On a sunny Friday afternoon on September 10, close to 100 students and staff gathered at the starting line of the BCHS track. Joshua McNeal, a senior officer in student government asked the group to bow their heads as he gave a word of prayer. He gave thanks for God’s blessings, and he prayed for the suffering people of Afghanistan.
These students and staff were there to raise money for the Samaritan’s Purse Afghanistan Relief Program – a campaign targeting the suffering of thousands of Afghan refugees fleeing from their homeland after the Taliban rolled into a power vacuum.
At the end of August, the world watched with sadness as tens of thousands of Afghan citizens crowded into the airport in Kabul with hopes of escaping the oncoming rule of the Taliban. On the other side of the world young Christian students at Berean reflected on what their response should be.
“We are called to be marked by love,” says McNeal. His classmates agreed, and they resolved to do something to be part of the story.
Students at BCHS are encouraged to be doers of the word as instructed by James to all believers in James 1:22, so the student government’s Orientation and Community Service Committee organized a walk-a-thon.
In preparation for the event, students registered to walk while they gathered pledges from family and friends. For each mile a student walked, pledgers donated a specified dollar amount.
The event raised $3,800 for Samaritan’s Purse, an amount that exceeded student government’s goal. According to the Samaritan’s Purse website, they have sent more than 19 tons of medical supplies, blankets, and hygiene kits to Afghan refugee camps in the Middle East. They also sent medical personnel to help treat sick and suffering people who have been evacuated from Afghanistan.
This year, more than many other years, social media channels lit up with reminders to never forget what happened on September 11, 2001. On the eve of the twenty-year anniversary of 9/11, students who had not yet been born on that terrible day commemorated the event by spending time sharing Christ’s love through service.
Josh McNeal has a special interest in giving his peers opportunities to get involved in serving their community. He has begun building an online resource to match volunteer and donation opportunities with students’ interest in their community. For Josh, volunteering is part of his obligation to God citing Collisions 3:23 – “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men… It is the Lord Christ you are serving. (NIV)”