Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Advent Conspiracy

This is a great video and I truly believe it exemplifies what CSM tries to do year-round. Give the gift of relationship - especially to the "least of these" that the world overlooks. The greatest gift the Lord ever gave us was a personal relationship - share that with someone!

[AC] Advent Conspiracy from Jon Collins on Vimeo.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas is coming! Here's a little help...

Check out these great websites for fun freebies this Christmas season:

Simply Youth Ministry - Great youth group ideas (games, skits, etc)

Elf Yourself! - Thanks to our friends at OfficeMax you, too, can be "elfed"!

Find these and other fun extras at Youth Ministry Exchange - a great resource for anyone working with youth!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Season of Expectancy

Greetings friends!

There’s a sense of expectancy in the air – I suppose it’s what I love most about this season. We expect the cozy traditions of trees and sweet smells and familiar songs. We also expect the unexpected as we tear open gifts on Christmas morning and find out what Santa has left in our stocking.

In the Christmas story we encounter a faithful man named Simeon. He lived his life waiting for what had been promised to him – that he would see the Messiah before he died. In Luke 2 we see the promise fulfilled … for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people…

In our work in the city, I find that we often wait in expectancy:

You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the Lord your God, who has worked wonders for you; never again will my people be shamed. Joel 2:26

‘…there will be heard once more the sounds of joy and gladness, the voices of bride and bridegroom, and the voices of those who bring thank offerings to the house of the Lord, saying, “Give thanks to the Lord Almighty, for the Lord is good; his love endures forever.” For I will restore the fortunes of the land as they were before,’ says the Lord. Jeremiah 33:10-11

What we find in the midst of an imperfect world are glimpses of what is to come. As we expect these things we watch and wait eagerly. We serve, expecting His kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven.

What a joy and honor to live and work in Houston. I’ve been reminded this holiday season that my work with CSM is far more than schedules and mission trips and students and ministry sites, but it’s about seeing things come to pass that have been promised thousands of years ago. Just as Simeon knew that this baby would change everything, as I encounter Christ in the city my world can be changed. As I look into the eyes of children, refugees, those who are homeless, addicted or hurting, may I expect great things.

And so I pray this for you – my friends, family and faithful supporters. May you wait expectantly for great things. May the reality of Christ fill your lives in ways that far surpass what you could hope or imagine this holiday season.

- Megan Breed, CSM Houston Associate City Director

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Be the Church!

Just found this awesome quote...

“Church isn’t where you meet. Church isn’t a building. Church is what you do. Church is who you are. Church is the human outworking of the person of Jesus Christ. Let’s not go to Church, let’s be the Church.”
- Bridget Willard

How are you "being the Church"??

Thursday, November 29, 2007

CSM Nashville Partner Ministry Serves Homeless Families

From the Nashville City Paper, November 15, 2007

Safe Haven Focuses on the Family Side of Homelessness

As she walked in the front door of Nashville’s Safe Haven Family Shelter, the woman who held her daughter tightly by the hand could have been mistaken for one of the dozen prospective shelter volunteers.

And while it was clear she was of far more modest means than the crowd of business people who had just left, it wasn’t her clothes but her trepidation — and her daughter — that conveyed her real reason for coming to the shelter on Wednesday.

“Uh, yes, I need to speak to someone,” the woman, who asked not to be identified, said. She paused, sighed briefly and took a deep breath. “We’re… well, we’re homeless.”

Keep on reading...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

CSM San Francisco Bay Area Ministry Expands

CSM's capacity in the San Francisco Bay Area has just expanded! New housing opportunities in Oakland have enabled us to increase the number of serving groups we can accept at our SF Bay Area site. We are also growing the number of ministry opportunities throughout the Bay Area to further deepen our reach into the surrounding communities.
"We are very excited about this new opportunity," says Noel Becchetti, CSM's President. "Our new relationships with housing partners in the East Bay will equip us to better engage the San Francisco Bay Area for what it is--an urban region where opportunities for ministry, and the involvement of our groups, exist throughout the area. While we will continue to minister full-blast in San Francisco, our serving groups will be able to experience what God is doing in the area in a greater way.
"CSM groups in San Francisco are already serving at ministry sites in Oakland, Richmond, and other parts of the Bay Area. This expansion enables us to continue what we have been doing for the past eight years even more effectively."
For more information on how you can take advantage of our increased capacity, contact our home office at; for more specific questions, you can contact Andy or Heidi Fox, our SF Bay Area City Directors. They can be reached at Andy at and Heidi at

Monday, November 05, 2007

Great Indy Film of Karaoke Night on Skid Row!

Check out this GREAT independent film about Karaoke Night on Skid Row (hosted by Central City Community Outreach for LA's homeless). It's a wonderful peek into one of the ministries CSM partners with!

Monday, October 22, 2007


Resilience. That would be the word I would use if I were to describe in one word the main characteristic of children here in Los Angeles, especially those who find themselves in a situation outside of their control on Skid Row.

A little background. The children who end up on Skid Row usually do so because they follow their parents into the "promised land" from some Latin American country, looking for a new life filled with at least the promise of opportunity. However, gaining citizenship in the country is getting more difficult, and desperation runs high. The parents come into the country illegally, not knowing the language very well, and end up getting taken advantage of by one of the 4,000 illegal sweatshops that run virtually undetected in the city of Los Angeles. The sweatshops don't pay nearly enough, so the families are forced to check in to run down hotels in Skid Row, or simply sleep on the streets. During the day, the kids are taken to school as early as 7am at 9th Street Elementary, where underpaid teachers try their best to communicate with children who are having a difficult enough time living in their surroundings, much less learn a language that is completely foreign. Then at night they are forced back out into the streets where they are susceptible to drugs, violence, abuse and neglect.

The children know where they live. They're not dumb. Just a month ago, some gang members shot an immigrant street vendor near MacArthur Park because he refused to pay them "rent." The vendor survived, but the month-old baby who was caught in the cross-fire did not. Adults weren't the only ones who heard that horrible news.

