In a small room in Roanoke, Va., Huntington University student Megan Condry sits beside two middle school girls, who meet weekly to do their daily devotions together. As they are reading through the Bible, one of the girls asks Condry a tough question. The question compels Condry to go deeper into what Scripture says to respond to her question.
“My time is not my own, and my worries seem to fade away as I fellowship and encourage the students,” said Condry, a senior family and children’s ministries major from Celina, Ohio. “They have opened my eyes to many things and challenged me.”
Condry is one of 18 students at Huntington participating in PRIME or Practical Research and Immersion through Ministry Effectiveness. PRIME is a six-month experience that ministry majors at Huntington University take part in during the summer and fall semesters of their senior year. PRIME helps students experience and learn more about ministry through hands-on participation. At the heart of PRIME is a mentor who leads and encourages the student along the way.
“While I am on PRIME, I have to keep a journal of what I do, what God is teaching me, what experiences I am having, and what I am learning about ministry,” said Condry. “I also have to read five books related to spiritual formation and the specific type of ministry with which I am involved. I also have some other assignments related to my experience and classes taken at school.”
The organization that Condry is working for is Acts 2 Ministry, an urban ministry that reaches out to middle school and high school youth in the city. Many of Condry’s jobs include working with the middle school ministry and outreach, assisting her mentor with various activities, helping prepare events, planning Bible studies, doing office work and hanging out with the kids.
“I’ve really connected with my PRIME mentor, Kristen Morrison, and love being around her. She is an amazing young woman of God, and she is so encouraging to me in my journey of faith,” said Condry. “She is just so fun, and we are able to talk about lots of different things. I’m just amazed at how God has provided relationships and connections with people in the community.”
The majority of the children that Condry works with are African American sixth and eighth graders. Most of them come from difficult home situations and live in a poor section of the neighborhood. The Acts 2 organization helps the children stay out of trouble through taking them on field trips and getting them involved with activities that offer a safe community of friends and mentors.
One issue that Condry has faced is cultural differences. Living and working with people of a different race every day has challenged her to overcome interpersonal barriers.
“I have experienced cultural differences from new slang, urban wear, to understanding weaves and other hair styles,” said Condry. “Not only have I experienced the ‘material’ differences in culture, but also just differences in how people live and what values they have."
Huntington University has helped prepare Condry for PRIME through the leadership and training information from classes and the ministry events on campus. The concepts and knowledge from classes have helped her in planning activities and forming relationships with the kids and the community.
“I have grown and changed a great deal in my spiritual walk with the Lord, and I have a deeper desire to be in the Word and I have made more of a commitment to study,” said Condry. “I am more flexible and am more willing to be stretched outside my comfort zone. I also have a greater appreciation for urban ministry and what God is doing here."