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A God-sized dream: Audrey Mikhail ’13 serves the broken and hurting

Posted: Mar 25, 2013

2013-03-25AudreyMikhail

"Our future goal is to fill Madison Square Garden. Why not? We serve a big God!" (Olivet senior Audrey Mikhail, founder of Project Restoration, Joplin, Mo.)

Balancing coursework, Orpheus Choir and travel as a music ambassador, senior biology major Audrey Mikhail would seem to have time for little else. But the opposite is true for her. An advocate for the great hope that we experience through Christ’s love, Audrey has birthed Project Restoration, a nonprofit organization focused on bringing that great hope to the broken and hurting of our world.

Beginning of a dream

A Joplin, Mo. native, Audrey watched firsthand as a tornado devastated her town on May 22, 2011. In the aftermath, God began to plant the seeds of a dream in her heart. As Joplin began to rebuild, stronger than it ever had been and with pride, Audrey could not ignore the rising tide of domestic violence, alcoholism and suicides.

“Joplin is still a mess, and it is the mess people don’t want to see,” Audrey says.

With the gripping statistics in mind, Audrey experienced the growth of a dream: Project Restoration. God showed her the great need for emotional and spiritual restoration in Joplin and other hurting communities around the world. While the task seemed daunting, she trusted that God would continue to nurture and bring hope to His children through this work.

Realization of a dream

Audrey quickly began work on developing a mission, vision, budget and strategy. She dove in head first, trusting God to guide her every step of the way.

Wanting to make Project Restoration the best it could be, she surrounded herself with a talented diverse group of volunteers. Each gives his or her time willingly and sacrificially — reducing the administrative costs to zero.

Audrey and her team have been working around the clock to bring the inaugural Project Restoration Conference to Joplin in summer 2013. Confident that God will restore hope to the people of Joplin through His love, the team wants to create “a little piece of heaven” for attendees — before, during and after the conference.

As part of the preparation process, the team has been selecting and training volunteers for discipleship efforts. These volunteers will shepherd and disciple conference attendees, and support them in their healing process and beyond.

Living the dream

The team is deep into the process of securing venues, speakers, music and funding. The conference will feature music from Hillsong, and the primary speaker will be Pastor Carl Lentz from Hillsong NYC.

Currently, 70 percent of the needed budget has been raised. “We are praising God for His provision and continuing to trust Him for what is still needed,” Audrey says.

Audrey and her team are totally committed to do what it takes to make the first Project Restoration Conference a success. They are also looking forward to hosting future conferences for the survivors of Hurricane Sandy, as well as residents of Newtown, Conn.

For more information, email ProjectRestoration@live.com.
 

10

Percentage of Olivet freshmen who achieved ACT composite scores of 30 or higher (4% achieve this nationally)