. My Super-Bowl-sized ego could be seen from space.

It’s alright, you’re allowed to hate me.

Eventually, through sheer grace, God was loving enough to kick me in the face. How dare I think that this amazing act of love wasn’t enough? How dare I think I was above it? At the end of the day, how dare I completely slander the name of God?

I’m afraid that more often than not, I’m not alone in this.

I’m afraid that it has been far too easy for us to group ourselves into exclusive clubs, those that “care” about justice, and those that don’t.

All it takes is for a social justice chapter to throw a moderately attended event and suddenly there is an assumption that everyone who wasn’t there could care less about starving children. Frustration from feeling like there isn’t a dent being made transpires into pawning the blame on those who aren’t “trying”. This on-going frustration turns into a strong sense of exclusion, and a belief that we are not only the only ones who care about justice, but the only ones who know how to do it right.

We will become immobile in this fight against injustice the moment we believe we’re better than anyone else. No matter how many campaigns you craft, no matter how many signatures you get, or how many hours you volunteer, Jesus reminds us again and again that we are no better than anyone else. We were all designed to change the world.

You get the picture here.

Today, remember that justice isn’t sexy, it’s not a label, and it’s not some indie band that you “heard of before it was mainstream”, it’s a way of life. Live justly in your actions and you may be shocked by how difficult it is and by how much you can learn from others… even from those who shop at Wal-Mart.


With love,
A humbled self-absorbed activist

Thursday, January 26, 2012

HOOPS for H2O--Year #2

The loedown on our second annual event using basketball to help raise awareness and provide clean water for those with out it in our world today...I love the intersection of athletics and global engagement and change...

HOOPS FOR H2O Event Fact Sheet…Aquinas Game—JAN 28--3pm
A Basketball Event Where Fans and Players Can Provide Clean Water to the Thirsty in our World

*HOOPS for H2O website…this gives all the info about the event and tells people all they need to know…there’s even a link where people can donate online to the cause on this page as well…

*Online donation page where friends and family members and students can made a donation to the project…it is super easy…here’s that link…checks can also be made out to Living Water International and sent or given to Chip Huber at Cornerstone University…

THE GOAL: If we are able to raise $5,000 we would be able to fully fund the drilling, building, and community training for a well that will directly and immediately help save and improve the lives and futures of hundreds of children and their families in Guatemala!

Over 1 billion of the world's most vulnerable people in our world lack daily access to safe and clean water, and water-related diseases cost 443 million school days a year. Clean water is the foundation for other forms of development. Without easy access to water that is safe, countless hours are spent in water collection and household income is spent to purchase water and medical treatment for water-related diseases. Safe, clean water removes the single heaviest burden from the lives of the poorest people in our world. Not having to deal with this daily crisis means time for school and work, life and health, and allows individuals and communities to plan for tomorrow.

*To get yourself educated about the water crisis and believe in it yourself… you can check out some of the videos made by Living Water International, our project partner at the following website:

Thursday, January 19, 2012

10 Leadership Traits...from

Here's a list suggesting that effective leaders often possess the following ten traits...interesting stuff as we begin the process of soon hiring our student leadership team for the 2012-13 school year across campus...

1. Focused
To lead a team to success, leaders must possess an extraordinary amount of focus. It’s important to eliminate distractions from the work area and to hone in on the key issues at hand. While leaders are often pulled in numerous directions simultaneously, they must be able to retain clear minds and focus on the things that matter.

2. Passionate
It’s possible to teach someone to be a leader, but truly effective leaders are already passionate about what they do. Your enthusiasm and level of commitment can inspire your team members and motivate them to do better work. Modeling the attitude you want each person to have is one of the most effective ways to lead your team toward a successful destination.

3. Assertive
As a leader, you have requirements for your team and goals that must be fulfilled. When team members aren’t meeting expectations, a leader must feel comfortable being assertive. Assertive leaders are firm and bold, unafraid to go after what they want. Such a level of certainty and confidence will serve both you and your team well as you tackle larger challenges and go after new goals.

