Outreach

We strive to bring God's kingdom here on earth

This Summer, a team from Catalyst will be traveling to Slovakia to partner with Josiah Venture at an English-language youth camp. Christina Madison, Peter Pelto, Tim Ennis,
Jackie McNeil, and Jared & Shannon King (with their kids Maggie & Duncan) will travel from June 26-July 8, with a bulk of the time spent at a summer camp
run by Josiah Ventures. While there, they will be building relationships with Slovak youth, sharing what it means to believe in and follow Jesus and
helping them connect with a local faith community.

Along with their day-to-day activities, the team will also be pursing the following goals:
1 - To encourage and support Josiah Venture's vision to reach the youth of Slovakia
2 - To grow personally in our passion and ability to share the good news of Jesus in our daily lives
3 - To explore partnership with Josiah Venture to send Catalyst teams in the future

Please join in prayer for the team as they prepare. If you'd like to partner financially, visit our Giving page and select either the Slovakia General Fund or you can
designate support for an individual team member.

Scroll down for specific updates from the team.
July 5th Update
Today is our final day of camp and we are excited and exhausted! We have had so much fun here building relationships and encouraging the youth here to follow Christ. We have had great, meaningful discussions and fun team-building exercises that have challenged our sore muscles. But we are all so glad we came to see the work that God is doing here. His spirit is felt every day as we point these youth towards Christ.

We ended our evening with a 4th of July celebration that was enjoyed by all. We made a mini parade, complete with candy throwing, politician, beauty queen and clown, then played a 4th of July themed Jeopardy game, and ended with S’mores where we could have a few more meaningful conversations before we depart camp tomorrow morning.

We can’t wait to share our experiences with you in person and show you some of our pictures of this wonderful country and the amazing people he is building His church through here!

July 4th Update
We cannot properly explain the thoughts and feelings we have for today's experience. All week basically lead to this night, Gospel night, where we had the chance to pray for the campers and allow them the opportunity to ask God to either change their lives or ask Him into their life for the first time.

We started the day early and headed out on an hour bus ride to a town called Michalovce. There we enjoyed a pleasant lake where we swam, kayaked or relaxed in the shade. The entire American team went on an hour hike to see the ruins of a castle built over 600 years ago on top of a huge bluff that had phenomenonal views. From there, we could see the borders of both Hungary and Ukraine.

After we came back we prepped for tonight's message and what they called the Labyrinth. Tonight's message discussed how we are called to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind as well as love your neighbor as yourself. God desires a two way relationship. He loves those around us and wants us to love them as ourselves. They discussed sin and described it simply as us missing the target God intended for us. We are meant for a perfect life with God and we miss out on it because we fail to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind. However, Jesus did us a huge solid and died for our imperfections and all we need to do is our best in fulfilling the 2 greatest commandments.

After the message the campers walked to 6 stations in the labrynth, each providing a source of God's truth. Some stations briefly discussed our topics from previous nights: I am the gate, I am the Shepard, I am the light and the truth, and I am the resurrection and life. They also asked the students their desires, dreams, and the disappointments that come with not reaching those goals. It wrapped up saying Jesus completes us and we are fulfilled in His presence.

After the walk, campers had an opportunity to be prayed with or to ask questions. Those that chose to take advantage of the prayer room came with their own life's burdens, concerns, and questions. It was beyond obvious God was present and was drilling away at their hearts as tears rolled down and noses were blown. We know of one person who accepted Christ tonight! We are also excited to announce Duncan decided to take his relationship with Christ to the next level and get baptized! Additionally, two campers who have expressed their stance as an atheist have been asking great questions through the week and both spent time in the prayer room; one of them over an hour.

We are so pleased God provided us this opportunity to serve Him for His children here in eastern Slovakia. Today was a refreshing experience for all involved. Tonight alone was worth the months of planning, late nights, and time away from family.


July 3 Update
“Taste and see that the Lord is good,” says the Psalmist. We started our day meditating on Psalm 34 as a camp staff - praise God that we get to witness this Psalm come alive here.
There is so much goodness:
-A thousand gestures of kindness like a plate of food offered from a neighboring table or a cup of coffee delivered while someone works on a project.
-God speaking through people sharing their real, unvarnished faith stories.
-Students hearing and wanting to know more.
-Young staff members working diligently from just after sun up to into the wee hours of the morning to provide a high quality camp for the students. The schedule is packed!  Their love for students and their desire to make disciples of them is inspiring.
-So many delightfully ridiculous skits.
-Talents, gifts, hobbies and crafts generously shared.
-Homemade baked goods appearing all day.
-Prayers planned and spontaneous and continuous for our life here and our lives at home.
-Nearly everyone curious and willing to have dozens of delightfully awkward first conversations so we can have less awkward second and third ones.
-As I composed this message no fewer than three people asked if I was ok because I was sitting alone typing on my phone. 🙂
-So much laughter and joy.

