Serving our neighbors and equipping them to embrace their God-given potential for the good of our community.
Spring 2018 Newsletter
This past winter has been a season of remarkable transformation for the Éleos Ministry. As we pressed pause on Open Gym from the holiday season of 2017 through February 2018, the Lord graciously provided the time and opportunity to complete renovations on our new co-work/tutoring space, which will allow us to develop Éleos into a multi-faceted outreach. As the renovation work drew to a close, God recently made a way for us to resume Tuesday night Open Gym activities.
Due to the fact that the Phillis Wheatley Community Center is undergoing renovations and the outdoor courts at the Nicholtown Community Center were simply too cold during the winter, our ministry was in need of a new venue. Upon learning of our need, Sterling Elementary School graciously agreed to open up their gym and cafeteria to Éleos every Tuesday night through the end of the school year. Once again, God has provided throughout a season which, from the outside, might seem stagnant. God’s work of community restoration and individual salvation presses forward, and we are so grateful for the opportunity to partner with Him in this endeavor.
Perhaps the most gratifying experience of this past winter was to see the culmination of volunteer and contracted labor efforts invested in the co-work/tutoring space, a space we call the Éleos CO-OP. Countless hours spent by faithful volunteers and professionals have demonstrated the power of the Church. The clearest example of God’s unifying power was seen as the body of the Church, made up of volunteers from various congregations across the Upstate of South Carolina, joined together with a singular vision of a restored, invigorated, and gospel-saturated Nicholtown.
As in any major renovation, there were days that certainly felt as though we had taken on a never-ending project. I believe I represent all of our volunteers when I write that it was more than worth the hours and weekends spent working on the new space. I would also be remiss if I did not mention that some of us picked up some new skills along the way, not the least of which was the ability to speed read a veritable library of Ikea instructions.
In light of the imminent opening of the CO-OP, the word about our tutoring and mentoring programs is spreading throughout Nicholtown. A significant number of volunteers have communicated their willingness to tutor and/or mentor a student. Nevertheless, Éleos continues to have need for those who are ready and able to consistently invest time out of their week to assist a student with homework, read and study the Bible in a one-on-one or group setting, or to simply be a faithful presence in the life of a middle or high schooler.
With these programs in mind, Éleos has reorganized its leadership to support its many volunteers: from those playing basketball, to local church small groups providing meals on Tuesday nights, to tutors and mentors encouraging students each week. We encourage you to learn more about our programs and directors on our website at https://eleosministry.com/.
It is with great excitement that we are able to say that Open Gym has officially resumed! As previously mentioned, Sterling School has opened up their gym and cafeteria for Éleos to utilize on Tuesday nights through the end of the school year. We are considering where Open Gym will be held over the summer, and we are confident the Lord will provide. We were encouraged by the turnout of the first night back on the courts after our hiatus, and we anticipate greater participation among students as Open Gym continues through the spring.
Open gyms are a critical platform for developing relationships with students. Between basketball, Q+A sessions, and dinner time, our hope is that relationships built on the court will continue to develop off the court, primarily in the new tutoring space. Please join us in praying that God will continue to deepen previously established relationships and that new friendships will arise.
Q+A time, which follows basketball on Tuesday nights, was recently restructured with the introduction of a new platform that gives students the opportunity to submit questions anonymously. As you can imagine, asking a question that is personal in nature is an uncomfortable experience, especially in a large group of teenagers. Students can now send in their questions via an online tool, and our volunteers will have the opportunity to review those questions ahead of time.
Not only will this allow for thoughtful preparation prior to Tuesday night, it will also encourage students to ask questions without any hesitation. We are excited to begin utilizing this tool for our Q+A time, and we believe it will facilitate a more honest and in-depth discussion that deepens the students’ understanding of God and the nature of His love and mercy.
As Éleos continues throughout the spring and summer, we hope to show what Éleos looks like from a student’s perspective by sharing some of their thoughts and ideas in our quarterly newsletter. We encourage you to keep an eye out for these segments throughout the year!
We at Éleos want to express our sincere gratitude for all of our volunteers, supporters, and donors. Éleos would not exist without the steadfast faithfulness of the Church. Your actions and prayers breathe life into a community that yearns for God’s transformative love. Indeed, God has proven His love again and again and we trust he’ll continue to do so!
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.”
-1 Peter 1:3-4