4. Decisive
Leaders are often called on to make big decisions, so it’s also important for you to be decisive. Of course, a decisive leader should never be confused with an impulsive one. A decisive leader carefully weighs the potential effects of each option and chooses the opportunity that works best for his or her team. To be decisive, you must also feel comfortable taking responsibility for the results of your choice.

5. Empowering
Supporting your team is one of the best ways to encourage members to perform well. Empower each individual by making it clear that you trust his or her judgment. Give people the authority they need to do their jobs well and show them an appropriate level of respect.

6. Confident
Successful leaders are confident in their own abilities and decisions. If you want other people to believe in your capability as a leader, you must first believe in yourself. While you should make sure your confidence isn’t perceived as arrogance, there’s nothing wrong with feeling a strong sense of certainty about your choices.

7. Communicative
Always keep your team informed about what’s going on. All too often, leaders leave their team members out of important discussions and meetings. A lack of communication promotes the spread of false information and resentment among your team members.

8. Self-Aware
It can be tough to retain a strong sense of yourself and the way you appear to others, but focus on being self-aware. Consider your strengths and weaknesses as objectively as possible and don’t be afraid to ask for feedback on your performance.

9. Humble
Effective leaders are down-to-earth and easy to relate with. People feel more comfortable connecting with a leader who is humble and compassionate. Strive to understand where other people are coming from and keep a healthy, grounded perspective on your own achievements.

10. Honest
Finally, effective leaders are honest. Be upfront with your team members and trust them enough to communicate openly and authentically together. It’s important to build a level of mutual trust within your team so that each person feels comfortable addressing his or her concerns with you.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Post-Missions Cynicism By Curt Devine—REJECT APATHY MAGAZINE

Here's a great article I gave to my recent team as we just finished our time in the DR this J-Term...great perspective and helpful thoughts in moving us forward from the amazing resource REJECT APATHY magazine's latest edition...

As I step into the church, bass booms against my chest. Neon lights reflect off the worship leader’s guitar as he sings, “There is no one like our God”—with Auto-Tune. As the song builds, my friend turns to me and says: “Doesn’t this sound amazing? They just spent $300,000 on a new sound system.”

I’m in an American megachurch, yet I can’t help but think about the Third World churches I visited this year—the ones with one Bible, no electricity and a lot of passion. Even though I want to worship, I only feel bitterness. This past year, I went on the World Race, an 11-month missions trip to 11 countries in Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe. While I love being home with hot showers and cold air-conditioning, the transition has been rough. I can’t help but judge friends who drop $100 on a night out, thinking, “That could feed the homeless boy I met in Tanzania for a year,” or think I’m better than the Lexus driver because my Grand Am is barely worth $1,000. Coming off the missions field can bring on all sorts of emotions from culture shock to loneliness to helplessness. But one of the most common and potentially insidious post-mission tendencies is to become a bitter, America-hating cynic. My first day home, I went to the grocery store and found myself overwhelmed in the cereal aisle with its endless array of General Mills cartoons. We can choose from more than 50 types of deodorant, 115 kinds of toothpaste and 1,000 channels on TV.

The conflict between excess at home and scarcity abroad is a lot to handle. The temptation can be to hate America’s abundance, or forget the poverty overseas and go back to life the way it was before. The key is living within the tension. As Christy Vidrine says in her book Unearth, “There is a balance between the humility of scarcity and the peace within excess.”

James, the brother of Jesus, writes that every good gift and every perfect gift comes down from above. Therefore, the first response we should have to the excess around us is thankfulness. God has given us food, water, shopping malls and Venti Mocha Frappuccinos, even though we don’t deserve them.

Our second response should be wise stewardship. I once heard a friend say she has a closet overflowing with clothes, yet she complains she has nothing to wear. This reminded me of Jesus’ parable in which a ruler gives varying amounts of money to his servants. Some make wise investments and use the money well, while one hides his share in the ground. The master returns and reprimands the servant for doing nothing. If we have full closets, stocked refrigerators or fat bank accounts, we should look for wise opportunities to give to others and encourage friends and family to do the same.