And yet, I have the chance to play with these kids on a regular basis at Las Familias Del Pueblo, an after-school program for many of the kids at 9th Street Elementary. And the overwhelming sense I get from these kids is that, despite their surroundings, despite the fact that most of them sadly have not been given much of a chance, they haven't lost their joy or their hope. They know at a very young age that it is likely they will end up dead before they reach high school, and that if they do get through high school, they won't be able to afford college. But every time I walk in there, that doesn't matter to them. They just want to play, because sometimes playing is the only thing you can do. As they jump all over me, playing tag and wanting piggy-back rides, I admire their resilience, and in a sense, their bravery. I am not convinced I would survive one day in what they have known their whole lives.

All of this makes me think of a popular story in the Gospel of John. Jesus is talking to a Pharisee named Nicodemus, and he says that unless someone is born again, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God. Nicodemus is confused, wondering how a man can re-enter a mother's womb. Jesus corrects him and points out that one must be born from above in order to experience the Kingdom. Now, many, including myself, conclude that this means that we need to accept Jesus as our saviour - as the only way for us to see the Father and have true, unending life. But I think Jesus is at more than just what we see. I think Jesus really wants us to become childlike again (he makes many references child likeness being synonymous with the Kingdom quality of life). I think what he wants us to do is unlearn all of the crap that we carry around with us and simply grab on to joy and hope. He wants us to forget about all the reasons why we shouldn't be joyful or why we shouldn't have hope. He wants us to be like those children of 9th Street Elementary, jumping on some strangers back, simply because playing is the most important thing one can do.

As I reflect on my past month here in LA, noticing all the things in this city that go horribly wrong, I desperately need to learn to play. I need it for my heart, my soul and for my faith. Hopefully I can learn a thing or two from some of these angels at 9th Street. They have already taught me a lot.

-Dave, CSM LA 2007 Fall City Host

Read more of Dave's blog...

Thursday, October 18, 2007

National Youth Worker's Convention

This weekend is the National Youth Worker's Convention in San Diego. CSM will be a there as a part of the exhibition hall. Come find us and say hello! You can even fill out a short survey and get entered to win fun CSM apparel.
Check out the NYWC website to find out when they'll be in St. Louis and Atlanta as well!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The 2007 "Vendy Awards"

NYC just finished up the annual "Vendy Awards" - rewarding the city's greatest street vendors. Check out this delicious video from the NY Times and we guarantee not only will your mouth will begin to water, but you may be headed to the closest gyros joint!
You can also take a look at the Vendy Award website to learn more about this year's finalists!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

"Missionary Group Learns Life Lessons"

A group from Hopkinton, MA traveled across the continent to serve with us this summer in San Francisco. Here's a great article from their newspaper sharing what they learned how they've changed since their time with CSM.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

2nd Annual International Weekend of Prayer and Fasting for the Victims of Human Trafficking - Sept. 28—30, 2007

" He said, "Don't worry about it—there are more on our side than on their side."
Then Elisha prayed, "O God, open his eyes and let him see."
The eyes of the young man were opened and he saw. A wonder! The whole mountainside full of horses and chariots of fire surrounding Elisha! "
-2 Kings 6:16-17, The Message

This upcoming weekend (Sept. 28-30) is the 2nd annual International Weekend of Prayer and Fasting for the Victims of Human Trafficking. Hosted by the Salvation Army, you can check out their website for more information on how you or your group can get involved!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Great Philly Trip Reflection!

"This summer I went on my first missions trip to Philly with CSM. It was one of the best experiences of my life.

Getting to serve the people of Philadelphia alongside my youth group and friends, and showing them God's love was amazing.

My younger brother was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy when I was 10. I had accepted Jesus Christ to become my personal savior one year before. Two months before we had moved across the country from Kansas to Virginia. God has been making some major changes in my life from then on and still is.

I thought I had some ups and downs so far in my life, that was until I went to Philly. I realized, I was the luckiest kid in the world to have a loving family, a house, a life, but most importantly a God who loves me and cares about me. I also realized that there are so many people that I can help. I always thought "there are billions of people in the world, how can just one teenager like me go up against that many people? My answer, GOD!

I want to really thank you, CSM, for giving me a life-changing experience and for giving me the opportunity to go to this great city. I also want to thank my youth group, my youth pastors and friends.

Thanks again, and God Bless you all!"

-CSM trip participant from VA

Want to learn how you can serve the people of Philadelphia? Visit our website!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

CSM Host's Perspective

A day in the life of a CSM staff person is never easy. It’s rarely glamorous and you don’t get a whole lot of sleep. But the rewards and benefits of the job far outweigh all of that. I’m talking about the relationships built, the people served, and the lives changed. This summer I have worked long hours and traveled miles and miles of subways but I would do it over in a heartbeat. I have had the opportunity to lead young students in working with different ministries all over New York City. What CSM provides for students wanting to get more involved in urban ministry is priceless. They get a first hand experience, working with people who live on the streets, who eat in soup kitchens, and who work in food pantries. They get to experience the world in need and are provided with opportunities to help. My hope in coming and serving with CSM this summer was that the students I worked with would not only have a great “mission trip” experience for a week, but that they would have a life-changing moment and realize that serving others is what this life is all about. That they should not only dedicate a week of their time to people in need, but they can devote their lives to those who need help. This is what attracted me to CSM and what I hope will continue to attract others as well.
-Emily Strickler, CSM New York Summer 2007 City Host

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Say What? (Part 2)

Question: "What was your favorite ministry site?"

"My favorite ministry site would have to be Marillac House. Marillac House is a Daycare type thing that a bunch of kids go to during the day. There is also a thrift shop right across the street from it called Nifty Thrifty, and it was also a part of Marillac House. I worked in the Thrift Store all week except for Friday morning. In the Thrift Store, there were clothes, kitchenware, furniture, books, movies, CD's, TV’s, toys - basically anything you would find at a Wal-Mart but a lot cheaper. What my group had to do was go through donated clothes, price them and hang them up. But, if there was anything that you wouldn't wear or you know someone that wouldn't wear that, then don't price it - just throw it in the recycle pile. Patty, the manager of the store, said that they get so many donations in that it was okay to just get rid of the ones you couldn't see anyone wearing, and I was a bit confused for awhile about why we were supposed to just throw this stuff out. Then it hit me. Why would we put something out that was in perfectly good condition, but something no one would wear? Well, because we don't want them to feel inferior because they have cheaper clothes. The motto of the Thrift Store said something about how everyone should be treated with dignity no matter what their income was. If you ask me, that's a superb motto."

