COVID-19 / Student.Go

Touching Miami with Love from a Distance

By Ben Brown

In the fall of 2020, Sara Hallam served as the Social Media and Spiritual Development Intern with Touching Miami with Love (TML) through CBF’s student missions initiative Student.Go. In this role, she created a Creation Care Bible Study curriculum for TML students and served as the social media manager during Give Miami Day and throughout the fall.

There’s just one twist.

Despite interning for an entire semester for TML, Hallam has never been to Miami. In fact, due to COVID-19, her internship was all virtual from her apartment in Blacksburg, Virginia.

“I had to be fueled by this idea that there is this ministry in Miami, Florida, and these kids in pictures that ‘I’m looking at on my computer screen are there learning about the Lord” said Hallam.

Touching Miami with Love is a mission effort launched by CBF Florida that serves children, youth, and families with holistic programming aimed to inspire, educate and empower. Despite the challenges of COVID-19, TML continues to press forward, providing opportunities and resources to help families in Overtown and West Homestead’s neighborhoods in Miami. TML partnered with Student.Go to provide experience and empower an intern to manage their social media accounts and create biblical lessons for students during the summer. Hallam applied and was thrilled to use her skills to help this important organization even from afar.

Faith and care for creation connect for Hallam, but it wasn’t always that way.

“I was always one of those kids that liked to be outside. My dad and I would go camping, but my care for creation did not become a passion until later, said Hallam.

Hallam grew up in a different faith tradition but connected with CBF through a friend on campus at Virginia Tech. As Hallam grew in her faith, God also began showing her the connection between faith, care, and the environment.

In loving creation, Hallam realized that she needed to think like a Floridian even while in school and working in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. “I had to familiarize myself with the Florida environment because I was creating lesson plans for children that potentially have never left their hometowns in Florida, ” she said.

Sara Hallam

While she ‘couldn’t create lessons on hiking or trails like the ones in her backyard, she did create a lesson on natural disaster preparedness by creating flood kits for students to keep in their classrooms.

Her lessons focused on The Creation, the story of ‘Noah’s ark, wildlife in the Bible, and the sower’s parable. She used these lessons to teach about God’s care for the world, the importance of disaster preparedness, awareness of ‘Florida’s endangered animal species, and opportunities to grow food and to with God partner in creation.

‘Hallam’s work connects with larger efforts within CBF life for creation care, such as the CBF Environmental Stewardship Network that launched in the summer of 2020. The work of creation care is echoed throughout CBF life in community gardens, sustainability efforts, and the work of Student.Go.

Learning to care for creation can show the natural world’s beauty and majesty, but it can also connect unlikely spaces like Blacksburg, Virginia, and Miami, Florida.

“I hope the students at TML gain an understanding of the Lord’s care for all creation, specifically the environment, ” said Hallam. “I hope with that understanding comes a deeper love for the environment around them and a desire to be stewards of ‘God’s creation. “

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