Students stopped by the Encouragement Notes table throughout the week to write notes of support and encouragement to various people. Photo credit: Timmy Greene.

ENC’s semesterly Encouragement Week, run by SGA, took place last week from March 23-27.

The goal of Encouragement Week is to inspire students to take action in supporting and encouraging everyone in the ENC community, as well as others outside of the community who may need extra support.

SGA’s Director of Student Ministries Hannah Dawber organized the week’s events. The various events included the encouragement notes table in the student center each day, the Loving Hearts Ministry meet and greet, Yoga Flow in Munro Parlor, the showing of “Heaven is for Real,” Kingdom Experience, the Finkbinder’s Fast, and Breathe Retreat.

Students, faculty, and staff had the opportunity every day to write encouraging notes. The notes written each day were directed to a certain group of people: faculty and staff, ENC musicians, athletes, and artists, human trafficking victims, and the homeless. Over 600 notes were written and sent during all five days of this event.

Tuesday evening featured the presentation of the movie “Heaven is for Real.” This film is about a four-year-old child who miraculously survives an appendectomy. As he grows older, their family found a beautiful story about their son’s trip to Heaven.

“Heaven is for Real was a really amazing movie… A lot of the messages in the movie were things I really needed to hear as they spoke to my heart in a new and unique way,” senior Ashley Cook commented after seeing the film.

The monthly worship service Kingdom Experience took place on Wednesday. The theme this month was “Letting Go,” and the evening focused on one scripture in particular, Proverbs 3: 5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (NIV)

Also at the service, freshman Gabie Schmidt performed an original spoken word poem about trusting God through thick and thin.

Community Life Graduate Assistant Joe Pirucki attended Kingdom Experience and found it to be a very powerful service.

“The night was highlighted by an impromptu laying on of hands as we all prayed as a group for one person. So powerful,” Pirucki said, “The impact of knowing that so many people are willing to support you through hard times is inspiring.”

On Thursday, students could choose to participate in the Finkbinder’s Fast, in which students signed up to skip dinner in the caf. Instead, the meal money was donated a Asia-Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary in the Philippines who are fundraising in order to provide Internet access across their campus. 

From Friday afternoon through Sunday evening, students attended Breathe Retreat. They traveled to a camp ground off campus for a “retreat weekend,” allowing for a time to commune with friends and get off campus.

One student who attended Breathe Retreat shared his experience.

“Through Breathe Retreat, God has definitely encouraged me about my fellow students at ENC. I hardly even knew many of the people who were with me before this weekend, and now I feel like I’ve made an entire group of new friends,” freshman Chris Estep said.

Dawber found this semester’s Encouragement Week to be an overall success.

“I think God worked in amazing ways…The whole point of the week is to spread love and encourage others, and He was definitely present throughout all events, big and small.”

She also observed that more students from all areas of campus seemed to get involved this semester.

“It was incredible, especially to see those who don’t typically write letters or participate in spiritual activities on campus come out to events and write letters. God is working, [you] just have to look,” she concluded.