As we move to the second half of camp, please pray that the Spirit will continue to soften hearts and minds, that those who are curious will ask and that those who answer will be filled with the Spirit to speak grace and truth. Many already know Jesus and by God’s grace there are some who don’t yet.

Please also join us in thanking God for the staff and volunteers from the churches here in Slovakia at KECY.  There are more staff than students. Their care, diligence, faith, love and service is real and inspiring. Ask that God will continue to fill them to overflowing. His glory abounds - may it more and more and more.

July 1 Update
Big things continue to happen here at camp. The vibe here really speaks of God working in the space, in this location and in this country. The young people of Slovakia, who are running the camp, are so passionate and involved in making this nation a place that invites Jesus and includes the youth in a way that is really changing the church in Slovakia. Through conversations with them we can see that they know the traditional church is not a place that many young people find life in and they want to change it. They are authentic in ways that are beyond brave. It’s a huge mentorship opportunity for both them and us in the lives of the youth.

Last night the testimony was surprisingly candid and authentic. The speakers name was Ivka and what she said took guts. It’s hard to imagine on day one of a camp in America having a speaker get up and share as much personal information as she did last night, but the discussion afterwards really allowed the youth to do the same to be open, honest, and vulnerable in ways that I think are making deep connections and personal relationships both to each other and to Jesus much faster. They will grow even deeper as the camp continues. Jared and Shannon shared part of their story of their time in China and how God worked in their lives last night. The two of the English lessons are going well.

Continued prayers are always welcome as we try to meet the various language needs of so many different kinds and so many different levels of learners. In sports we have a couple boys hesitant to jump in and be fully a part of all the action and all the activities and pray for softened hearts, and also inclusion as we sense there’s a bit of nervousness on their behalf. The students are meeting us, talking with us, and getting to know us in really fun ways. We can tell the camp has deep meaning for everyone here. Hope all is well with Catalyst. Thanks for praying!

June 30 Update
The team has arrived at the camp facility outside of Prešov, Slovakia. We met the youth leaders from the Prešov church who are leading the camp and spent the afternoon setting up and preparing for camp activities.

We are awaiting arrival of campers at any moment and are praying they are receptive to the gospel message and that they witness Christ’s love. May God use this camp community and the programming to lead campers to Him. We are praying that the campers form good relationships with the Slovak youth leaders so they may be discipled into lives of faith.

June 28 Update
We all arrived safely to the TCKompas Training Center in Zilina, Slovakia on Thursday, June 27. We received gracious hospitality from the Slovakia TCKompas team. They have led us in a dynamic training since our arrival. We’ve learned about evangelism, the history and mission of Josiah Venture, and how to fulfill our camp duties.

Tomorrow we travel to camp.

This organization is awesome. God is at work here in Slovakia. More updates to come.


June 22 Update
The team would like to thank all who have supported the preparations for this mission with their encouragement, prayers and financial support.
 
In the past months, we have been communicating with the youth leaders from the church in Presov, Slovakia, and making preparations to serve together at the English Conversation/Ultimate Frisbee camp, called KECY Camp. We have completed Josiah Venture’s online training in cross-cultural evangelism and in conducting English Conversation lessons.  Now our bags are packed with lots of camp supplies and American goodies (including S’Mores fixings for a 4th of July Celebration at camp), and we’re anticipating the following itinerary:
 
June 26: Say goodbye to our friends and families in the Twin Cities and travel by car, train, bus and airplane to Slovakia.
 
June 27-29: Arrive in Slovakia and attend a training for American teams at Josiah Venture’s headquarters in Zilina, Slovakia. Josiah Venture goes by TCKompas in Slovakia, so our trainings will be at the TCKompas training facility. Training topics will include a deeper dive into cross-cultural evangelism and relationship building as well as in presenting English Conversation lessons. We will also have time to worship. All the activities on these dates are presented by TCKompas staff. Many of these staff began to follow Jesus at a KECY camp as youth!
 
June 29-30: Travel to the camp facility which is in a forest 50 miles to the east of Presov, Slovakia. We will meet the team from Presov in person for the first time. Together we will set up the facility for camp and make the final preparations for our camp activities.
 
June 30- July 6: KECY Camp! The daily schedule looks like this:
 
In the early morning, before breakfast, we will be in prayer and have morning devotionals with the believers at camp. Christina, Jackie, Shannon, and Maggie will each lead a devotional time.
 
Following a Slovak breakfast and a short morning meeting, we will lead two hours of English Conversation lessons or sports tracks. Jackie will be leading a group of students with beginner level English conversational skills. Shannon and Christina each have intermediate level groups and Jared and Peter each have advanced groups. Josiah Venture has provided a curriculum with games, activities, and micro-lessons to engage students in speaking English. Most students have learned English in their schools, but have not yet had the opportunity to practice speaking. These conversational opportunities with native speakers are a reason why many of the campers are drawn to camp. During this time, Tim will be leading campers who have chosen to participate in a sports track. These sports track campers will be practicing using their English during this time out on the sports field.  
 
