August 2022: Lifelong Lessons from Summers at Learn & Serve
Editor’s Note: Each month, we mail an article with our contribution statements to the previous month’s donors. This month, we are sharing two articles written by youth leaders that brought their groups to SIFAT this summer. One has attended Learn & Serve for years, while the other had her first experience alongside her students. Both believe in this program and its valuable lessons for youth and adults. Thank you for supporting SIFAT and our programs both here in Alabama and internationally! Click here to download a PDF version.
Written by Clinton Wheeler, Youth Minister, Cookeville FUMC (Tenn.)
SIFAT has been a part of my life for a long time. I came to my first Learn & Serve Summer Experience when I was in middle school. I remember walking across the bridge one morning and saying to myself, “I don’t ever want this feeling to end.” For the first time, I heard God’s voice telling me that I was called to youth ministry and that this is what he has in store for me. The next night, I accepted Christ as my savior and have been involved with youth and SIFAT ever since.
Learn & Serve: Fall 2013 Retreats Wrap-Up!
It’s been a busy fall for Learn & Serve at SIFAT! We have had so many wonderful groups from across the southeast come to our campus in Lineville, AL for L&S programming. As we slow down for the winter season, we wanted to share a glimpse of this past season with you!
During Fall 2013, we had 1,903 participants experience a variety of Learn & Serve retreat programs. This is a 37% increase from participation in Fall 2012 Retreats! Here are a couple of highlights from our fall retreat groups:
Learn & Serve: Birmingham Youth Support SIFAT Training Graduate in Nigeria!
Pastor Ogbatabo is a pseudonym for one of our SIFAT graduates and trainers in Nigeria. Because of his work in a violent area, we want to protect his identity for his safety. Pastor Ogbatabo submitted a proposal to SIFAT, which was approved as a SIFAT international project.
SIFAT’s Learn & Serve department pledged to help Pastor Ogbatabo fund his project through educating North American youth on the issue of smoke inhalation around the world and allowing them the chance to partner with SIFAT through financial contributions. Several L&S staff members and leaders from various participating groups have contributed. One inspiring story of a group committing to fund Pastor Ogbatabo’s project comes from Canterbury United Methodist Church of Birmingham, Alabama.
When students from Canterbury UMC met Pastor Ogbatabo while at SIFAT during Summer 2013, they decided they wanted to sponsor his project in Nigeria. After telling their friends and parents about Pastor Ogbatabo and his work, they decided to take up an offering once a month at their Sunday night youth program.
Learn & Serve: Goodbye Summer!
As summer ends and school is starting back, Learn & Serve (L&S) would like to thank all of our participants for making L&S Summer Experience 2013 such an amazing program! During our seven sessions, we had 393 participants from eight states across the southeast and midwest.
Learn & Serve: “48: A Slum Experience” Retreat!
January 19-21, 2013, eighty participants and thirty-four staff stepped into the life of over one billion people on the planet at “48: A Slum Experience”. This intense retreat allows high school participants, adult leaders, and college-aged staff to experience life in an urban slum environment.