"I liked the neighborhood immersion around North Park, which is the most ethnically diverse area in Chicago. We talked to people from all different cultures and learned about them. The Youth experienced true Korean hospitality; we sampled soft drinks from Korea and pastries from the Middle East. We learned about fava beans and talked to street vendors. It was a great, ‘flavorful’ adventure which opened many of our eyes to the beauty in the differences and similarities between all peoples."

Friday, August 24, 2007

Say What? (Part 1)

As we begin to wrap up the summer here at CSM, we wanted to give you a moment to share about your time in the city. Have an experience you want to share?? Email us!

The following are answers to the question "What did you learn?" from a group that served in Chicago with CSM:

"I feel as if God showed me again the importance of being part of his plan to restore creation. This is his vision. The image of seeing a group of people "sent' to love others was eye-opening. In addition to that, I have come to realize that mission does not just refer to loving people whose name we do not know, but living lovingly to those around us. I saw community form in our group which is also an image of the Kingdom of God which we are called to be a part."

"This week I realized that God’s purpose is for all Christians to be like Jesus and to do God’s will. This week has allowed me to open my heart and listen to what God is trying to tell me. I felt God at work in my heart by putting a desire there to bring our mission work home to Gardner and to continue to help those in need."

"God’s purpose is simple, yet complex, and truly the complexity comes through our on sin. God’s purpose is to further the kingdom on earth. When we sin we distance ourselves from our neighbors across the street, in another part of the town, our families and those around the world. Our “us” vs. “them” mentality builds systems of separation in government agencies, the military, social-economic structures, even religious groups. These systems of separation put many in the judgment seat on a daily basis. We can all work to change these systems through small acts of kindness and mercy such as lending an ear, seeing and responding to needs around us. We can also take a stand by undoing systemic injustice in policy and community life (bigotry, socio-economic status and cultural discrimination) and how we treat all people. God made all people. God sees the good in his creations and loves all people. God expects us to do the same. We need to think more about “We” as a community in this way."

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Top 10 Social Justice Videos

Check out Visual Faith's Top 10 Social Justice Videos - get inspired, share with others and do something great for God!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

CHANGE THE WORLD...and grab a pizza

Want to change the city? Go grab a pizza.

More specifically, go grab a pizza at the Lou Malnati's Pizzeria on West Ogden Avenue in Chicago.

"So how," you ask, "will my scarfing down a large pepperoni change the city?" The answer to that question is a fascinating story of how the church and private enterprise can work together to change peoples' lives for the Kingdom.

West Ogden Avenue runs through Lawndale, one of Chicago's poorest and toughest neighborhoods. One reason why Lawndale is in such trouble that poverty begats poverty. As economic conditions decline, businesses leave--taking with them desperately-needed jobs and the income they generate. It makes for a bleak urban landscape, with little hope for improvement.

That is, until Wayne Gordon of Lawndale Community Church approached the Malnati brothers. Wayne, along with a dedicated and talented multi-ethnic team, has developed an amazing ministry in Lawndale--including neighborhood renovation, sports programs, a full-service medical clinic, counseling, and much more. But with all the great things the church has accomplished, the lack of jobs for Lawndale's young people and adults loomed as a chronic sore. So when Wayne, who knows the Malnati brothers well (they're strong Christians), heard that they were contemplating opening a tenth store, he challenged them: "Why don't you tithe this store?" They accepted the challenge, and opened a Lou Malnati's right across the street from the church. They hired their staff from within the neighborhood, invested a ton of time and money in training and management, opened their doors, and hoped for the best. Oh--and any profits from the restaurant will be donated to Lawndale Community Church (there's a plaque by the front door that says so). Is that cool, or what?

Except that one problem quickly surfaced: the restaurant was losing money big time. The 90-95% of the Lawndale community who are law-abiding citizens tend to stay indoors at night, as we would if we were in their shoes. Night after night, the restaurant was deserted.

The Malnati brothers finally approached Wayne to let him know that they'd decided between themselves the maximum amount of money they were willing to lose before they'd be forced to close their doors. "We don't want to tell you the amount," they said. "But we're getting close."

So what does God do but bump Kyle and I into Wayne at an urban ministry conference right around that time. He shared the situation with us--and we got a brainstorm. "Wayne, we're going to put every single one of our CSM groups into that restaurant during their mission trip, even if it's miles out of their way. They're going to enjoy the pizza, meet the staff, and hear the story of what you guys are trying to do. It will be a ministry in itself."

The restaurant is still open. CSM might be its single biggest customer. And our groups are performing a vital ministry, learning firsthand about the issues inner-city neighborhoods face, and stuffing their faces with great pizza--all at the same time.

Only God could put together something as fun as this. Oh, and if you're ever in Chicago, drop in to Lou's place on West Ogden. I recommend the Stuffed Special.

- Noel Becchetti, President

Monday, August 13, 2007

Mission Group Tours Underworld of Chicago

"At the mention of Chicago, thoughts that first come to mind are the Magnificent Mile’s skyline, the loveable Cubs and it’s pizza, but beneath those pleasures is a whole different world. It’s one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the country and the busy streets are littered with crime and homelessness.

For a group from Tipp City United Methodist Church the Windy City was the final destination, but the real trip was from out of the safe confines of their hometown..."

Keep on reading from the Tipp City Independent Voice!

Mission Group Tours Underworld of Chicago

"At the mention of Chicago, thoughts that first come to mind are the Magnificent Mile’s skyline, the loveable Cubs and it’s pizza, but beneath those pleasures is a whole different world. It’s one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the country and the busy streets are littered with crime and homelessness.

For a group from Tipp City United Methodist Church the Windy City was the final destination, but the real trip was from out of the safe confines of their hometown..."

Keep on reading from the Tipp City Independent Voice!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

CSM in the News: Mission Group Tours Underworld of Chicago

At the mention of Chicago, thoughts that first come to mind are the Magnificent Mile’s skyline, the loveable Cubs and it’s pizza, but beneath those pleasures is a whole different world. It’s one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the country and the busy streets are littered with crime and homelessness.

For a group from Tipp City United Methodist Church the Windy City was the final destination, but the real trip was from out of the safe confines of their hometown.

