The metallic clanging of baseball bats at Reese Park, students mulling on a green North Campus lawn over a late-morning pancake breakfast, cheers rising from the sidelines of an intramural soccer game: Saturday, Feb. 10 felt like the first day of summer. And with a hot sun bearing down from a cloudless sky and a weather forecast of 71 degrees, it was a perfect day for The Master’s College Community Day carwash.
Jennifer Harrell, a junior at the college and an active member of ASB, has been helping to prepare for this event for weeks. Her committee contacted campus security, the cafeteria crew, plant operations, chapel media, and the athletic department to coordinate details, and also shopped for supplies and recruited volunteers on campus. Her team hand-delivered fliers to every home in Placerita Canyon, inviting residents to the free car wash and brunch, which included free tickets to the school basketball games that night and an evangelistic book by Mark Dever.
“Community Day is a unique opportunity for our campus to interact with our neighbors and to develop a personal relationship with them,” Harrell says. “Many of our neighbors are aware that we are a Christian school, but we want them to know that we are followers of Christ and that means we serve like He did. It is a neat way to back up our reputation with some action in a very personal way. In our desire to be like Christ, I believe our neighbors ought to be the first people who would attest to the power of Christ in our lives.”
Freshman Joel Giesbrecht, who showed up at 9 AM to help out, was one of about 100 students involved with the event. As Placerita Canyon residents enjoy a free brunch, students keep their vehicles going through an assembly line. Manning a hose, someone rinses down each car, followed by a “soap team” which scrubs each from roof to rims. After being rinsed and dried by another crew and the windows wiped down, the cars are driven to waiting spots in the North Campus parking lot. “Everyone who came was consistently busy and we were all put to use,” Giesbrecht says. “I was pleasantly surprised at the volume of neighbors which participated in the event. I think God was given a chance to work.”
From the beginning of planning for this event, Harrell and the other ASB members have seen God at work first-hand. The team was able to get city approval to host the car wash, which is difficult to obtain. Even on the day of the carwash, volunteers experienced God’s provision in dealing with such logistical problems as those involving water supply. “I think too the fact that we didn’t have any rain that day was a gift from the Lord since we did it in the middle of February … and He sent us 81 cars!” Harrell says.
Behind a card table decked with signs announcing “Free Brunch and Basketball” and “TMC Loves You!”, ASB members Liz Thatcher and Morgan Justice presided over a row of iPods and a microphone. Having worked on the planning committee, they now serve as official DJ’s for the car washing crew. Alternately cracking jokes and giving instructions, Thatcher kept the volunteers’ spirits high. “This event was an outreach to the community,” she says. “A lot of people didn’t know why we were doing a free car wash without accepting donations so I would help explain to them that we were just loving the community.
People seemed impressed … and that usually led to them being more open to talk to other students about the college and the gospel. “We had the opportunity to help explain exactly what Master’s is to a community that may or may not have completely known anything other than that it was a college. It was also cool seeing some of the families at the basketball game that night … it’s a good way to love on our community. It’s really easy to get caught up in the fun, social events of college and totally forget about our neighbors.”
For those who spent so many hours coordinating the event, shining as a light in the Placerita Canyon community and giving TMC students the opportunity to be a blessing to their neighbors were the ultimate goals. “The message that I really wanted to give to the neighbors was that we were loving them because we want to be like Christ,” Harrell says. “As we delivered the fliers we met some of the people along the street and they all seemed really excited. One even asked if you had to be a Christian to come … we told him definitely not! At the event, I was able to just chat with a few of the neighbors, but I know that several of the students were able to give the gospel message in their conversations. “Overall I have heard all positive responses from the community, but I have also heard that many people were a bit confused by the whole event, which is really the effect that we wanted to have. Many people who drove by our sign carriers on the street asked the question ‘why?’ because we were doing it for free. That brought several neat opportunities for those students to share the reason for what we do.”
To read other articles from A Student’s Perspective download “The Master’s Piece” To read other articles from A Student’s Perspective download “The Master’s Piece” March 2010 issue.