Another important fact to remember is the grass is always greener on the other side. When my team did ministry in Iringa, Tanzania, we partnered with a young teacher named Peter who was a little overexcited about America. He told us: “I’m so happy to be with a team from the U.S.A. I love American churches. One day I will go to America and learn so much about God!”

I stared at him in disbelief, thinking, Does he really think America has more of God than Africa? I told him most of my friends couldn’t wait to come to Africa to experience more of God’s presence. He didn’t understand. The truth is, we are all guilty of this way of thinking. The misconception most of us buy into says community, miracles and true passion only exist in the Third World. On the other hand, much of the Third World believes effective ministry only happens with lots of money and high-tech resources. Jesus says something completely different. In Luke 17, He teaches His disciples not to listen to people who say, “Here it is” or, “There it is,” referring to the Kingdom of heaven. Rather, He says, “The Kingdom of God is in your midst.” Experiencing God’s presence has nothing to do with where you are and everything to do with how you live with those around you. Every country poses its unique problems for those seeking God. In Ukraine, alcoholism is rampant. In Thailand, the sex industry plagues hundreds of thousands. In Tanzania, theft and crime create serious problems. Every country uniquely needs God’s grace, but the good news is He faithfully pours it out on those who seek Him, no matter the place or time.

Whether you’ve experienced extreme poverty or you simply want a change in your life, here are a few questions to ask yourself:

If you had all the time and resources to make an impact, what would you do?
Now, with the limited resources you do have, what impact can you have on your local community?
What small steps can you take toward making a global change?

America is not your enemy; it’s another opportunity. You don’t have to wait for a missions trip to experience God and share His love. The adventure isn’t over just because you’re home.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Final Post from the Dominican Republic...

Hello for the last time from the Dominican Republic...we just finished a final team dinner together on a warm and breezy night...we said goodbye to new friends this morning at our ministry site and then headed into the capital city of Santo Domingo...we visited the market and then walked in and around some of the oldest buildings in the Western hemisphere, including the National Cathedral and National Monuments of the DR...these buildings are amazing structures and are almost 500 years old! I did have a very fun moment this I went thru a pack of baseball cards I brought for my sponsored child in this community and school, we found together a baseball card with Jose Reyes and Hanley Ramirez that simply said Dominican was a moment that connected us together as we took a picture of that card together...I love God's little fun surprises for a dad in the USA and a little boy in the DR who both love baseball and the Dominican Repubic...

We then drove to the coast and spent some time this afternoon enjoying a resort on the ocean...there has been good food, lots of Dominican music, and a time to relax at the beach after a very busy week for us many ways, it is somewhat strange to be at a resort after being part of a community with such great physical needs during our time in the find yourself feeling somewhat guilty and somewhat resistant to what you see all around you...yet in many ways this resort represents more of who we are as blessed Americans...and the greatest challenge of this trip is yet to come in many ways...God's calling to us is not to just feel guilty and is to live with what we have seen, experienced, and heard from God in a place of prominence in our daily is the challenge of living in our own community and culture that God has placed us in as a Christian who is compassionate, communicates about the needs of others near and far, and serves out of a heart that is full because of what God has done in Jesus for us...that's really our final task of this spend time asking God to show us specifically what our response individually and as a team will be as we come back to Cornerstone and the semester ahead...we'd ask you to pray for us to be motivated and passionate to be advocates for the people of the DR and to help us to build a community that is focused on others and creates a mindset of service and love and character in the soccer community and other places of influence in our lives...

We are tired and yet so very blessed after our time on this missions trip...thanks for reading this blog...I've loved being with young men and women who I believe will indeed change the world...CHIP

p.s. If all goes well, we should arrive back at GR airport sometime around 10:30 pm tomorrow night or so after our travel day! We know there is snow...and we will call from Atlanta with any flight updates!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Final Day in Los Alcarrizos... is Wednesday already...and we are finishing up our time in this community that we now find so has been a short time but a remarkable full time of ministry and memories and being moved in Spirit and action here in the DR...

