In News

Four Servants of the Word brothers running two University Christian Outreach (UCO) chapters, a new community building experiment called the Community Living Experiment (CLE), and two Kairos- North America youth programs from our household keeps life full and energizing. Throw into that mix one of our affiliates who is just completing his university studies and you have a lot going on. To say that things are spread a little thin is a slight understatement but there is unbounded hope in the work that we believe God has called us to here on the western edge of Michigan. We will say just a few things about the opportunities God has given us so that you will be better informed and better able to keep us in your prayers.

2013 Grand Rapids Servants of the Word brothers

The Grand Rapids brothers, left to right, Mike Kramer, Noel Delgadillo, Dave Cooper, Stan Mathay (seated), and Brian Laba.

Noel Delgadillo is in his second year leading the UCO chapter at Grand Valley State University. The GVSU chapter located in Allendale, Michigan, about 20 minutes west of Grand Rapids, has approximately 50 members at the weekly prayer meeting and continues to mature as an established outreach on campus now in its 10th year. Grand Valley is increasingly the destination of choice for those students not having strong affiliations to other “major” state schools in Michigan. In the past year, Noel has also been assigned as a Kairos Missionary to work with the youth and young adult programs in the community “La Nueva Jerusalen” in his hometown of Miami, Florida.

Brian Laba always has many projects on his plate. As an Assistant Regional Director of UCO, Brian has responsibility with three UCO chapters, supervising the two in Grand Rapids (GVSU & Calvin) and providing regular outside support and advice for the one in Pittsburgh. He also directs some of our major regional events such as the UCO Summer Academy (formerly the Campus Outreach Academy). But Brian’s main service this year has been spearheading the launch of a new community in Grand Rapids comprised mainly of young professionals who have recently graduated from GVSU and Calvin. This past January this young community had a Call and Mission conference which served well to broaden and deepen our vision for what it means to be a community of disciples on mission.

The Kairos Fellowship ministry was begun several years ago by Stan Mathay. The ministry offers wilderness trips to junior high boys in the United States and Canada. These trips provide character-forming and relationship bonding experiences for junior high boys throughout the region. Many lives have been challenged, strengthened, and renewed in this program that mixes high adventure and Christian discipleship among its young participants and staff.

The Kairos Mission Trips director, Mike Kramer, has also run short-term mission trips for high school-aged students for the past 16 years. The summer 2013 schedule will feature 2 trips for junior class members from The Potter’s House High School to a location just across the southern Arizona border in Agua Prieta, Mexico. Two Kairos teams comprised of students from across the United States will also serve in Agua Prieta. A Kairos team will also be serving in inner-city Detroit and a team of boys will be spending time on several ranches in western Nebraska on Ranch Challenge.

Our youngest household member, David Cooper, is completing his finance studies at Grand Valley State University. He plays a key role in developing relationships with other university students and helping them become more integrated in UCO. Recently, while participating with a select group of GVSU business students, David placed third at the regional SAP Design Thinking competition in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. One of his aspiring goals is to be “salt and light” in the business community.

Though the number of our household core is small, God has given us many chances to share the hope that invigorates our hearts and makes us glad to be a part of the opportunities on the horizon.

-Mike Kramer

This article is from our 2013 Easter Servants of the Word Newsletter [0.6MB PDF].

Mike Kramer
Mike is a lifelong committed brother who lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is originally from Alliance, Nebraska. He has two undergraduate degrees from Chadron State College and a Master's in Education from Eastern Michigan University. He currently directs short-term mission trips for high school students and tutors high school students in a local high school. He is also The Servants of the Word events administrator. He enjoys playing harmonicas and traveling.
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Bruce Franson