KNOXVILLE, TN (July 20, 2015) – “When we ask God to move a mountain, God might hand us a shovel, and say, ‘You are my hands, you are my feet.’” —Shane Claiborne, CHIC 2015
Students at CHIC had a chance to put their virtual shovels to work last week. Focusing on the theme of Shift, they were invited to alter their approach to God, to other people, to the world around them. Some youth groups took their afternoons to volunteer in local ministries, such as sorting and tagging clothing at a local Salvation Army warehouse, assisting senior citizens with home projects, or helping to feed hungry people at a homeless shelter.
They also learned about the need for clean water throughout the world through Project Blue, a learning experience of Covenant World Relief. “Our goal through Project Blue was to raise awareness of the issue of lack access to clean water around the world, including North America,” says Dave Husby, director of CWR, “and to encourage students to engage with the issue in ways that will enable more people to gain access.”
“I honestly didn’t think about water before,” one student said, “but I learned how much we take it for granted. I liked how they included that as well as the speakers this week.”
One concrete way students were invited to engage was through giving. Funds from the CHIC offering will support clean water efforts through Project Blue. Students were told that if each person gave $10, they could raise $55,000.
But the total amount was more than double that number: $126,015. When the number was announced, the stadium erupted in cheers.
“The offering amount far exceeded what I even thought was possible,” said Kelsie Sneegas, one of four high school students who traveled with CWR to India last December and who shared from Mainstage about what she had seen. “I couldn’t help but cry when I saw it because the number on the screen wasn’t just a number- it was lives being saved through the help of teenagers across the globe. God is so faithful, and I’m so beyond grateful that I was able to serve such a high God through a beautiful project such as Project Blue.”
Another of the four students, Richard Martin, recounted, “When they said, ‘We’ll show you the amount we raised,’ I figured we raised more than the goal, but when the screen revealed how much we raised, I was the first one to yell and shout. I’m so happy our message got to people and made them aware of real world struggles.”
Covenanter Amy Russell who walked 5,000 miles across Africa to raise awareness about water issues in the world in 2013, helped lead Project Blue activities at CHIC. “When the offering was announced that I was just in awe. I thought, “Wow, they get it. They really get it.”
“We tried not to make the offering the main focal point of the project,” Husby said. “Rather we wanted it to be one of many possible action steps the students could take. So when I saw the tremendous response of the students in the offering I was encouraged—by both the evidence of a shift in their perspective as well as the many people around the world who will gain access to clean water and sanitation because of their generous giving.”