You Matter in the Lives of HFC Students

You Matter in the Lives of HFC Students

Tickets are on sale February 21 and 28 for Student Ministries’ Dinner and a Game Show. As this opportunity draws closer, we wanted you to hear directly from one of our students about the impact Challenge (national conference for Free Church students) and mission trips have had on her spiritual journey.

Enjoy these excerpts from interview questions with Sarah Haverstick, one of our junior students. When you attend Dinner and a Game Show, you will have the opportunity to meet Sarah and other HFC students who will be travelling this summer to Challenge and Camp Orchard Hill. Your ticket helps to offset the significant financial investment these students make to be able to participate in these meaningful experiences.

My first mission trip was to Philadelphia BUMP (Bridging Urban Mission Partnerships) during my freshman year. The following year I went to Challenge in Kansas City, and as a junior I participated in the New York City BUMP mission trip. I am planning to attend Challenge again this summer, and after graduation I will go to Haiti.

Every time I go on one of these trips, I am reminded of how amazing my God is – He never fails to provide. I didn’t want to go on my first trip. I had been struggling a lot that year. Loneliness had taken over. I pushed people away and I pushed God away. The last thing I wanted to do was go on a “God-trip.” God knew that’s just what I needed. He pulled me from moments of deep despair and gave me hope. In Philadelphia God reignited my love for Christ.

Each of these trips revealed who I am in Christ and how I might serve Him. I especially loved working with the children: watching them do crafts, sing silly songs and listen to Bible stories. Here at home I became a classroom assistant for first grade in my public school and began to volunteer in Children’s Ministries. During VBS in NYC I led worship for the entire camp and worked directly with my favorite age group. Standing in front of them, teaching them, laughing with them confirmed my desire to become an elementary school teacher.

It is one thing to go on a mission trip for a week. Sharing my faith as a child was never a challenge. When I became a teenager, it started to become “uncool” to talk about religion. Then this year I had the most amazing experience. I have a very good friend who asked me one Wednesday night if I wanted to hang out with her. I told her I couldn’t that night because I was going to youth group and asked her to join me. She said, “Oh, I’m not religious.” I assured her that youth group was open to anyone no matter what they believe. That one conversation unlocked many more conversations about God. She was very open to the idea of God and church; she just wasn’t sure it was for her. I convinced her to come with me one Wednesday night, and she had a blast. She couldn’t wait to come to CORE each week. One thing led to another. She began to ask questions. She would flip through my Bible.

I began to tell my friends and family all about her story. So many people supported both of us and were praying that God would really work in her life. Transformation is amazing! We would have casual conversations about the Lord. I sent her the weekly Bible verse and word of encouragement that I write to my friends every Monday. I just wanted her to have small tastes of what it is like to be a Christian. At Christmas I took a leap of faith and bought her a Bible. I wasn’t sure how she would respond, but that night she read for 20 minutes. Curiosity grew, and her love for the Lord blossomed. Then she signed up for the winter retreat all on her own.

As the last night of the retreat was ending, she didn’t respond to the speaker’s call for anyone to come to the front who wanted to accept the Lord. I was disappointed when she stayed in her seat. But I didn’t lose hope. I decided I would just keep talking to her about it. I asked her if she thought someday she would want to become a Christian. She just looked at me with this face that seemed to say, “Well, yeah!” I was taken a bit off guard so I asked her when she thought she would be ready. That’s when she said, “Tonight!” Our youth group gathered and listened to her story – her story of how God had impacted her life and her desire to make Jesus her Savior. We took time with her to talk about the gospel and all of the implications. Then we prayed together with her as she accepted Jesus into her life.

This moment transformed both of our lives forever. She is now sharing Bible verses, inviting others to youth group, and choosing to live out her faith each day. I will never forget the moment she told me that she couldn’t imagine living without Him. It is truly amazing to be a part of someone’s journey and to see the love of God transform a life.


  1. Ginny McIlhenny Says: February 18, 2016 at 6:18 pm

    This is Awesome!!

  2. Deb Blessing Says: February 19, 2016 at 4:23 pm

    Praise the Lord! Keep up the good work Sarah, live out that faith.

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