California School Project travels home

A Biola student took the gospel to her old high school as part of California School Project’s hometown trip initiative.

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Sophomore intercultural studies and Christian ministries major Amelia Seefeldt led a group from the California School Project club to minister at Tokay High School in her hometown of Lodi, California. | Katie Evensen/THE CHIMES

Jenna Schmidt, Writer

Sophomore intercultural studies and Christian ministries major Amelia Seefeldt led a group from the California School Project club to minister at Tokay High School in her hometown of Lodi, California. | Katie Evensen/THE CHIMES

 

Going back to your old high school may not be on the top of many people’s wish lists. But what if you could return to build a ministry within those locker-lined hallways and fluorescent-lit classrooms?

Returning to Lodi

A couple weeks ago, sophomore intercultural studies and Christian ministries major Amelia Seefeldt was able to do just that as she led a team of California School Project members on one of the new hometown missions to her stomping grounds of Lodi, Calif.

These trips tailor the missions mindset of CSP toward an area in which one of their own team members grew up, expanding the missions field into the high schools and hometowns of the leaders. Revisiting her former school, Tokay High School, along with many others, Seefeldt gathered her team to build a ministry with the high school students of Lodi.

Seefeldt said that it wasn't the first trip CSP has made to her hometown. She remembers when a team visited Tokay High when she was a freshman, ready to equip her and her fellow student leaders with the tools they needed to build a ministry in their high school. Seefeldt not only became the president of the Christian club at Tokay High during her junior and senior year, but she also discipled fellow students there, in much the same way that CSP members mentor the students they visit.

This initial ministry mindset impacted her own decision to join the CSP at Biola this last year, and this Hometown mission has given Seefeldt the opportunity to see the impact from the view of the leaders rather than the view of the students. Returning to her hometown to work in the same way that affected her during her high school years was a joy and an answer to a prayer that had lasted years.
   
“God’s answered a lot of prayers with this trip that I prayed years ago in high school but I had totally given up on,” Seefeldt said. “God has brought so many of those things back to life, so really the whole entire trip experience has been a part of me brought back to life.”

Remaining in contact

The hometown trip also gave her the opportunity to both reconnect with former classmates and to see what God has done with the young ministry.

“I definitely have a more personal connection with [the trip],” Seefeldt said. “Two of the students we’re working with at Tokay High School now were freshmen when I was there, and one of them I discipled when I was there as a senior.”

The mentoring program through CSP provides the opportunity for Seefeldt and the team to continue their discipleship and training with the student leaders when the distance restricts the amount of visits they can make. Through Skype, they’re able to stay connected with the student leaders of Lodi.

“I've seen them become more interested in leadership. It’s been cool to see them have this desire to be better leaders and better influencers, really,” sophomore computer science major Brayden Stewart said.

Team grows in strength and unity

While the trip definitely impacted the students they trained, it had a special influence on the CSP members themselves. Seeing all of the training come to life within the students they encouraged and discipled, sophomore biblical studies major Brian Glaze said that the team saw much growth and a joy and strength to continue.

“The trip was really empowering. Sometimes you just get this lull, but sometimes you get to see people become impassioned, and it really did wonderful things for me,” Glaze stated. “They just kept pouring out their joy into us, and I thought it was so amazing.”

Seefeldt especially felt that ministering on her home turf was a way of keeping the greater perspective, the global church, in mind for herself and the others as well.

“I could lead this trip to Lodi and know how I can do ministry in my own country and even my own city, in this case, while also keeping the big perspective alive,” Seefeldt said.

Through these specially tailored Hometown missions, CSP members have seen that even in their own hometowns, there is always going to be ministry of believers they can encourage and equip for better leadership and evangelism in the body of Christ.     

“It’s not just about us, it’s not just about Lodi, it’s about the global church, and those two balance each other out,” Seefeldt said. “If you just think of one, you’re going to miss the other.”

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