Read the entire article...

Thursday, August 02, 2007

NPR: Critics Hit Chicago Public Housing Efforts

There have been big changes recently in Chicago's public housing. NPR recently came out with a great piece explaining the complex issue that is now having an effect on many who inhabit "Chi-town". PLEASE PRAY for those that are now caught in transition and for those that are in power.

Learn how you can serve the people of Chicago with CSM.

Friday, July 27, 2007

CSM DC in the News!!

Our DC City Director, Mark Harmon, was recently interviewed by Relevant Magazine for a piece entitled "Homelessness and Hope in the Capitol"...

"The story of Washington, D.C., tells a tale of two cities. One of them is an epicenter of wealth and power, the seat of the most powerful government in the world. It is a tourist hotspot that attracts millions to the National Mall to marvel at monuments to past presidents and soldiers. It is a hub of education, boasting the Smithsonian museums and several major universities.

The other is a small Southern city, wrought with fascinating history and populated by individuals who fled north following the Civil War. Being in the shadow of the Capitol has not spared it the plights that have plagued other major urban areas. It’s now speckled with construction cranes that attest to renewed efforts to revitalize a once economically dragging metropolitan area.
Gentrification is the cure, and new Starbucks and high-rise condos are the medicine. As wealthy professionals have moved back into the city, murder rates have fallen from 482 in 1991, an all-time high and a figure that briefly bestowed the city the title of “Murder capital of the United States,” to fewer than 200 in 2005. Violent crime, assault and robbery have seen similar drops per capita. Urban renewal is not without its drawbacks—unseating established neighborhoods and causing property values to skyrocket out of reach for many families. Some have been forced into inadequate or overcrowded living conditions. And the city continues to suffer from a burgeoning homeless population and one of the highest-spending, poorest-performing public school systems in the country.

Mark Harmon has seen much transition in the city. Harmon has been in the area for 27 years, and runs the Washington branch of the Center for Student Missions (CSM), an organization that brings groups into the city to work with various ministries and agencies in hopes of educating the participants about social problems while strengthening their faith and solidifying their groups. CSM maintains a permanent presence in Washington as well as eight other large cities across the country..."

Read the rest of the article...

Monday, July 23, 2007

First Congregational Church Serves San Fran

Day 1 - San Francisco

Sunday, July 1

Our morning started off early as we met at the church at 6:15am to check in before leaving for the Boston Airport. Several Elders came to pray for us, along with family and friends. Thank you to those who came early to send us off.

The flight was uneventful. It was a 6 hours trip from Boston to San Francisco. The in-flight movie was less than exciting, Blades of Glory, but the company was great. We were seated all together in the middle of the plane.

During the flight we completed our devotions for the first day. Today’s theme was, “I Am a Servant First” based on 1 Tim 1:12-17.

After landing, we quickly got our luggage and got into our 5 rental mini vans, we are a group of 27, to drive across the Golden Gate Bridge. We stopped near the bridge to enjoy scenery, stretch our legs and take some pictures before heading off to the Center for Student Missions (CSM) for check-in at 5pm.

We are staying in a church in two large rooms, one for the guys and one for the girls. We are sleeping on bunk beds and everyone has a mattress.

After settling in and having a brief orientation we headed out to supper to a Vietnamese/Chinese restaurant. The food was outstanding and we all had to eat with chop sticks.

After dinner we headed out in our vans for a prayer tour of the city. This was a combination prayer time and information session. We learned tons about the city and the people who live here….both the wealthy and the poor.

We prayed individually and in groups but mostly our eyes were opened to the plight of the poorest of the poor. As we looked out over the lights of the city we were challenged to be light to the world for Christ. The final question posed by our guild as we completed the tour was, “where would Jesus be hanging out if he were in the city tonight?”

Our evening ended with a debrief of our day’s devotions and the prayer tour. Matt sent us off to bed at 11pm (2am Boston time) with a worship song and we all quickly fell asleep after a long day of travel, anxious for the day ahead and hopeful of the week ahead.

Read the rest of this church's blog entries...

GREAT BIG thanks to First Congregational Church of Hopkinton, MA for serving the people of San Francisco. You, too, can serve in the city - learn how!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Elaina's Story

Elaina* doesn't speak English, and doesn't understand it very well either. Her step-mother abuses her and she doesn't know what happened to her real mom. She tries very hard in school and is doing fairly well, but a lot of the other children shun her because she doesn't speak English. I asked her what her favorite thing to eat was, and she told me she didn’t really care as long as she had food. This little girl was by far the greatest blessing of my summer thus far, and my interaction with her was truly of God's making. I struggle with Spanish and foreign languages in general. Through a power that I know was not my own, I found myself recalling Spanish that I never thought I would remember. I found myself actually conversing with her in Spanish. It was somewhat broken, and our conversation was limited by the small number of verbs I know, but what I remembered was exactly what I needed. She tried to give me a dollar. What broke my heart was when she told me that she thought she needed to pay me to be her friend. After a long conversation, slowed by my slow memory, I was able to explain to her that she didn't need to give me money for me to like her. I finally got her to put the money back in her bag and I was able to get a big hug before I left for the day. The world she lives in is so different from my own, yet somehow we found each other. God in His grace allowed me to befriend her, and even more graciously allowed me to be embraced by her tiny little arms.

The question I then find myself asking is, “God, why bring me into this little girl’s life when I can’t do anything to solve any of her problems?” I find myself asking this about almost every interaction I have with anyone here in LA. But then again, isn’t that true of any interaction I have with anyone, friend or stranger? I can’t change anyone. I can’t fix things. One person cannot change the world. And I am learning to be okay with that. Every person has a story. We all walk a road. Some believe it is a road of our own choosing. Some believe it is laid out for us before we are born. Some don’t believe anything at all. But differences aside, everyone is on a journey through life, and the collisions we have with one another often shape how we will respond when future collisions come. What do I mean by that? I’m still figuring it out. But this I do know; I collide with people. Every. Single. Day. Whether by my choice or not, I go in and out of people’s stories, their journeys, on a moment by moment basis. I may not be able to fix Elaina’s home situation, but I can show her what love is and maybe give her hope for something more. And maybe, ten years from now, someone else will collide with her and be able to show her what it is she’s been hoping for. And maybe no one will. But all I have is now. This one moment to embrace her with everything I have, even though it means my heart will be broken when I have to say goodbye; this one moment to turn away and leave her believing more than ever that no one loves her, because it’s easier for me. I can’t take myself out of her story; like it or not I’m already in it. So the real question I must face is not “Why God?” but “How God?” “How can I take every moment captive and use it for her benefit and the glory of your kingdom?” Maybe someday I’ll figure out a 12-step working answer for that question. I hope I don’t though. I’d rather just keep loving. Yeah it’s a risk, and sometimes I’ll get burned. But in the words of John Keats, “I have been astonished that men could die martyrs for religion ; I have shuddered at it. I shudder no more. I could be martyred for my religion. Love is my religion. I could die for that. I could die for you.” Elaina, it hurts to love you, but I do it anyway. God, give me the courage to love to the point of pain every single day. Like King David, shall I offer what costs me nothing? May it never be.

