The Highland Church of Christ student and university ministries teamed up over spring break to minister to the neighborhoods around the church during Restoration Week.
Highland members, as well as a few local organizations around Abilene, volunteered to manage five- to 10-block radiuses focusing on doing what they could for the communities around them. The purpose for Restoration Week, which was March 8-15, was to form new relationships and continue to develop existing one.
Bailey Cate, one of two resident university ministers at Highland, said there were many positive takeaways from Restoration Week.
“As a team we were able to pray over more than 4,000 neighbors in our community and complete more than 70 service projects,” said Cate, junior communication major from Fremont, Nebraska.
Wade Casey, the other resident university minister at Highland, said the week went well.
“We met new neighbors and furthered relationships with many friends,” he said. “We prayed over all the homes in the neighborhoods surrounding Highland’s three campuses, and we were able to complete all the projects we received from our neighbors.
Casey said while Restoration Week was a great start, he anticipates more work with the community.
“What is yet to be seen is how well we will continue to engage with and befriend those who live near us,” he said.
Casey said going into the neighborhood was challenging but rewarding.
“Not all people welcomed us or wanted to talk to us, and that was totally fine,” Casey said. “Many people who responded positively just wanted to have someone listen to them, others needed groceries and others, yard work.”
Casey said the week was full of cool moments that gave volunteers the opportunity to tend to others in a loving way.
“The intentionality of the week allowed us to more more fully embody our Christian commitments,” he said. “As is often the case, the challenge now is to routinize those convictions in everything we do. My favorite part of the week was seeing the variety of people who came to the evening community events.”
Casey said the people involvedÂ were diverse and came together to eat and get to know one another better.
“It was a splendid image of the diverse and extensive community we call the church,” he said.
Cate said she also enjoyed the experience of Restoration Week, such as seeing students experience Jesus in real life.
“I loved hearing about the relationships they built and how that will impact them for the rest of their lives,” Cate said. “Highland is not surrounded by strangers anymore; we have neighbors, and they are our friends.”
Casey said Highland Church of Christ plans to have Restoration Week for many years to come.
“Highland will do Restoration Week again next year,” he said. “It is a great way to set the right tempo for how we are to live the rest of the year.”