After lunch and a group activity led by the Slovak team, campers have the option of choosing to play U.S. Sports with Tim (ultimate frisbee, volleyball, baseball, flag football, etc.) or choosing to attend a workshop. Jackie will present a workshop for campers to learn American Sign Language. Peter will lead a workshop on creating block print art. Shannon is having a workshop on crafting. Christina will lead a workshop on non-competitive exercise. Jared is facilitating a workshop on lawn games.
 
After dinner and a short break, there is an evening program. As part of the evening program, campers will hear speakers. The theme of camp this year is “The Original.” Talks all center on who Jesus said He is in the Gospel of John. Tim is scheduled to be the M.C. during the evening program. Jared is going to give his testimony following a talk on John 14:6 about Jesus being the way, truth, and life. Peter is presenting the talk on John 15:5 about Jesus being the vine, and that following Jesus means being connected to and nourished by him. All campers have the opportunity to participate in small group discussions about what they have heard each night. On July 4, the evening program and all night activities will offer campers a special chance to hear the Gospel, to reflect on their life, and to be in conversation and prayer with leaders. Please join us in praying that the Spirit would move during this time.
 
The final activity of the camp is E-Night. E-nights offer a community building time each evening. We have brought stuff for s’mores and a 4th of July themed E-Night (to be held on July 5).
 
July 6: Travel to Presov, Slovakia. We will be hosted by families.
 
July 7: Attend the local church in the morning. In the afternoon/evening we will host our final “After Party.” This is an event at the church for local youth leaders, campers, and campers’ families to attend to learn about the themes presented at camp, to hear a talk, and to learn about ways to connect with the local church youth group. Christina is scheduled to give the talk that evening on John 6:35, Jesus as the Bread of Life and the only one who will truly fulfill us.
 
Please join us in praying that the good news of life in and through Jesus is presented clearly and that those who are not yet believers will have changed hearts.

local partnerships

  

together for  good

Together For Good is an organization that works to ensure that vulnerable families and children never walk alone. They do this not only by meeting tangible needs of families, but also by providing respite care for children and loving, supportive relationships for moms.

There are several ways that Catalyst partners with Together For Good. You can find out more by clicking here.

the hospitality center

The Hospitality Center connects international university students to the local community by offering programs  which give a platform for friendships to form, students to find a “home away from home,” and authentic communities to develop.

They also provide opportunities for interested students to discuss life, faith and worldview and offer invitations for students to attend bible studies, various workshops and church services. To read a recap of a Celebration Meal we joined in hosting, click here.

Central Park Elementary

Central Park Elementary in Roseville is a neighborhood school rich in cultural and linguistic diversity nestled within the heart of Roseville, Minnesota. Our students join us from a variety of cultures and diverse backgrounds and each child brings a unique and valuable set of skills and talents to school.

Catalyst has opportunities to partner with students and staff in meaningful ways throughout the academic year. If you'd like to know about upcoming opportunities, please contact us.

Global Missions

We are fortunate to partner with several different missionaries who are serving God's Kingdom in many different ways. Below you can learn a bit more about some of our missions partners.

Brooke & Cory Jackson

The Jacksons are pursuing a ministry focusing on training and discipleship in Thailand. They arrived in the fall of 2022 and are currently in language school while also helping their girls acclimate to a new culture and building relationships in their community.

Ultimately, their prayerful goal is to see a gospel movement happen in Thailand that would impact not only the Thai people, but the surrounding unreached people groups as well.

For their latest ministry update, click here.

Heather & Aaron Jones

Aaron and Heather first got involved with Cru as students at St. Cloud State University. God used the ministry to transform their lives. After getting married, God led them to spend a year in the Middle East with Cru. After returning to the US, they spent 10 years ministering on several campuses in Northwest WI. After adopting Liv and Tate, they felt the Lord calling them back overseas, and they moved their family to Brisbane, Australia for two years. Upon returning to the US, they moved to Minneapolis in 2016 and work to care for hundreds of Cru staff in eight US states and several locations overseas, primarily in North Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia.

To learn more about the Jones' ministry, click here.

For their latest ministry update, click here.

church plants

Since the beginning, we’ve committed ourselves to helping launch other new churches. We have enthusiastically initiated and participated in the launch of Renovation Church in Blaine (2009), Ignite Church in Oakdale (2012), Hope Bridge Church in Plymouth (2012), Revision Church in Des Moines, IA (2015), and Catalyst White Bear (2021). These churches have since multiplied into even more church plants! We've also commissioned an area developer for Young Life in the greater Minneapolis-Saint Paul area.