This summer, Santa Rosa Beach Community Church had the privilege of hosting 130 students and leaders for Kaleo 2019.
Kaleo is a Student Mobilization ministry of college students that equips them in discipleship and evangelism. Students come from their respective colleges to communities across the United States for the sole purpose to partner together in missions and grow closer to the Lord. This ministry has been coming to the Emerald Coast area for several years for about nine weeks of the summer.
The Kaleo mission starts well before their arrival, as the students from the University of Central Arkansas and the University of Arkansas raised their own support to come to the local area over the course of the year. Once here, each student found a local job in the community working 35 hours a week and committed to meet regularly for small group Bible study, large group training sessions and weekly missions’ projects — all of which provide opportunities for them to share Christ’s light and love. On Sundays, the students worshiped with several churches in the local area.
On July 14, Community Church hosted a special night of celebration for the work God did in and through their lives this summer. Friends from Hope on the Beach Lutheran Church brought over their awesome grill masters to assist in cooking some great hamburgers. People packed the Community Church fellowship hall and provided the students a meal accompanied with Southern hospitality.
After dinner, everyone moved into the church sanctuary for a time of worship with music, personal testimonies and prayer. Students shared from the heart about all the amazing things they experienced over the summer and thanked God for His work among them.
One of the church members who attended and assisted in serving the students’ meal shared, “Just a short note to let you know how uplifting it was to help serve at the recent barbecue. I hadn't originally planned to attend but overheard there might not be very many members attending this year.
"Once there I was so encouraged by the spirit demonstrated by these young people. While standing by the food table I was approached by several of them, thanked profusely and given a big hug. My contribution to this event was small but it surprisingly meant a lot me. I won't miss another one.”
This sentiment was shared by all who took part in this amazing ministry.
The students headed back to Arkansas the last Friday in July to begin preparations for the upcoming school year. They would like to return to the local area next summer, but they are having trouble securing a place to stay within a reasonable price range. The rates have continued to increase, but the benefit and blessing these students bring to the community should be considered. Prayers are welcome about this need for the students to come, serve, and grow and to find a place within their operating budget that would be conducive to their needs.