Starting in 2002, some Servants of the Word brothers, along with a team of others began forming University Christian Outreach (UCO) at Grand Valley State University (GVSU) with a hope that we might eventually be able to work with other students in Grand Rapids.
For the past 30 years in Grand Rapids, there has been a small group of families living in a Christian community called The Servants of the Lamb. This faithful band of families served as a base for our work with students since we began this work with university students in 2002. Even so, we needed to do most of our early chapter development work as commuters from Lansing, Michigan and Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Sometime in 2008, The Servants of the Word decided to initiate a temporary mission house in Grand Rapids to allow our UCO workers to be on-site and to see if we could sustain a brotherhood presence there in an ongoing way.
In August 2009, Brian Laba and I moved into a nice rental house with three young men to inaugurate our newest Servants of the Word household in Michigan. Those of us in our household found Grand Rapids to be a very welcoming place and a wonderful location to serve the Lord. Within months we had formed some close friendships with chaplains at Calvin College, leaders of Christian schools, ministers, and priests of local churches, plus many other allies for the mission God has given us. Being on-site had a significant impact on our ability to work with students at both GVSU and Calvin College. Being able to share life with the families in The Servants of the Lamb community was life-giving for all of us.
Now in our second year, it’s still a little early to conclude if we will live here long-term or exactly how our mission will take shape. Nevertheless, our life in Grand Rapids is rich and fruitful. In August 2010, we moved into a larger rental house to accommodate more brothers and allow us to host ministry opportunities that come our way. We share a backyard fence with a wonderful young couple who are chaplains at Calvin College and have opened their hearts to us in many ways. Mike Kramer moved into our house, and along with setting up our new house, is contributing in numerous ways to our evangelism and discipleship work. Brian Laba is now a full-time mission supervisor in Grand Rapids and he is able to focus his full attention on the work at hand.
It’s obvious to us that God is moving here in Grand Rapids, and it’s great to be able to participate. Stay tuned for more developments in the years to come!
This article is from our 2010 Fall Newsletter.