*Name changed to protect privacy.

-Lisa, 2007 CSM LA City Host

Monday, July 02, 2007

Toronto Reflection

This week in Toronto brought another group from Michigan. Alan and I were co-hosting since the group was of a larger size and we split the team up to go to different ministry sites. During the week, my half served at the Good Shepherd Centre (which provides shelter, food and other services for those in crisis). It is one of my favourite places to serve and it was really exciting to share the experience with my team. At the beginning of the week they were all very shy and reserved but by the end they had all made relationships with different clients at the drop-in.
My team also proved to be very competitive and loved to challenge each other. Part of our time each morning was spent preparing the 91 beds in the shelter. I had never seen those beds made in such record time! At the end of the week two of the girls challenged one of the workers and they raced against each other. It was two against one and whoever could prepare a pair of bunk beds first would be the winner. Well, the girls beat the full-time worker, but only by nine seconds! He even had prizes for them after they won. I was very impressed by the group this week. I believe they were the hardest workers I’ve seen yet. They never complained about the work that was given to them and they focused equally on quality of work.
One thing which really struck the group this week was the strength of the relationships they had built this week. They were shocked to recognize so many of the people from the drop-in as we visited other places throughout the week. One afternoon we handed out water on a particularly hot day and some of them came across a man from the drop-in. He was able to share part of his life with them by letting them help him feed the birds in the park and later on he showed them his portion in the community garden. He tends a small vegetable garden and grows food for himself and his friends during the summer months. It was very special to be able to see him in his own environment and to see other parts of his life.
After seeing the different gifts of groups that come in, it makes me anxious to meet each new one when they arrive. It’s always sad to say goodbye at the end of the week but I truly love watching as God pulls out a group’s talents and uses them in different ways each week.

-Robin, 2007 CSM City Host

Thursday, June 28, 2007

'Jesus Was a Homeless Bum'

"Something awful happened in Bible Study yesterday.
We were looking at a passage from Luke [9:57-62]. People said they wanted to follow Jesus but they all had reasons why they couldn't do it right then. I think Ali Robinson, our Study Leader, was hoping to inspire us to deeper levels of commitment. I was sitting next to her and I saw where she'd written that across the top of her page. It was underlined three times.
As per usual, we went round the group sharing our first response to the passage, and that's when all heck broke out. I said I'd never realized before that Jesus was a homeless bum. Well, it says it right there in the scripture, Sis! 'Foxes have holes... but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.'"

Read the rest of the Wittenburg Door article...

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Philly Ministry Affected By Fire

Hi all!
We just became aware that The Simple Way, a Philadelphia-based ministry, has just been severely affected by a tragic fire. Below is a description of the challenges they now face and a link to their blog. Please pray for this dynamic ministry as they try and rebuild.

"This morning, a 7-alarm fire consumed an abandoned warehouse in our Kensington neighborhood in Philadelphia. The Simple Way Community Center at 3200 Potter Street was destroyed as well as at least eight of our neighbors' homes. Over 100 people were evacuated from their homes, and 400 families are currently without power. Despite this developing tragedy, we are incredibly thankful to share that all of our community members and every one of our neighbors is safely out of harm's way.

This fire will forever change the fabric of our community. Eight families are currently homeless, and in many cases have lost their vehicles as well as their homes. One of our neighbors, the Mahaias Family, lost their three cars as well as the equipment one family member uses for her massage therapy business. Teenager Brian Mahaias is devastated not because he has lost his belongings, but because he fears that this fire will force him to move away from this neighborhood that is his family as well as his home.

The Simple Way has lost a community center that was home to our Yes! And… afterschool program, community arts center, and Cottage Printworks t-shirt micro-business as well as to two of our community members. Community members Shane Claiborne and Jesce Walz have lost all of their belongings, Yes!And…'s after school studio and library were ruined, and community member Justin Donner's Cottage Printworks equipment and t-shirts were destroyed.

We are thankful that we are able to help each other during this time of need, and we will continue to keep your informed about today's events.

We have established funds to support the families who have lost their homes, the Yes! And… afterschool program, and the Simple Way community.

A fund to support the families has been established through a partner organization, EAPE. Tax-deductible donations can be made at . Please make sure to put "Kensington Families Fund" in the memo section.

Donations to the Rebuilding Fund can be made via PayPal to

-The Simple Way Community"

Monday, June 18, 2007

CSM Toronto Update

My second week of official hosting was with a group from Michigan. They came from a small farming community and I was able to help them experience driving in the big city. Our ministry site for the week was Church of The Redeemer, a soup kitchen based out of a church. It is a challenging site because the point person changes each day and they all have very different ways of getting things done. However, we were able to enjoy each new point person and adjust fairly easily.
Halfway through the week we divided our team and half of us went to the Good Shepherd Centre. They were short-staffed and needed our help making the beds for their shelter each day. I was very excited because it is one of my favourite ministry sites. It was particularly good because it allowed for the students to engage in conversation with the clients at the drop-in breakfast they serve. Each day I was able to watch as the students opened up more to those less-fortunate than themselves.
On our last day we participated in “Operation Hydration” which is an activity where the students take a case of water and distribute it to people in the community. Dehydration is a serious threat during the summer months and we try to provide it to anyone in need while striking up conversations with them. One of the parks we were visiting was having an Art Show in support of local artists who use a nearby church facility to practice their skill. We were able to spend time connecting with the artists themselves and they made amazing bargains with us for their work. It was great to watch the kindness of the artists and our team members. They were truly impacted by the people they met.
Another day our team had the chance to go out and meet the needs of someone on the streets during our “$2 of Kindness” ministry. My group came across a man without any shoes on a blistering hot day and was able to provide a man with a pair of shoes for his feet. Others were able to buy socks, cold drinks and even small groceries.
CSM Toronto has been quite the experience so far and it is so rewarding to watch as each group comes in and experiences similar situations in different ways. God is constantly changing circumstances around me and I love being able to watch the process.

