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A Summer of Rural Ministry

Becky Montoro, a native of southcentral PA and a senior majoring in Biblical and Religious studies, spent her summer living away from home for the first time in order to follow God’s call.  Transplanted into the little Pennsylvania town of Fombell, she devoted her time to Living Faith Church.  There, Becky encountered challenges, joys, friendship, and growth as she stepped into a season of slowing down to the pace of rural ministry and attuning her heart and mind to the voice and work of the Lord.

Surveying the rural landscape of Fombell, Becky reflected that “the largest need in the area seemed to be a lack of relationship with God.” But Living Faith Church, “filled with people who have such a genuine love for God” as Becky expressed, sojourns forward, tirelessly working to invite the lost into relationship with the Living God and His people.

The Joy of Mutual Encouragement

Enriched by the faithful, patient work of the church, Becky had the sweet opportunity of being poured into as she poured out what she had to offer in ministry. Working alongside head pastor Mark Sentell, his wife Lise, and associate pastor Wade Henderson, Becky got to serve with and learn from servants of the Lord who have been on the front lines of ministry for decades.  

Reflecting on how, in just a few short months, she went from not knowing anyone at the church to now savoring the sweet fellowship she has with them, Becky rejoiced, “it is really encouraging to see how well I’ve come to know everyone and how many solid relationships have been built.”  Furthermore, Becky had the opportunity to be mentored by women of the church.  She said, “both Lisa [Beckett] and Lise [Sentell] have become very dear friends of mine.”

A Wide Array of Ministry Opportunities

Stepping out of the familiar and into growth and service, Becky welcomed a variety of tasks and responsibilities, getting a taste for the numerous ministries occurring at Living Faith Church. She engaged in planning events for the youth group, accomplishing projects for the children’s ministry, tending (physically and metaphorically) to the garden ministry, and facilitating Free Lunch Friday and Biker Nights (two outreach events that are a regular part of the ministry at Living Faith). Additionally, Becky “planned and participated in the young adult’s volleyball outreach group” and wrote a report “used to teach the church about the purpose of affinity groups in the church.”

Woven into these administrative opportunities, was a Monday morning rhythm spent pouring out love on children from broken homes. This took place at Pine Valley Camp where Lise Sentell and Becky ran the horseback riding elective for the campers. This chance “to spend a couple hours every week connecting with the kids and teaching them a little bit about God and His relationship with us” is Becky’s favorite memory from the summer.

This video highlights Becky's experience and the experience of two other Grove City College student interns.

Amidst the hustle and bustle of church happenings, Becky vividly remembers two instances where she witnessed the Lord softening and captivating the hearts of two unbelievers. Becky shared that “there was an older Jewish gentleman who saw the Free Lunch Friday sign and started coming every Friday. Towards the end of the summer, he began coming to church.”  The second instance involved a younger guy who, after childhood, had walked away from the church but had recently become involved in one of Living Faith’s outreach programs. “I believe that God used our young adults volleyball group to work in him,” Becky reflects, “and, towards the end of the summer, he expressed a want to start attending church again.”

Discerning a Call to Ministry

This past summer, Becky got to experience the brick-laying work of kingdom building through the behind-the-scenes event and project planning that she accomplished. But she also got to see the fruits of kingdom building through the friendships fostered and the opportunity to witness God guiding hearts towards Himself.  While Becky did not enter college with the intention of working in ministry, her past two summers have been steeped in ministry work and now she says, “I am really thinking about pursuing ministry full-time.”

College, Church, Community

Looking back on her time spent in Fombell, Pennsylvania, Becky sees a picture of the Center for Rural Ministry's vision coming to fruition as the college, church, and community give and receive for the mutual benefit of all and, ultimately, for the advancement of God’s Kingdom. Becky expressed that Grove City College is “uniquely equipped to serve the rural church” because the college is not only producing graduates well prepared for their diverse fields but is also instilling in every student what it means to act and think Christianly in all realms of life. Becky says, with a smile, that “Grovers tend to know the importance and beauty of community” and they will hopefully draw from their formative college years to become invested, faithful members of churches and communities just like Becky got to do this summer.

Emma Ruby, raised in central PA, is a writing intern for the CRM and a senior studying English, Christian Ministries, and Redemptive Entrepreneurship with the hope of spending a lifetime doing vocational ministry. 

Evalyn is a CRM writing intern and Grove City College senior who is studying English and pursuing teaching opportunities in classical Christian education. She lives in and loves rural Western Pennsylvania.