By: Ashley Starry
Growing up as a youth pastor’s kid, I watched many students attend Super Summer year after year. Being around them on a weekly basis, I knew that they loved Jesus. However, something was wildly infectious when they came home from this unique conference of Ohio’s student leaders. Super Summer trains and equips students to fulfill Scripture’s call on their lives to stand united with other believers and live out the gospel in their everyday lives ultimately fulfilling God’s charge to all believers in Matthew 28:19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations baptizing in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Ultimately, I desired this mission to be a driving force in my life also.
In 2009, after finishing 7th grade, I walked into Super Summer as an impressionable Red Schooler, eagerly expecting God to show up and shape my life. I was radically changed by the introduction of a toolbox! No matter what school you first walk into, you are handed this life changing toolbox… this foundation of thinking – about God and you and everyone else. Each year students are given more precious tools to fill their box, developing a deeper love for Christ and more effective ways to communicate the gospel in their Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth. Not to mention, they make life long bonds with peers from all over the state. Super Summer can become a never ending network of beautiful relationships that stretch across the globe. These friendships are so encouraging because they help us know that we are ultimately never standing alone. We are the church… a mighty army… with one mission… one Lord… and one goal. There are many Super Summer alumni that are boldly leaving their lives behind and grasping their toolbox as they surrender to the foreign mission field, while others are standing faithful in their own Judea and Samaria using their toolboxes to advance the gospel where they are. I have the extraordinary privilege to do both. In 2010, I went on my first mission trip to Seattle, Washington. In 2011, I embarked on my first foreign mission trip to Nicaragua. In 2012 I journeyed to Haiti, and 2013 I had the incredible opportunity to partner with Finish Line Ministries International to share Christ in Malawi, Africa. After graduating high school, I teamed up with NAMB and served alongside a group of college students on a team called Invigorate. We had tremendous opportunities to share Christ on college campuses in several different states as well as other ministry opportunities. In 2016, I traveled with a small group of college students from First Baptist Church of Vandalia to bring the light of the gospel to Southeast Asia. One of the biggest lessons God taught me on one of my mission trips was that I needed to be as burdened about the lost people who live around me as I do for those on the other side of the world. While I was in cosmetology school I found one of my greatest mission fields. I knew that God led me there to be salt and light to those who did not yet know Him.
I truly believe that Super Summer gave me a wonderful gift. There, I learned what a Biblical worldview is. I learned how to serve others and be others centered instead of self-centered. I learned to look for opportunities to love others and share the greatest gift that anyone could ever receive. I was given tools in my toolbox so I didn’t have to go to the mission field (at home or abroad) unprepared.
This summer I get the privilege to return to Super Summer as a FLC (family leader coordinator) for the incoming 2017 Red Schoolers. It’s amazing to think of all the wonderful things God has done for me, and I am so excited to get to share with these students about what a great God we serve and how meaningful it is to pour out our lives for His glory.