This morning we joined several hundred students for a time of prayer, Scripture, and the singing of the DR national anthem outside before school began...and then we jumped into our painting mode and finished the 3rd floor project, including putting on a new color on today...we are pretty excited to see the progress that has been made thru our work with our Dominincan friends in preparing this facility to open in a few weeks...

The afternoon was filled with time with students from the school...activities included face painting, bracelet making, coloring contests, and ring making...out team has loved interacting with many different groups of children this week...we even popped into a few classrooms to see what they were learning and up to as well...the power of education continues to be reinforced to us here...and w are grateful that even our participation in this trip helps that to be possible for more and more kids at risk and need in this can't help but be excited about what God has in store for them as Christian leaders in the DR in the future...

And then we had our first official soccer match against the JOMA club team from Santo Domingo...our girls had a big win led by goals from Kate, Jen, Anna, Amanda, and coach's son Mitch....we played against a men's club team connected to this group the last couple years, and we love building a relationship where they are excited about playing soccer with Americans, are very interested in what is happening at Cornerstone, and are exposed to what it means to be an athlete who loves Jesus and plays as His has been a blast to have this sports component to our trip here...

We held our final nightly debrief session tonight as well reflecting on what we've experienced, how we have been impacted by the people and community here, and how we hope to participate in a renewed way in God Kingm work, at home and across the world...there was a spirit of immense blessing among us for the time here and the opportunity to serve and learn and love and be loved in the Dominican Republic...and I hope that all of you connected to this team will have a chance to hear their stories, talk about their questions, and be encouraged by their experience in seeing and joining making Jesus known in word and deed in a place unlike what we call home...

Tomorrow we head into Santo Domingo to see one of the oldest communities in the western hemisphere...and we hope to catch a few final rays of sun on the beach before flying back to snowy Grand Rapids on Friday...thanks for your prayers and partnership...I'll close with the words of the apostle John that summarize what we have seen and hope to live out in the days to come:

I JOHN 3:16-18 (The Message)

This is how we've come to understand and experience love: Christ sacrificed his life for us. This is why we ought to live sacrificially for our fellow believers, and not just be out for ourselves. If you see some brother or sister in need and have the means to do something about it but turn a cold shoulder and do nothing, what happens to God's love? It disappears. And you made it disappear. My dear children, let's not just talk about love; let's practice real love. This is the only way we'll know we're living truly, living in God's reality.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Water, Paint, Soccer, and a Familiar Face

Tuesday in the DR brought more painting as we finished up most of the 3rd floor gym facility...we can't wait to see the women from the community that will soon be in this space! They are planning to open it to the public in just a few weeks...

It also brought a tour of the water purification system that they have here on site...they produce over 25,000 galllons of clean water every day that is sold at reduced cost to the people in the community, many who have no other clean water source...they even employ pastors as small business partners to distribute the water...and everyday trucks roll out of here and literally save and help make better the lives of children...clean water diseases account for more deaths of children than anything else in our world today...and I love the fact that this ministry is providing living water on both levels in Los fact, we were here with the men's soccer team two years ago when the earthquake in Haiti occurred...and the Lighthouse project was able to bring over 100,000 bottles of water to church partners in Haiti...I love the passion here to not only change this community but also in the nation next door...and Dominicans serving Haitians is a powerful example of the church at work across traditional boundaries...

We continued in our soccer clinic work today...we hosted 30 or so students from the school ranging from ages 6-18...every time I come here there is a growing interest in the community in relationship to soccer and more kids are ready to play this game...even a few who who have given up some time with baseball to play "futbal"...Marissa Bliss shared her faith story with this group of kids after we finished our time with them...after te clinic we played a short match with some of the older boys who have put together the first-ever Lighthouse School soccer squad...the soccer field at the school is really the only facility in the area...

