Zachary Arnold is currently a resident of Husdon, Ohio. He says that service has always been an important thing in his life, and that it is something that his parents instilled in him as a valuable investment–the importance of investing in others. Zach says the Lord has truly blessed him and has given him great tools and support to succeed in his life. He is starting school at Baldwin Wallace this summer to study towards becoming a Physician’s Assistant. Zach hopes to use the medical education he’ll gain to help serve others in a more specific manner. This blog is a part of the 20/20 Come and See series.
I got connected with South Street Ministries through my church, Christ Community Chapel, in Hudson. I had been meeting with my Bible study group for some time, and God began to put on my heart the need for us as a Bible study group to serve. At that time, it was all about “we” or “you” needed to do something, and not necessarily that “I” needed to do something. When I was talking with my group about the need for us to serve, I could tell they were not nearly as conflicted about this as I. I think God works on people’s hearts individually, and slowly came to understand that though it may not have been the time for others to step into this conviction, for me, it was. So one day I walked into CCC of Hudson to discuss with someone what service opportunities were available around the Akron area. South Street Ministries really stuck out to me. I saw an opportunity to step in as an “unlikely partner” and step out of my comfort zone to be open to what God has planned in my life. I got a group together to head down to Bike Shop to meet Joe and Duane, and to help with some things around the shop. It was a great meeting, learning about South Street’s goals and values. It was something that I wanted to be a part of! I saw a group of people who really cared, and who were really in it for the cause–winning others for Christ.
I didn’t know where to plug in, but then I heard about the Summer Camp and AfterSchool. As one who values the next generation, I thought it would be a good opportunity to me to develop relationships with the kids and be a mentor in their lives. I entered into a completely new environment with nobody that I knew, and I had no idea what to expect. I was quickly embraced by the staff, other volunteers, and most importantly the kids. These kids really are something special, and I did not expect to be impacted by them like I was. I went into this experience thinking “What can I do for them?” or “What do they need from me?” and, as it turns out, I think the experience had a greater impact on me! It became the time of my week that I really looked forward to. I could feel God’s love when I was at South Street, and was given some sort of inner peace when I volunteered there. It was really cool to see growth both in the children, and in myself. The Summer Camp ended just as quickly as it started, and I wanted more. So I committed myself for the AfterSchool program too. It was great seeing the same faces and new ones, growing closer to Christ alongside them.
Volunteering was a very impactful experience for me. Living in a place like Hudson, it has been easy to seemingly remain in a bubble and not notice the communities around me. Just right around almost every corner, there are people that Christ died for that need support. I am grateful that God opened my eyes to this, and that I was able to lend a helping hand…and learn so much about living out Christianity in the process. It gave me the drive to serve throughout the rest of my life, and not to just sit back and be comfortable. There is so much to gain by stepping out of your comfort zone to serve in the name of Jesus. Through this experience, God has helped me realize that we all need help in one way or another. One thing for sure, we all need a Savior. In addition, we all have earthly needs that vary from person to person. As Christians, we need to come alongside each other as a support system, and South Street Ministries is a great way to get involved in eternally impactful service.
I think South Street “does Christianity” the way God desires with “unlikely partners” coming together as brothers and sisters in Christ–not distinguishing themselves as unlike one another, but as one. There is a non-judgement towards others’ backgrounds and upbringings, and a recognition that everyone needs Christ; we all have different perspectives in life and we are given our lives by God, for His purposes. I’m thankful that for a season, God felt it right to have my convictions lead me to partner in service–for His purposes.
To become an unlikely partner in the work of South Street Ministries, click here.