Alumni serve with Youth in Mission
Two days following their graduation, Izaak Lenn and Jacob Wombacher found themselves in Cactus, Texas, serving refugees with Cactus Nazarene Ministries. With their finals and art shows behind them, both were eager to apply what they had learned in a missions setting.
Izaak had found out about short-term mission positions in a chance meeting with Kenny Wade, the Youth in Mission Coordinator for the United States and Canada, during his last weeks at NNU. He in turn mentioned his plans to his friend Jacob, who quickly decided to join Izaak and Youth in Mission.
“Everything fell together for us both to come in a matter of two days,” said Jacob. “God made it very clear that this was where we both needed to go after finishing school, providing for the flights, lodging and food for our entire trip.”
For the next month, Izaak and Jacob filled needs in Cactus Nazarene Ministries—which relies heavily on short-term volunteers to run their programs—as well as honed the skills they fostered at NNU.
“Besides hosting services for African and Hispanic congregations, we offer immigration services, ESL classes, youth sports and activities, summer feeding, sewing ministry, and are working on the infrastructure for a medical clinic,” said Izaak. “I’m also offering my skills as an artist to create a painting for the new immigration office and a mural for the kids room.”
Jacob also used his artistic ability to serve. Besides helping run the work and witness teams, Jacob used his design skills to better Cactus Nazarene Ministries’ branding and visual representation and communication.
When asked what was the most challenging aspect of their experience, both said it was the multiculturalism of the ministry—Cactus Nazarene Ministries serves over twenty cultures, primarily immigrants and refugees from Central America, Africa and Myanmar. Regardless, Izaak and Jacob felt equipped to embrace this challenge.
“NNU provided a place for me to meet really incredible people and take really hard classes, which challenged me in my assumptions and biases on social issues and the struggle of poor people and how it fits into compassionate ministry,” Jacob shared. “I was able to build strong relationships with people in the community doing incredible things who both inspire and challenge the places in my life that need more of Jesus.”
Izaak and Jacob finished their mission in Cactus in the middle of June. Jacob returned to Nampa, Idaho, and works in digital marketing and graphic design for Yardscapes Northwest as well as on merchandise projects for The Slow (a Christian band made up of NNU alumni) and personal projects.
For Izaak, Cactus was the first stop of a summer-long photojournalism project. He collected images and stories from various Nazarene mission hubs operating in the United States, starting in Cactus, Texas, and ending in Winnipeg, Canada, where Izaak is now serving in another Youth in Mission position.
Explaining the inspiration behind the photojournalism project, Izaak shared, “A lot of the church thinks missions means overseas—and I do love overseas missions—but there are really exciting programs going on that I think people would love to get more involved in, if only they knew about them.”
His project will educate and, hopefully, inspire individuals to get involved in local mission work—similar to the work Jacob and Izaak did this summer.