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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

Eyes on Jesus

By Emily Tharp
June 30, 2013

Seeing kids get bullied on the bus might not bother the average teenager, but Alyssa Kellum isn’t your typical 16-year-old — she’s a campus missionary.

Kellum has been ministering to her fellow students at Perrydale School in Amity, Ore., since she was in sixth grade. Last year, she was troubled by the behavior of some older students on the bus ride to her kindergarten through 12th grade school.

“I was sick of hearing the gossip and who was sleeping with who,” Kellum says. “The little kids were picking up on their trashy language and rude behavior.”

One day she decided to move to the front of the bus to separate herself from the inappropriate behavior. After a few weeks, she realized she could use the time to minister to the younger students. Kellum says she got about 20 kids to join in a game of Simon Says that day, effectively distracting them from the other students’ unsuitable behavior.

For the next two weeks, the lower-school children on the bus asked Kellum to play, and she used the game to teach Scripture verses. Eventually, about 15 of her younger schoolmates memorized the verses, and two of them made decisions to follow Christ as Savior.

The campus missionary extended her reach into the students’ lives by sharing Christian music on her iPod during bus trips. Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before the MP3 player stopped working.

“I thought, Awesome God, I give them my iPod like You told me to, and they broke it. How does this help me?” Kellum says. In response, God gave her a vision of getting five iPods to share with the students.

At first, the idea overwhelmed her. “I thought, God I can’t afford that! I babysit!’’ she says.

Kellum submitted the story of her bus ministry and her additional goal in a campus missionary report to Tom Bachman, Youth Alive missionary for the Oregon District of the Assemblies of God. Bachman thought Light for the Lost could help fulfill Kellum’s dream.

Bachman contacted the local LFTL director and raised money for the project as he visited youth groups across the district.

“Three churches immediately helped, and the district also kicked in,” Bachman says. “Within two months Alyssa had five iPods and was ministering to 10 students with them.” 

Kellum no longer rides the bus, but she continues her missions focus through an annual sock drive and distributing the Book of Hope, as well as Bibles she’s purchased with money from her summer job.

Although Kellum admits being a campus missionary can get lonely, “the pros outweigh every con,” she says.

“I love the fact that even when a day is rough it really doesn’t make a difference, because Jesus is still Lord on my worst day,” she says. “The best part is when you see that click for another student. Being able to tell them they’re not alone and seeing the way Jesus shapes the lives around you — that’s what it’s really about.”

Kellum believes missions work is so important because it changes people, including herself.

“It’s when you make your life about other people that Jesus can do the real work in you,” she says. “I’ve found when I put my eyes on Jesus and my hands on people, it doesn’t matter what’s going on with me anymore. I look in the mirror and I’m not the same.”

As Kellum looks toward the future, she’s considering vocational ministry, although she’s not sure how that will take shape. She may not be certain about her career yet, but she is sure she wants to continue to reach people for Christ.

“My goal for the rest of my life is to be a servant of Jesus and a lover of people; and if that happens, God will have His way and people’s lives will be changed,” she says.

EMILY THARP is editorial assistant of the Pentecostal Evangel.

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