A highlight of today's time here was a visit from another CU student...Marcel, a member of our men's soccer team lives in the city of Santiago here in the DR...he was a Dominican high school student and soccer player who watched our men's team play last year and eventually ended up at CU this fall to begin college in the States...we've loved having him as part of the soccer and Cornerstone communities, and it truly is a blessing to see how God has connected him to us through our ministry and mission partnerships here in his own country...he worked and played alongside us's a pretty great story...and we'd love to someday have a graduate of the Lighthouse School here attend school at CU...

Tomorrow is our final full day here in the Los Alcarrizos community...we'll conclude with work, visits to classrooms, time with kids, and a final soccer match...and some visits with children sponsored by folks in the CU men's soccer will be fun to reflect on all we've experienced and what we will do in response to our time here...that's a huge part of what we are praying for...

Thanks for praying and following us this week...we enjoyed the most sun and warmest temperatures today...we love you and miss you much!

for the DR team,


you can check out some more pictures and some videos at the UNTO website link below:

Monday, January 9, 2012

Mondays Leave You Exhausted in the DR!

Today was another full work day for the DR soccer crew here in the DR...we split into crews and spent the day working to help prepare new facilities here on the ministry site...many of us were painting the third floor of the gym (hence, the pictures I'm sure you will see with paint splattered all over our faces from ceiling work!) and others were helping get new apartment ready for the ministry director and school superintendent here who has been a great encouragement to us as a team...and we finished the days with tons of wheelbarrow runs full of moving dirt and rocks over to the new kitchen site...

One of the unique things about our partnership down here is the physicalness of the many ways, I think it is why our athletes love the gives us an opportunity to serve with our hands and feet and the rest of our bodies in a tangible expression of our belief in the Kingdom work God is doing here...we are simply being led by the Dominican leadership as we do some things we might not normally do back home...and there is a pleasure in that service that we find in knowing we are part of God's bigger vision...even in small and hidden and tiring ways...and I am quite certain God is pleased...

Tomorrow we will get to meet over 1100 new friends as the students at the Lighthouse school return from Christmas break...there will be energy and laughter and conversation all around us...and we see the very reason we are here...we'll be popping into a few classrooms on our morning work break and hosting another soccer clinic for kids from the school in the afternoon...

This morning we read several passages demonstrating the compassion of Jesus in action in the Gospels...pray that we'll chase after that example of compassion in action as we care for one another and develop a new heart for the people and children of this community...and may it move us to action at home and across the world as a result of our time overseas...

Ok, it's time for an earlier bedtime...or else this guy will be crawling to breafast! It is tough keeping up with the energy and work capacity of college students! (you should have seen these girls carrying huge tiles up 4 flights of stairs all morning...)

For the DR team,


Sunday, January 8, 2012

Pictures from the first 3 days...

A Report from a Special Student Blogger...

Here's a summary of our Sunday from Jenna Wiersma:

We woke up this morning at 8 (yes, we got to sleep in an hour later than usual!) to go to breakfast that started at 8:30, breakast was eggs, toast, and papaya! Quickly after breakfast we had to go and get ready for Church that started at 10:30 which meant we had to leave at about 10 for our 15 minute walk there. The walk to Church was our first time to walk around and experience the community, we saw some of how the people lived including their very small houses, dentists, hair salons, and a countless number of dogs. All the people were very friendly and welcomed us with a smile as we walked by.

Church was an interesing experience, the people love to sing and a lot of the tunes of the songs were familiar to us but we had a hard time singing along with their songs in English while they sang them in Spanish. The message was given by a Korean pastor which meant it had to be translated to the congregation in Spanish and finally to us in English on a powerpoint. It was very overwhelming to listen to the Korean and Spanish and then have to look at the screen and read the English that was being written for us. After church we walked back and had lunch which was soup, ham and cheese sandwiches, plantane chips, and bananas. During our break today it rained which was nice because it cooled down, but not so nice because it welcomed many more mosquitoes.