-Robin, CSM Toronto Summer 2007 City Host

Friday, June 15, 2007

Monday, June 11, 2007

Aylmer Group Impacts Toronto

This week I had the privilege of hosting a group of 8 from Aylmer Ontario. They were such an amazing group. We served at the Church of Redeemer every morning where we served meals to the homeless and also got to play some cards with them. We passed out water bottles in one of the local parks and took time to hear some of the people's stories. We played Bingo at the Fudger House, which is a long term care facility. We also passed out sandwiches to people sleeping on the streets and spent an evening learning what it was like to be 14 and on the streets. They also took an ethnic plunge into Chinatown where they experienced a new culture. The group learned a lot this week. Their eyes were opened to the world around them. They saw God in unlikely places and realized that sometimes just taking the time to hear someone's story can change both their lives and the lives of those they listen to. They came up with practical ways they can continue their service back home. They each have great hearts of God! I learned so much just by seeing how well they served and how God moved in their lives and changed them throughout the week!

-Mandie Cantrell, CSM Toronto 2007 City Host

Friday, June 08, 2007

Learning to Fly - A Junior High Trip to LA

On April 1st San Marino Community Church's junior high group headed to downtown Los Angeles for a mission trip. It was a tiny group--only 4 junior-highers and 3 adult chaperons. We partnered with Center for Student Missions (LA). CSM gave us a tour guide who led us around LA to different ministry sites.

Read about San Marino's Los Angeles adventure...

Friday, June 01, 2007

Our City Hosts, trip participants and even youth leaders constantly return home from a CSM trip and their heads are reeling with all that they experienced. As they process through the people they met, the sights, the noises, the tastes and the smells of the city, our hope is that they grasp onto the fact that they are forever changed. We make a point to teach every single person that comes through the doors of CSM that God is working in the city and He has a place for you - whether it be this one weekend with us or a lifetime of service.
Take a moment to read one of our Spring City Host's reflection on the time he spent with us in Los Angeles. Ben does a wonderful job processing all that he experienced and we are truly grateful for the time he dedicated to serving with us.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

News from LA

Check out a video from "60 Minutes" about one of the latest issues causing some frustration in the heart of Los Angeles - hospitals dumping homeless patients onto Skid Row.

Want to learn how you can serve on Skid Row in LA? Check out our website!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Friday, May 18, 2007

Street Newspapers!!

Follow the links to newspapers written, published and distributed mainly by the homeless of our country's urban centers.

Chicago's StreetWise

Washington DC's Street Sense

Find street news in an urban center near you.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Homeless for a Night

Several groups returned to CSM Philadelphia this Spring break. One of them included Wesley UMC from Selinsgrove, PA. They were one of the first groups that I hosted when I started working with CSM. Dale Long is the leader of this group and has been a consistent supporter of CSM and of Justin and I. Dale has a real heart for service and demonstrates that to his kids on a daily basis.
The youth group has made it a yearly tradition to sleep out in cardboard boxes and raise money for ministries in Philadelphia. The night before Thanksgiving they set up cardboard boxes near one of the main highways in Selinsgrove. The kids said it was rainy and cold but local pizza restaurants brought free pizza and many people stopped to give money and offer support. They even got coverage on a local radio station.
This year they raised around $3500. The group arrived in Philly eager to see who was in need of the money. They were able to give several very generous donations to ministries. It was beautiful to see the excitement on the kids faces when they were able to bless ministries with service and financial support. Many of the ministries were blown away by such unexpected generosity.
This experience gives the youth a small glimpse of what it may be like to live on the streets. They are recognized in their community for doing something radical to help the poor. We are very thankful for the opportunity to serve with Wesley UMC and learn from their desire to help those in need.

Have another idea of how others can serve their community after they go on a CSM trip? Email us!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Stories from the Fontlines: Tony

Tony is a man I met while handing out sack lunches to hungry people on the streets. On this particular day, my group and I handed out thirty lunches, and Tony was the only person who talked to us. A few years ago he was a well paid construction foreman in Seattle. He went through a divorce in which he lost most of his wealth, and soon after he was hospitalized with two hemorrhages in his brain. At its worst, there was so much blood floating around in his skull that he couldn’t move or talk.
After being released from the hospital, Tony found himself financially exhausted from his divorce and medical bills. Not being in a fit condition to return to work, he became homeless in Seattle. About a month ago, he took a bus to San Francisco hearing that the weather was milder and this city took better care of its poor.
Unlike most stories, Tony’s has a bit of a happy ending. He found a job that pays almost enough to support him, and his body is healing a little faster than was expected. He guesses that he ought to be able to return to work, if he can find work, in a few more months. However, until then he’ll be on the streets.
Pray for Tony. Through circumstances mostly out of his control, he’s found himself without a home, a family, or anyone to turn to.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Stories from the Fontlines: Moses

I met Moses in the line of a soup kitchen that I was helping out with. Moses just got out of prison and is desperately trying to make a better life for himself this time around. In San Francisco, there is no hope to escape homelessness without a job (a social security check doesn’t cover the cost of even most low-income rooms here). Luckily, Moses worked in an auto body shop before he was incarcerated. However, Moses has two things going against him.
Most employers consider hiring an ex-con to be taking a big risk, and many aren’t willing to take that risk. Also, Moses is applicable for a grant that will allow him to buy $1,000 worth of auto body and paint tools. However, in order to receive it, he must have proof of employment. So with Moses, it is a circular problem. He must have tools in order to get a job, but he must first have a job, to be applicable for the grant that will give him tools.
Moses is not unlike many ex-cons who sincerely desire to make a new life for themselves. But without a job, these men and women are forced to either live on the streets and eat in soup kitchens…or turn to more lucrative illegal lines of business. Pray for Moses, that he would find a job and be able to make a new life for himself here in San Francisco.

