By Bernita Tuingenga, VIS Co-Executive Director
This time of year always stirs in me a vast array of emotions. I find myself unable to fathom the amount of torture, pain, suffering, humility, disgrace and inhumane behavior that occurred leading up to the crucifixion and death of God’s perfect son, Jesus. Harder yet is to grasp that Jesus, sinless and perfect in every way, came to earth in human form to be that sacrifice and he did it to pay for all my sins. Knowing that I am unworthy of this gift, I mourn, I am sad, and I am humbled. I know my work is polluted with sin; I think, say and do things every day that disappoint God, I am undeserving; yet this gift is for me, for you and for all who believe. Simply put, this gift is grace, God’s grace poured out for you and me. I stand in awe and I want to loudly proclaim.... Read more
On March 3, the student body of Grand Rapids Christian High School went out and made a difference. Their theme for the day was to live out I John 3:18 (NIV) where it says, "Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth."
VIS coordinated the placement of the over 900 students and faculty at 44 community agencies throughout the Grand Rapids area to give the students an opportunity to serve and be the "hands and feet of Jesus." They served at agencies such as Feeding America, Gilda's House, American Red Cross, Adams Park Apts., Rays of Hope, Kids Food Basket, John Knox Pantry, and many more.
God's amazing love showed through their actions and by their testimony of being out there and serving in His name.
VIS was once again able to assist two Grand Rapids Christian High School Winterim classes in coordinating placements of students for community service in the Grand Rapids
area. "Winterim engages students in a two-week learning experience, allowing them to choose their own courses of interest. Concentrated exposure and immersion in a chosen field provides an uncommon learning opportunity whereby students gain valuable tools to foster their true gifts, leading them to be effective servants of Christ in contemporary society."
VIS was able to coordinate and place 354 students at 19 community service sites throughout Grand Rapids such as Gilda's Club, Bibles for Messions, GR Home for Veterans, John Knox Food Pantry, Family Promise, Baxter Community Center, Vista Springs Wyoming, and many others. Through their work they put in 1,831 hours of community service.
Erin Wieczorek of Mt. Mercy Apartments said, "The students and chaperones did a great job. Their team work was incredible. The tenants really enjoyed being served unlimited breakfast, and their company sitting with them. The students had to work as a team and treat others with respect and they succeeded."
Shawn Keener, Program Director at United Church Outreach Ministry (UCOM), said, "We are always willing to work together with your organization. You do such a nice job coordinating volunteers and keeping us informed. The Winterim group you sent us was wonderful. We are happy to host them again. They are very polite and hardworking and we enjoy having them.
Students did some painting for a client and here is what she said: "The students did a great job! I really enjoyed listening to their conversations and interacting with them. They were all very polite and I really appreciated all they did!"