At around 2 we began our walk arund the community. This was a time for us to see and better understand how the people live down here in the DR and hand out some candy for the kids. The kids were with us all throughout our walk, they love to get their pictures taken and love to hold our hands. It was a real eye-opener to see how the families live down here, as their houses are very close together and incredibly small. Their community is filled with trash and raw sewage, but in spite of all these things the people and the kids stil smile and laugh. They seem content and it is hard for us to understand because we know how much more they could have, but where they live and how they live is all they have ever known. I speak for more people than myself in saying that it was a very humbling experience for the group.

We walked back from the community walk and went right to our rooms to change into our soccer gear to get ready for the soccer clinic. About 25-30 kids came to the clinic and we pretty much taught them the basics such as dribblng, passing, and ending with small sided games. The kids had a lot of fun and despite the language barrier it was a fun and successful time for all of us! After the clinic we gave the kids the shoes that we brought down with us and it was cool to see how excited they were to get a new pair of shoes; sadly they do not get many new shoes or even shoes that fit them so it was awesome that we could provide them with so many shoes for them to choose from, they were so thankful and loved getting their new shoes.

Dinner was rice, beans, meat and fried plantanes and went to our debriefing time as a team shortly after. It was nice to reflect on our day as a team and talk about what we saw and how we felt about it. After our day was about finished we went to check email and play games, it was a nice and relaxing way to end our very eventful day.

Walking deeper into the community is always a difficult and overwhelming time as you encounter global poverty up close...and now we feel responsible to respond and not just feel bad...we'd love for you to pray for the team specifically as to how we become engaged in caring for the poor in the world near and far away...we are learning much from the Dominican people we are meeting here and we look forward to discovering more clearly how our time here will transform us as we see God transforming this community...we read Isaiah 58 to close our evening as we prayed that our light will break forth into the darkness as we feed the hungry, free the oppressed, and share the story of Jesus as His people today and tomorrow and in the days to come...

Tomorrow we head back to the work site for a day of construction tasks at the Lighthouse School...may you have a great week back home as we serve here...we miss you and are getting more anxious to share stories with you when we return...

Good night from our warm and beautiful island home!


Saturday, January 7, 2012

Working on the Weekend

Hello again from the DR tonight...OK, to be honest, I can barely type this! My arms are so sore from all the work we did at the Lighthouse School today here in Los Alcarrizos...I am getting old and shoveling dirt and rocks for 9 hours in the Dominican sun has me struggling to get my coffee cup high enough to drink out of! Needless to say, today has been about hard that is helping to provide an education for the children of this neighborhood and work where we join an amazing Dominican crew as they help change the future of this community...the CU student team here did a remarkable job as we poured the cement floor that will serve as the home for some cardiovascular work anddance classes for the community here on the 3rd floor of the gym building...2 years ago the men's soccer team laid the intial cement blocks on the floor below where many guys from the community work out in the only weight room in the continues to be a privilege to be part of such a remarkable Kingdom vision that continues to grow and expand here in the DR...we love getting to be just a small piece of the story God is writing...

After our work day we hosted a group of Haitian girls for a soccer match...these girls are just learning the game and many of them have come to the DR to escape poverty and great struggles in Haiti...I loves seeing them welcomed into the community here and they now have a new place tp play soccer...we even had a male player from the school who has come to our soccer clinics and matches the last 2 years...after we finished the match, Kathy Butt shared with the girls why we are excited to be here and her own faith story...I always love seeing athletes use the platform of their sport to talk about what they are most excited about in life as followers of Jesus whom God has gifted to play a game that unifies people from cultures all over the world...

We debriefed tonight talking about the power of service for influence and impact in our world, and reveled in Scriptures we read this morning about each person in this world bearing the image of's a pretty powerful thing to be able to help others whom God connects us to, whether here or in the DR, understand through our demonstration of His love that they are indeed created as humans who are marked with the very image of the almighty God, no matter what they have done, where they live, or what they have...keep praying that we will have opportunities to live and work and speak here in such a way that we will make that truth come alive for children and people in this community even as we grasp it anew for ourselves...