-Ben, CSM San Francisco 2007 Spring City Host

Monday, April 09, 2007

Stories from the Fontlines: Bruce

Hi all! Just some of our amazing City Hosts (Ben) is putting together a monthly newsletter called "Stories from the Frontlines". In it, he tells the story of people living in San Francisco and how we can be praying for them. Please take a moment and remember that these stories are real people and pray for them!

Every time a new group comes in to spend the week with us, we take them on a prayer tour. This is a tour through the city where we show them around and have them spend a couple of hours in prayer for the city. At a couple of locations, we get out of the car and pray for the people in the city. Sometimes when we are stopped at these places pan-handlers will identify us as Christians and ask us for money, many times telling long extravagant stories.
This was what I thought was about to happen when I met Bruce. During the first stop of a prayer tour, a young man walked up to our group of middle school children. “I don’t usually do this,” he said, “but I saw that you all were Christians, and I just need you all to pray for me.” Bruce had recently run away from home. He was homeless, hungry, and cold. He never told us what had occurred to cause him to run away, but he did say that he wasn’t ready to return home just yet. Apparently he had a very strained relationship with his father, and he wanted to give it a few weeks, before he returned.
Bruce asked us to pray for him. He wanted us to pray that he would be safe on the streets for a couple of weeks and that God would repair the relationship he had with his father. The whole time, I kept expecting him to ask us if we had a little bit of change to spare. He never did. We prayed for him as a group, and then he smiled and walked away. “How cynical have I become?” I asked myself.
Pray for Bruce, that he WOULD remain safe and be able stay away from the lures of drugs and sex that draw so many teen runaways in this city. Also pray for me and for all of the missionaries that are hassled so often that we have come to expect it. I don’t want to be that way.

Monday, April 02, 2007

News from Toronto

It has been real busy here in Toronto with the spring groups that have been
serving here. We have been seeing God work in many lives. Just this weekend
we had a group from St. Thomas, Ontario. It was really neat. They came to
Toronto calling the street people "the homeless" and left calling them by
name and realizing that we reallly shouldn't place titles on people. The
only true name we should call someone is by their real one. By calling
people homeless they realized that we take away the story of that individual
and this robs them of there individuality and identity. I found it
encouraging to see this group grow so quickly and truly learn that people on
the streets have stories to. I believe that they willl take this home and
put it in to practice in the schools they all attend and in their everyday

Blessings from Toronto,
Mark, CSM Toronto 2007 Spring City Host

Thursday, March 29, 2007

"God loves me too?"

Today I was sitting at Starbucks (I know big surprise there) and I was remembering this past summer. Many of you know I spent the summer in New York City working with an organization called Center for Student Missions ( I was a city host and led high school groups that came on mission trips around the city. I loved every second of it. It was an amazing experience.

Today, specifically, I was remembering a homeless guy that we met in Thompkin Square Park. We had just finished dinner at my favorite restaurant Sonar Gaow and did not finish all our food so the group I was hosting that week decided they want to pack it up to find someone to give it to. I thought it was a great idea and knew that at that time there were a lot of homeless that gathered in the park. For some reason though on this night there was not very many people in the park like I was expecting. We were about to give up and head to the subway to go home when we saw an older man sitting on a bench. Two of the girls from the group approached him with the food and said, “Here we want you to have this and we want you to know that God loves you”.

The man looked up at them with tears in his eyes and said, “God loves me too? I have done so many terrible things there is no way that God loves me too”. None of us were expecting an opportunity like this, but God knew and I know that he brought us to the park on that night for a reason. The group went on to share the Gospel with him and explain that there was absolutely nothing that he could do to make God stop loving him. He didn’t make a decision that we know of that night, but I know that the group had a big impact on him just by saying “we want you to know God loves you”.

Remembering this story got me thinking. How many people do I come in contact with on a daily basis that doesn’t know God loves them? Who do I know that if I were to tell them “God loves you”, their response would be surprise. The Message translation of Phillippians 4:3-5 says,

” Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean reveal in him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you are on their side, working with them, not against them. Help them to see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute”!

Who do I know that doesn’t know God loves them? Can those people see me celebrating God everyday? What happens if Jesus does come back today and I never tell those people that God loves them and has an amazing gift for them?

What about you? Who in your life needs to hear the words “God loves you”. He could come back any minute. Time is running out to tell them. Don’t let any opportunity go by without telling those people “God loves you, no matter what you’ve done, no matter what you do, no matter who you are, no matter what you look like, God loves YOU and nothing can ever, ever take that away” . Aren’t you glad that you know that. Think about what it will mean to the people who don’t know it yet.

-Robbin, CSM New York City Host, Summer 2006
taken from her blog - check it out!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Jim and Corky

Jim and Corky are both volunteers at the Haight Ashbury Food Program. HAFP is a non-Christian soup kitchen that relies on volunteers to help them feed 300-400 people from the Haight Ashbury district of San Francisco every day. Their mission statement is that food should be a right not a privilege, so they do not discriminate as to who can eat there. There are many people that make enough money to afford cheap housing but not enough to feed their families, so at HAFP you commonly see a woman dressed for work sitting next to a man dressed in rags. It’s beautiful.

Jim is in his seventies. About three years ago he was arrested for a DUI, and was sentenced to several hundred hours of community service. He chose to spend a good number of those hours at HAFP. He loved serving his fellow men so much that he kept coming back to volunteer even after his community service hours were complete. Since then, he has retired and still spends several days every week preparing and serving food to people.

Corky is a musicology professor from London. Dressed in her multi-colored bandana and skirt, she reminds me of a gipsy. Several years ago Corky’s husband died, and then her daughter moved to San Francisco for a job. Being in her sixties without a husband and then without a daughter, Corky became very lonely and took a month off of work to come visit her daughter. While here, she found the HAFP and fell in love with the people. Now Corky alternates spending two months working and “living frugally” in London and one month in San Francisco volunteering at the HAFP and visiting her daughter.

