Berea

President & CEO: Nate Parks

berea.org

was the 75th year of operation for Berea. What a year for COVID! No one could have predicted a pandemic or the damage it brought, but let’s not dwell on that. We need the strength and discipline to look beyond these desperate parts of life and find hope in the faithfulness of God and what He did in 2020.

It was a great year to see God in action! Though our ministry was smaller in many ways, the impact was greater. My sense is that the impact was so great because the need was so intense. We kicked off 2020 with Deep Freeze and the life change was abundant. We helped people Encounter Christ Together. Here is a story from a leader, and it’s best said in their own words:

I just wanted to say a quick thanks for all that you and your team do at Deep Freeze and other ministries at Berea. Students and leaders alike leave the weekend feeling refreshed and renewed in spirit and I know that's because God's got His hand in all that you guys are doing up there!

I also wanted to share a text message I received from one of our female students shortly after we returned home. She decided to "come home" at Berea that weekend and sent me the following: "Hey! I just want to say thank you for this weekend and bringing me closer to God. I had a lot of fun this weekend and already feel better after letting God in. Just knowing that he is really there and that he died for our sins and being able to give him everything feels better and got a lot of weight off my shoulders." – Youth Leader

Sadly, the last weekend of Deep Freeze was canceled due to COVID, but we are still called to live the Great Commission in creative ways! In April we started reaching out and calling all our partners, churches, individuals, and families. We prayed with people and comforted others. We also found that we could help and encourage church leaders by connecting them to each other. The following is a note from a church leader who was part of our networking huddles:

What you are doing right now to support the church and it’s leaders was in my mind this morning. You are watering the soil during these dark and challenging times for many and allowing their faith to spring up and grow strong. Thank you for what you are doing. I pray God continues to bless and use you to strengthen the Church beyond what you are even imagining is possible. – Church Leader

We help advance the Church! This is our mission, to help the Church, the one organism that Jesus left to proclaim His message. Though the pandemic temporarily prevented us from hosting people, we utilized our network to spread the hope of our Savior and build His Church!

Soon we were looking forward to the summer, a highlight of the year. Unfortunately, we were thwarted in our attempts to run kids camp, so we pivoted quickly to family experiences. Let me tell you the family impact was tremendous! People wanted to get out of their houses to spend time together worshiping and playing outside in God’s creation. Here is a text that came to us after one such retreat:

This was about the best week of vacation I could have imagined in 2020. Thank you again for the gift of camp. – Parent

As we came into the fall, we had 3 Women’s Retreats which were an impactful blessing to the ladies. The stories came pouring out, but I’ll share just one.

"I want to take a minute and tell you all how beautiful your hearts are. All but one of the 10 of us experienced Berea Woman’s Retreat for the first time last weekend. It’s easy to see God in this place, to feel God in this place. We came, most of us tired, empty, looking for just a bit of hope. We all left refreshed, filled and without a doubt knew He was with us. We set goals to press in, stay connected and encourage one another. Thank you for allowing God to use you, use this place to lift our hearts and touch us all. We cannot wait to experience God again in this place, with you all." – Women’s Retreat Guest

I also wanted to highlight that we weren’t able to hire our full summer staff, but we did have many volunteers who helped us get through this difficult season. Additionally, our full-time staff picked up all the slack, which was impressive to say the least. Later, I will share with you the incredible story of Nate Cook, one of our full-time employees, who had an intense year. For now, here is a quick note from one of the volunteers:

"I was doing some reflecting the other day. And I wanted to say thank you for the opportunities at Berea this year. I learned an insane amount of things about myself and my character, areas to grow, areas I'm confident, and it was invaluable. Hopefully there are more times in the future!!" – Volunteer

2020 was unique in its challenges but we know this: God worked and used Berea to work in people’s lives and you are a part of this great story. I wonder what will be said 30 years from now. I’ll close with a note of encouragement that came to me directly this year. As you can imagine there were many ups and downs in my own personal experience as I helped guide Berea through 2020, but this story reminded me that the impact of this beautiful place and the mission lives on in people’s lives.

31 years ago, I came for just one week to Berea, and surrendered my life to Christ during one of the chapel services. In fact, I came forward the next day "just to be sure", being so compelled again to follow Jesus, but was assured that Jesus had come into my life the first time I asked. Looking back over three decades of His work in my life, I can attest to His constant faithfulness, and just how significant that milestone was at Berea. Continue the good work, and may the Lord raise up another generation of wholehearted followers of Jesus! – Christ Follower

Thank you for your partnership in the Gospel! We could never have done it without you, and it has been a joy to see how God has worked in peoples’ lives and brought us all together to do the work of the ministry.

 
Unreached People Group of the Day

Arab, Dhofari

Population
133,000

Primary Language
Arabic, Dhofari Spoken

Primary Religion
Islam

% Evangelical
40%

Mission Fact of the Day
The largest Least-Reached group in Northeast Asia without Scripture, Jesus film, or audio recordings is the Western Ghao-Xong of China, with 1,413,000 people.
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