Tomorrow we will walk to a church where we will worship with our Dominican brothers and sisters, spend time in the community where people live, and host a soccer clinic for girls in the afternoon...we will think of you as many of us worship at the same time in very different places...

It is a blessing to be here and a blessing to be with guys and girls so eager to be part of God's mission...

We miss you and can't wait to share more stories in the next few to sleep hard after this work day...

For the DR crew,


Saturday Morning Reflection...

We got the internet to here's the full version of my blog from last to work we go!

Greetings from Los Alcarrizos in the beautiful island of the Dominican Republic!

We arrived safely at our ministry site and home for the next week this afternoon after a smooth and uneventful plane ride...

It is warm and windy night here...we had a chance to take a quick tour around the campus here earlier and enjoyed our first home cooked Dominican meal...we eat amazing food prepared by some fabulous Dominican cooks...

It is always a joy to come back to this place for me...and I am thrilled to have a wonderful team of students and coaches here who are all anxious to serve and be part of what God is doing here in this part of the world...

As we walked around the Christian school facility here where over 1100 students receive the education they long for, it was so fun to see how God continues to build and grow the work here...I see the gym where there are now 3 floors of space for exercise and outreach where we laid the initial blocks on a bottom level; I see the kitchen which will soon feed 400 children breakfast before they attend classes where we help dig a hole in the dirt; and I see the third floor of classrooms now filled with more students where we poured cement into footings...what a privilege it is for the athletic community from CU to be part of this long term transformational work in this place where students are meeting Jesus and preparing to change the lives of their peers in the future of this nation...

One of the great blessings of a trip like this one is that we get to see God at work and join Him in Kingdom activity...we just finished a debrief and prayer time where many of the students here shared that they are so excited to see how God's Spirit will teach and use them as we work here and live life differently as a result of our experiences...even coming down here we brought several hundred shoes collected for the children of this community by a girl in Virginia who we have never met, but who God gave a vision to while she was here in this place...

We are very tired after an early travel morning and a long day...but we are excited tomorrow to go to work and help lay a cement floor for a place where many future girls will be able to exercise and meet one another and even be introduced to Jesus in the days and years to will be a full and meaningful Saturday for us!

We are looking forward to hosting soccer clinics, playing a match or two, building relationships with children here, sharing our faith stories, and seeking God together in the days to follow...

Thanks so much for your prayers and your support of this trip...we can't wait to see what God is going to do in and through us as we serve Him and get to know His people in this culture in the week ahead...

We are off to bed as we will get an early start on the work side...everyone sends their love and hellos back home!!

For all the DR team folks,


Friday, January 6, 2012

Hello from the DR

Greetings from Los Alcarrizos in the beautiful island of the Dominican Republic!

We arrived safely at our ministry site and home for the next week this afternoon after a smooth and uneventful plane ride.

It is always a joy to come back to this place for me as we see all that God has been up to. You can see many projects that cu athletes helped start now completed!

We are headed to bed as we will be helping to lay a cement floor tomorrow at the school here. I will hopefully post more tomorrow as the internet is down and i am typing on a phone.

We love you and your prayers mean much!

For the dr team, chip

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Prayers for 2012 DR Soccer Missions Trip

My name is Chip Huber and this is my third year serving in the Spiritual Formation office at CU...I also happen to be a long-time soccer player, coach, and lover of the of the highlights of my time here working with students at CU has been the opportunity to get to know many of the players in our soccer programs and be part of their lives and team as God is at work in and through them...and I am thrilled to once again have the opportunity to help lead and travel with coaches and players from the CU soccer community on this mission trip experience...

This trip is something that we see as being an integral part of our soccer programs...sports is truly an incredible relational connection and ministry tool all across our world...and we are excited to be returning to a place in the Dominican Republic where several athletic teams have gone in the last 2 years and we are able to use our hands, our resources, and our soccer abilities to serve and build relationships with a wonderful community of kids and adults in the DR...

