Some of the things that I appreciate most about Erskine are the ministry opportunities that occur throughout the year. During this past year, students, faculty, and non-Erskinites alike all played parts in benefiting the community, whether by raising money for the American Cancer Society through the Miss Erskine Pageant, by volunteering at an Eagle Scout’s project, or by participating in any other numerous ministry events. For me, the most memorable ministry opportunity of my freshman year will always be the RUF-hosted Barn-K For Joy. The Barn-K for Joy raises money to send a young man to Camp Joy, a camp that is specially designed for people with special needs, through a 3.6 mile race from the Due West sign in Erskine to the barn where RUF meets on Sundays. Paul Patrick, the campus minister at Erskine, finds sponsors who will donate a certain amount of money depending on the number of participants in the race. RUF has been able to send a special young man named Warren Sullivan to Camp Joy for many years, and I think that is one of the most special things about the ministry and about Erskine.
Now, not all people are created equally in the aspect of physical fitness. Take me, for example. I enjoy going on “runs” (much walking occurs), but I am definitely not a “runner.” After I passed the first mile marker on the road, a part of my heart sank because I was so tired and still had more tan two miles left. Other [crazy] people are super fit and love to run, so they leave people (like me) in the dust. Some people hate running with a passion and enjoy a leisurely stroll instead. No matter what category a person falls into, he/she is guaranteed to really enjoy the Barn-K because it’s designed to accommodate to all types of people. Plus, everyone gets rewarded at the end of the race with a buffet of water, fruit, pizza, and snow cones, a super cool t shirt, and an amazing lesson by Paul Patrick!
After telling you about my wimpiness and how tired I was from the race, I would like to say that passing the finish line was the best feeling that I felt that day, but despite a grand feeling of relief and accomplishment, I experienced an even better feeling later on. Warren Sullivan got to come to RUF with some of his friends and caretakers on the day of the race. Warren’s uncontainable excitement was almost tangible as it filled the entire barn. I remember sitting on the hay bale and feeling more joy and thankfulness than I had felt in a long time. This time, my joy did not come from the blessings that God had given me, but from the blessing that God gave to Warren, through us. I was completely overwhelmed because I could almost see Christ lovingly watching Warren, his blessed and beautiful child. The Barn-K for Joy was so aptly named, not just for the camp, but because everyone experienced inexplicable joy as we watched Warren’s reactions to Christ in his life.