By Stacy Knoderer
While there are many opportunities for service on Olivet’s campus, many more can be found right outside the doorstep.
Life Compass, a local church in Kankakee, has a variety of different ministries that reach out to children living in the inner city. Life Compass is located on 175 S. Wall Street, in Kankakee, Ill.
Life Compass Ministries offers a unique blend of opportunities and lessons for inner city children. Activities and lessons include: dance, sewing, cooking, music, and art, all for free. Music lessons currently include: piano, guitar, and drums. Classes are for children grades two through five.
Meetings for the ministries are every Wednesday. Typically they have a snack time, followed by a time of devotions, and then an hour of lessons. Around 60 children come each night. Their ethnicities range from African-American, Asian American, Mexican American, and Caucasian American.
Students, Ben Geeding, Derek Delgado, and Joel Deckard are three volunteers who help with the music aspect of Life Compass Ministries.
Delgado, a junior physical education major, and Deckard, an alumnus, help to teach drum lessons on Wednesday nights. Delgado started volunteering last spring, and Deckard has been volunteering for three years.
When asked about one of his favorite memories from Life Compass Ministries, Delgado stated, “The best memories are the relationships we build with the kids and watching them not only learn, but enjoying what they are learning.”
Delgado is passionate about playing the drums, and as an education major loves children. He found this opportunity to be a perfect fit.
Deckard was also asked about his favorite part of the ministry.
“I love being able to go each week and learn more about the students in my class. Getting the opportunity to interact with them and help them learn something is truly a blessing,” said Deckard.
Geeding, a senior music ministry major, also plays an essential role in Life Compass Ministries. Geeding is in charge of the music school, and is an Olivet liaison. Once he is done traveling with the Olivetians he will take over as music pastor.
When asked about his involvement Geeding shared his plan for the ministry’s expansion.
“The ministry has been around for a few years, and I am hoping to expand like crazy. I think the Church equips its surrounding community with what the community needs to thrive and be successful. That means feeding, clothing, and teaching practical skills. Plus, we are taking these inner city kids and building relationships with them in the hope of sending them into their culture to impact where they live in the name of Christ” said Geeding.
Geeding also shared how he has seen God working in the ministry.
“God has provided us with a $300,000 building for free, the kids are coming in for free lessons, there is a melting pot of cultures, and doors continue to open like crazy to further this ministry,” said Geeding.
Geeding leaves students with a simple reminder. “The Church exists for the community in which it’s located. Third-world countries exist in our backyard and we can do something about it.”