As we head off to the Dominican Republic in a few hours, here's a prayer update I want to offer to you...we covet your prayers as we seek to have a transformational life experience together as a team and with the people in the DR...I'll be blogging from the DR several times over the next week and will get some help from the guys and girls in sharing stories and experiences from our trip...…here are ten specific ways you can pray for us:

1.Safety and health in our travels to and from and around the DR over the next 7 days
2.A good working out of schedule and administrative details as we attempt to see and be part of many different experiences in a short time period
3.Ability to connect with and love and learn from our Domincan brothers and sisters
4.The continued impact of the Christian school which is being used by hundreds and hundreds of students in this community, and the physical strength to help in the further expansion of this school to serve the needs of a growing child population
5.A deep sense of community and growth in our team as we seek to discuss and mull over the experiences and resulting questions we will encounter...we are excited to build deeper friendships with each other and use our athletic gifts in soccer as a ministry and witness tool...
6.A fresh vision for future projects and personal involvement in the work God is doing in the DR and other nations around the world
7.A greater love for Christ and a heart that beats and cares for and loves the poor and oppressed people in our world
8.Opportunities to pray for/with and encourage believers and the local body of Christ in the DR as we share the Gospel in word and deed with the children and adults in these communities
9.Ability to hear and receive stories and learnings that we can then take and use as powerful resources in being advocates and leaders when we return home
10.Growth and emcouragement from our daily times in the Scriptures, in prayer groups, and in team debrief sessions

We can’t wait to return and give you the stories of our trip along with some photos and videos we will have taken…once again, thank you for being part of this Kingdom venture for these young men and women…your overwhelming generosity and partnership is truly a remarkable blessing in our lives…we thank God for your friendship, gifts of love, and your prayers…

Together in His Work and for the 2012 Soccer Missions Crew,

Chip Huber
Dean of Student Engagement at Cornerstone University

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A Final Thought on Christmas

"No one can celebrate a genuine Christmas without being truly poor.
The self-sufficient,
the proud,
those who,
because they have everything,
look down on others,
those who have no need even of God —
for them there will be no Christmas. Only
the poor,
the hungry,
those who need someone to come on their behalf,
will have that someone.
That someone is
God with us.
Without poverty of spirit
there can be no abundance of God."

–Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador

2012--Thoughts about Releasing a Book...

This calendar year there are many, many things that need my attention in terms of improvement and development in my life...I've even had the chance to share some of my goals and hopes with my family driving home from our Christmas vacation trip to the great white north...

But tto be honest, this year has one particular desire/goal/passion for me...and that is to actually release the Zambia Project book I have been working on for the past couple years...

I've had a hidden desire to write a book for maybe the last decade or so...and it has been quite the struggle to see that dream realized over the last three years of writing about the experiences and relationships connected to our work and partnership in the African nation of Zambia...

To be honest, there were some moments when I wondered if the book would simply end up being lots of words and pages on a flash drive as I went through a move, new job, and different chapter of ministry from the time when I started this project till right now...but I just couldn't walk away despite life challenges and a lack of interest from some folks I thought would want to drive this project to completion with me....

Yet I am very motivated and really excited to try to get this book published and in print in the spring of 2012...and here are some reasons why:

1. I believe it is a story worth telling because it is the story of God's love for his people in Zambia and Chicago who both longed to know him more deeply and the full life he talks about in the scriptures...

2. I feel a deep responsibility and calling to be an advocate who raises up interest and response among this generation of young believers to be fully engaged in meeting the needs of the global poor and oppressed in today's world...

3. What God did at Wheaton Academy and is doing at CU is something I desperately believe is worth seeking to repeat in other creative and personal responses to relationships God invites communities to develop and experience across cultures and countries...

4. I am such a different person because of the joys and struggles I've had over the course of this project in Africa, and I love the opportunity to,share the first hand spiritual transformation so many friends and students have experienced...and am praying that this book will encourage and inspire others to see what God might have in store for them in the days ahead...

I've still got some work to do and several steps,to,take before I get to hand my former students and Zambian friends in person a copy of the book they made reality with their faith and their lives...but those moments are my dream for this new year...