NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Mennonite youth continue to help spread Bethel College’s emphasis on service from its booth at the Mennonite Youth Convention in Pittsburgh, well over a year later.
Sept. 16, Bethel Associate Director of Admissions Clark Oswald visited First Mennonite Church in Morton, Ill., to participate in Sunday morning worship and present a check for $500 to Mark Nabers, a high school senior from the congregation.
At the convention, Bethel sponsored a Mennonite trivia scavenger hunt in which youth filled out cards with answers and then entered them in daily drawings. The four winners each got $500 for a charity or service project of their choice.
Nabers chose to give his check to the Prenatal Intensive Care Unit at St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria, Ill. “He told me, ‘This is where I started my life – I thought the money should go there,’” Oswald said.
Oswald spoke briefly to the First Mennonite congregation. “I shared that the Morton-Hopedale area is where a lot of my ancestors made their first stop on their way west to Nebraska, and I was grateful to worship with them that morning,” he said. “I talked about Bethel’s convention booth having a purpose, that our message was consistent with what the youth experience [at convention] during the week – learning how to live like Christ, service projects and so on.
“When I brought Mark [up front], I noted his card was from Thursday, which meant he came back multiple days to complete the Mennonite trivia,” Oswald continued. “I said Mark’s [repeat] appearances at our booth to complete the cards were a reflection on the congregation in shaping this young man.”
He added, “A number of people came up to me after the service to thank me for my presentation, and tell me they thought what Bethel did was great and they were happy we picked Mark’s name.”
Oswald presented the first check last fall to Karli Mast, a student at Western Mennonite School in Salem, Ore., and a member of Zion Mennonite Church, Hubbard, Ore.
Mast chose to donate the money to Drift Creek Camp, a Mennonite camp in Oregon’s Coast Range mountains. “I have been going to summer camp there since I was in first grade,” Mast said, “and now I am a senior in high school and I have not missed a year.” She plans to counsel at the camp next summer.
“I have been so blessed to be able to go there and that place has impacted my life so much,” she continued. “I wanted to be able to give back – hopefully, the donation can help with making the same impact Drift Creek made in my life in the lives of others.”
There will be two more check presentations, at Pinto Mennonite Church in Cumberland, Md., and Weavers Mennonite Church in Harrisonburg, Va.
Bethel College is the only private college in Kansas listed in the 2012-13 Forbes.com analysis of premier colleges and universities in the United States and ranks in the top five “Best Baccalaureate Colleges” in the Washington Monthly annual college guide for 2012-13. The four-year liberal arts college is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. For more information, see www.bethelks.edu.