By David Thornhill-Smith
OCEAN CITY, Md.—I first went to Ocean City in 2007 just after I finished university. Shortly after arriving I attended the Sunday morning service at Ocean City Baptist Church (OCBC) where I was warmly welcomed. I found out that OCBC ran a Monday night dinner and Friday night coffeehouse. Friday was my day off from work; I would go there almost every week. I loved it! It was so good to see a church reaching out to the students with different events and to see hundreds of students entering a church when they might never do so at home.
In 2008 and 2010, I returned to Ocean City to visit Sean and Anna Davis [Sean is pastor of Ocean City Baptist Church]. We became good friends and during those visits I was able to spend time with the missionary teams and see what they did apart from international events. I really enjoyed this time.
Just before returning home in 2010, I asked Lynn Davis [Resort Missionary] if it would be possible for me to join the missionary team in 2011. She was fine with the idea and so I spent the whole summer in 2011 serving at OCBC.
I was in a team of nine missionaries, and we did a whole variety of ministries from working with children, organizing family nights, taking water to the lifeguards and other workers, hosting dinners and coffeehouses, running Sunday services at several campgrounds and organizing mid-week Bible studies.
I was so happy to have the opportunity to serve with OCBC/CALM (Central Atlantic Leisure Ministries) having previously been on the receiving end of their work.
The work CALM does is important. I suspect many of the students who come through the church doors in the summer don’t usually go to church in their home countries or perhaps know anthing about Jesus. The ministries provided through CALM mean that students and others are able to see the love of the Christ in action in a very small way. This is not the ultimate purpose however. We desire to share through conversations and by people hearing the Good News of Jesus so that they might have an everlasting hope. It was a privilege this summer to see the Lord work in students’ lives. We had new students attending church along with an international student and a volunteer becoming a Christian!
As a result of my experience with OCBC/CALM since returning to England I have begun working with a charity which specializes in reaching out to foreign language students here.