HLG students spend holidays ministering in Vegas
By Brandy Campbell
HLG Public Relations
January 24, 2006
HANNIBAL –Residents of Las Vegas are used to bright lights and busy streets. What they are not used to, however, is the sight of 13 college students in bright orange t-shirts passing out granola bars at a busy intersection.
That’s just one of the many tasks that Hannibal-LaGrange College (HLG) students took on over Christmas break as they traveled to Las Vegas to work with Life Baptist Church. HLG students worked with Life Baptist in 2004, helping launch the new church. Jay Rosenberg, a junior Bible major at HLG, went on that first trip and was excited to “go back and see the great work that was going on there. It was amazing to see the progress of the church, and to see how Life Baptist has grown into a thriving congregation,” he said.
In addition to passing out breakfast to those on their morning commute, HLG students also did prayer surveys where they asked the people of the area for prayer requests, worked with a children’s ministry, assisted the church with a coffeehouse and did ministry at a local homeless shelter where they provided food, coffee and clothing to those at the shelter.
“Working in the homeless center and just having a chance to see those people and get to visit with them was the best part of the trip for me,” said Cody Smith, a sophomore human services major. “It was amazing because when I first came into Las Vegas I saw nothing but darkness, but after working with the church and doing the ministry that we did, I began to see the light taking over the darkness. The Lord is really doing amazing things there.”
In addition to the day-to-day ministry opportunities, a key to the trip was also building relationships, both among the team, and with the people of Las Vegas. Students quickly learned that it wasn’t enough to pour a cup of coffee or write down a prayer request – in a city known for individuality. The need for community went much deeper.
“While working in the homeless shelter, I realized something very important,” Rosenberg said. “I was not placed in Las Vegas to hand out coffee or food or clothes, though I did all of that, but it was to share a Christ-like love with someone who may not have experienced that before. I think that warmed people’s hearts more than a cup of hot coffee ever could.”
Rosenberg went on to express how impressed he was with the sense of community at Life Baptist Church.
“Paul [Gotthardt], the senior pastor at the church, stressed the idea of relationship and community. And he and the rest of the church really live out that idea of community. Amidst all the glitz and glamour that is in that city, they live Christ out on a day-to-day basis,” Rosenberg noted.
HLG plans to continue its work with Life Baptist Church both over school breaks and during the summer. For more information on the missions program at Hannibal-LaGrange College, contact the Missions Office at 573-221-3675, ext. 384.