by Jerry Mapstone, executive director of LIFE 2016
This past weekend my wife and I attended our local church youth fund-raiser for LIFE 2016. It was a spaghetti dinner and silent auction. When we arrived, I walked around the tables to see how the bidding was going. It was not going well, so I decided to choose 12 items and bid at least the value of each item in hopes that someone would outbid me.
When I returned to our table, I told my wife, Edna, what I had done, and we began to add up the total costs of those 12 items should no one bid higher. Long story short, I had to cover only three items, so in a way, my plan worked. The youth group raised $3,200 for their expenses to LIFE 2016.
The greatest part of the event, however, was three testimonies from students who attended LIFE 2013. It was exciting to me that what they remember were the speakers, seminars, and the community service. One of the students shared about the service projects not being a high point in her week until she had the privilege of sharing Christ with some of the people in the community where they cleaned up lawns, sidewalks, and streets.
Lives Changed for Eternity
The LIFE event is more than fun and games. It’s a week when students can deal with life issues in a setting where they can meet God at their point of understanding. It’s relevant and interactive, and it challenges them to make decisions that will affect them for a lifetime.
I’m certain that if we had the opportunity to collect testimonies from those who have attended a LIFE event from the first one held in St. Louis in the ’60s, we would evidence one life changed after another. Testimonies would still point to those times as “driving stakes” of commitment in their spiritual walk with the Lord.
It seems that every LIFE event has students who declare they have been delivered from an addiction; became a Christ follower; were called to missions, Christian service, the pastorate, Envision; or were filled and empowered by the Holy Spirit to live for Jesus. Story after story marks lives changed for eternity.
I remember vividly one testimony that really touched my heart in the ’80s. I was called by security to come to one of the restroom areas, and on the counter was a pile of drugs and a note that stated, “Tonight God delivered me from drugs, and I don’t need these anymore.” Praise the Lord!
And that’s not all. Each LIFE event turns over 500–700 names of students who feel called to full-time ministry to the Office of Candidate Development for follow-up. These are our future Christian and Missionary Alliance leaders.
Looking for More?
Watch day-in-review, week-in-review, and other video segments from LIFE 2016.