Wow! So much has happened since we told our church family that we were going to be canvassing in Detroit, Michigan. Because some were appalled that we would go do mission work to such a dangerous place, Karen and I want to share through pictures how God lead in beautiful ways to give us one of the best summers of our lives.

Our summer does not begin in Michigan, but at our home church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

We were so happy we were able to visit our cousins there and also participate in the evangelistic meetings going on at the time.

After spending a week in Baton Rouge, we were sad to leave but excited to see how canvassing in Michigan would be.

Although we were going to land in Detroit, our destination was Ann Arbor, our new location. We’re ready for take-off!

This is the girls’ room, where eventually 11 girls would live, laugh, and become like sisters.

We landed in Detroit at midnight, and once our driver lead us to our room, we hit the ground and knew nothing else until morning, when we got to see our surroundings better. This is what we saw. 

This is the lobby of the Ann Arbor Adventist School, where would be for the next 7 or so weeks.

We knew our summer was going to be amazing when we met our entire team.

There were kids from Berrien Springs Middle School, Grand Rapids Adventist Academy, Great Lakes Adventist Academy, Heritage Academy in TN, Thunderbird Adventist Academy in AZ, Highland Academy in VA, Andrews University, and Auburn University in AL.

In the mornings we would gather together to have worship across the parking lot in the Ann Arbor church.

Karen and I were so excited to find out that Greg Garner, a former staff at Camp Yorktown Bay, now teacher at Souls West Evangelism School, was there for a couple weeks to train us. Karen and I had last seen him when we were wee-little campers at CYB, and it was amazing to see how God had lead all of us into evangelism through the canvassing work years later.

Here we are coming back to the school after worship to do some intense training before going out in the field!

On one of our training sessions, they trained on the harmful effects of sugar and junk food.

All of us students had to give up our junk food, but it really was a blessing in disguise. These three awesome people were our Ann Arbor team leaders: (from left to right) David Paño, Ouachita Hills graduate who is now Bible working for the Michigan conference, Christopher Da’kosta, Souls West graduate who is taking Pre-Med at Andrews, and Estefany Fernandez, Biblical Studies major at Ouachita Hills College.

On Fridays we would swarm the nearest laundromat, Walmart, TJ-Max, bank, and car cleaners to get our chores and shopping done.

Once Thursday came around, everyone would be shouting “Canvasser Friday!” because it was our last work day for the week. 

On Sabbaths, we would enjoy Jesus’ rest by visiting the city parks, going on hikes, even going to the Pastor’s house for vespers with the entire church. Once the General Conference started, we would even live stream some of the sessions.

We would bring our blankets to spread on the green and enjoy singing and resting.

Hiking through a city park in Ann Arbor.

On Saturday nights, we would have the traditional canvassing Sabbath supper: popcorn and smoothies.!

We were so happy when we were put across streets together!

I even got to meet Michigan Senator Patrick Colbeck (District 7) at his home and leave him a signed Great Controversy as a gift. This book is essential for our leaders.

When midsummer came around, we had the privilege of going to the Michigan Conference Camp-meeting held at Great Lakes Academy. The theme was “Grow Michigan,” which was our mission and motto as canvassers.

After campmeeting, Karen said her goodbyes to our team and headed back to Ouachita Hills Academy to work 6 weeks of agriculture as part of graduation requirements. These “Ag” weeks are some of the most memorable in our high school years. Karen was the official campus mower and she rocked the job.

Even though this isn’t her entire junior class of workers, this is the Center of Operations at the bottom of the cafeteria where everyone gathers in the morning and evening for job assignments.

This truly is a wonderful bonding time for all the students as they are trained to be the leaders of positive influence for the academy this next senior year.

Back to Michigan: If you’ve ever wondered what it is like to take almost 20 young people on a trip across the country, this is a sneak peak. We had the opportunity to travel down to San Antonio for the second weekend of the General Conference and that was quite the adventure!

Coming back up to Michigan from San Antonio was another incredible endeavor, as our team split into 3 teams called satellites. One was going to Flint, MI, the second to Berrien Springs, MI, and the third one to the Upper Peninsula: Marquette, MI. I was on the third team. We would be at our satellite locations for the next 2 weeks before rendezvousing in Ann Arbor again.

The Upper Peninsula was beautiful! The second picture is in Pictured Rocks in Munising. We learned that the further north you travel in Michigan the more it is like the south: relaxed people, Southern hospitality, you name it.

Even though this isn’t our entire team, it shows how wonderful it was to meet so many other students, not only from our team but from all over Michigan and Indiana.

The entire summer was a beautiful experience. It brought us to a closer walk with Jesus and gave us a greater love for souls. We look forward to see Jesus and thank Him for His continual faithfulness and see all the people we were able to bring to the feet of the Master.

If God puts it on your heart to continue supporting Karen and I through our education at Ouachita Hills Academy and College, please do so by contacting the Office at (870) 342-6210 or mailing your checks (with our names in the Memo) to 46 Madison Way, Amity, AR, 71921.

Soon more news updates will come up about how God is using Karen and I in evangelism.

God bless and keep looking up!

Sharon Farias