Neither Jim nor Corky have a relationship with Jesus, but both have a love for their neighbor. One surprising thing I’ve found here is the number of non-Christians who seem to have a Christ-like love for the poor and destitute. I can only pray that Jesus is prepping them for the time when He will reveal Himself to them.

Please pray for Jim and Corky, that God would reveal Himself to them. Pray for all of the volunteers in San Francisco that are searching for wholeness in their lives by serving others. Pray that they would find that wholeness in the person of Jesus Christ.

-Ben, CSM San Francisco 2007 Spring City Host

Monday, March 19, 2007

LA 2007 Was Amazing...

We found a great reflection from one trip participant from Canada who served in LA this spring....check it out!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Update from Toronto

It has been busy here in Toronto. We have had a bunch of groups come and we are seeing Jesus here in the city. The last group of students we had were awesome and really demonstrated what serving was. They went away blessed and left us blessed as well. Not to mentioned all the blessings to the ministry sites they worked at.
I have particularly liked working at a homework club for Somalian kids. It is great to build friendships with these kids. Some of them actually teach us their homework, instead of us teaching them. They are really bright students. I am even learning a little of the Arabic language; like hello and goodbye.

From Toronto,
Mark (CSM Spring City Host)

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Are you rich??

Have you ever complained about being poor or not having enough money? Check out the Global Rich List for some great perspective on how rich you really are!
The website shows you what percentage you fall into as well as gives you an opportunity to donate one hour's wage to a specific non-profit. (For example - $8 could buy you 15 organic apples OR 25 fruit trees for farmers in Honduras to grow and sell fruit at their local market.)

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

You Can't Out-Give God!

The youth group from Wesley United Methodist Church in Selinsgrove, PA has been actively serving with CSM for over 7 years. Though they have hundreds of stories about lives changed, relationships formed and worldviews altered, one of the biggest experiences that happened through a CSM connection occurred after their trip, not while they were in the city.
While back in Selinsgrove, the youth group had raised some money to buy sound equipment for one of their ministries. Just about that time Dale Long, their youth leader, was contacted by their first CSM host. They had kept in contact over the years and she was wanting to let Wesley UMC know that she was heading to Africa to begin working in an AIDS orphanage. She would be selling her piano and keyboard to raise the funds she needed - would they be interested?
The youth group was so touched, knowing how gifted their former host was musically. They decided to buy her piano using the $800 they had raised for their sound equipment, adding one stipulation - that she keep it and promise to never sell it again!
Knowing that they had done the right thing, the youth group proceeded in faith. Shortly thereafter, they were contacted by a local DJ looking to donate his sound equipment (worth thousands!!) The Lord provided and Dale learned one major lesson "You can never out-give God!"

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Street News from Toronto!

This spring we have been facinated by the Toronto Street News paper. During
our daily routine we will often find guys throughout the city selling the
paper at various locations. The following is a little we would like to share
about the paper.

The Toronto Street News is written from a street perspective. It has
articles of the issues facing people on the streets. It also contains
articles that contain many issues that are often not addressed, for example;
global, social, racial. It is a good paper to draw on for issues that people
on the streets are concerned about.

The papers are printed every couple of weeks and are sold to the homeless
who sell the papers to the public. The sales provide a little income for the
homeless to use for shelter and other necessities until they can aquire
further assistance. We have found it a really good way to help the homeless

We have found it a really good way to connect with the homeless. Even though
the faces change, it has been good to try and get to know these guys. They
are always greatful and thank us for buying the paper. This paper has been a
lot of fun and we intend to pursue more interaction with the guys who sell

-Mark, CSM Toronto 2007 Spring City Host

Thursday, February 15, 2007

San Francisco Weekend Trip

Want to know what it would be like to go on a weekend mission trip to San Francisco with CSM? Follow the link below to read about one trip participant's experience. (Ben is now working with us in Los Angeles for the spring!)

Located a half block up off of Market on Octavia, First Baptist Church serves as CSM SF headquarters. This is a really neat location as they are just outside of the Tenderloin and within ear shot of the homosexual community's famed Castro District and eye shot of the huge buildings marking the Financial District. We met with Andy the director, his wife and asst. director Hedi, asst director Leana, and interns Stacey and Angela when we got there and quickly went to dinner at a very good Vietnamese place.
Read on...

Friday, February 09, 2007

How many homeless people live in...?

Have you ever wondered how many homeless people live in certain states? Well we found a clickable map that helps answer that question!
To learn more about serving the homeless of North America, please visit our website. We hope you'll serve with us!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Homeless Kids on Today Show

The Today Show (NBC) recently highlighted a story about a brother and sister that live on the streets of Los Angeles in Skid Row. Follow the link to watch the story...

More Homeless Families in LA

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Did you know?

Fueled by teens, middle-aged adults and seniors, the volunteer rate in the U.S. has reached a 30-year high, a new study says.

The study, "Volunteering in America: State Trends and Rankings," was conducted by the federal Corporation for National and Community Service, which aims to expand the ranks of volunteers by 10 million by the year 2010.

Teens ages 16 to 19 have doubled their volunteer time since 1989, the study says, which could lead to a resurgence of civic mindedness as they reach adulthood.

Baby Boomers, sometimes referred to as the "Me Generation," are giving their time at a higher rate than the previous generation, and the volunteer rate of people age 65 and older has jumped by two-thirds since 1974.

Overall, 65.4 million adults volunteered a total of 8.2 billion hours in 2005, which the study says is the equivalent of about $147.6 billion.

From Philanthropy Journal, December 27, 2006

Monday, January 08, 2007

Cold Comfort on the Street

The Los Angeles Times came out with a great article, highlighting a homeless gentleman living on the streets of LA:

"Raymond Byrnes awakens on the cold sidewalk, grips his rosary beads tight and prays for strength — thankful to have made it through another night on Los Angeles' skid row.
At 61, he has been homeless for nearly a decade, spending most of his nights at the corner of 5th Street and Gladys Avenue.
At the top of 5th Street, the downtown drug corridor known as "The Nickel," the crown of the 1,000-foot-tall US Bank Tower glimmers in the black sky. Around the corner on Gladys, a tent city renders both sidewalks impassable. The smell of urine, vomit, feces and garbage hangs in the air."

Read on...

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to everyone from your friends at CSM! We look forward to seeing you and serving the Lord together in 2007. May you be blessed!