It was one of the most diverse Summer Training Programs The Navigators has seen, and one of the first in the Los Angeles area—with 15 participants from three ethnic networks and four Navigator ministries, converging in Compton, California, for 31 days last summer.
The Compton Summer Intensive (CSi) was led by Armando Madrid (Navigators Church Ministries) and Alicia Garcia (Navigators Collegiate), in partnership with the Navigators of Los Angeles City Team and local Navigator ministries within the city.
Each CSi team member gave up part of their summer to serve at the Compton Navigators I:58 ministry hub out of a desire to deepen their hearts for urban outreach. Each CSi participant trained in Life-to-Life™ discipleship, learned and taught everyday life and job skills, and mentored kids in camp and internship settings throughout the city. They lived locally, serving churches and faith-based non-profits in the heart of Compton.
“Getting to work in partnership with Navigators from our other local ministries was a highlight for us,” says Susan Combs (I:58), who led the service project portion of the program with her husband, Bob. “We all have so much we are focusing on in our local ministry context. It was meaningful to me to get to know the other Navigators and be united in a common goal.”
Navigators Los Angeles City Director Carl Camp served on the CSi planning team.
“It was great to see Navigators from all our ministries in the Los Angeles area work together to plan CSi,” Carl says.
This program was particularly unique in that 13 people in the group were ethnic minorities, and many were from urban areas similar to Compton.
“This is the third summer we have run our internship for mentoring high-schoolers, and having the CSi participants this year was a highpoint,” Susan says. “Although we have ongoing relationships with the high schoolers, our staff are all middle-aged or older, and five out of six of us are white. The high schoolers are African American, Latino, and Samoan, growing up in Compton. We will never be able to relate fully to their challenges and struggles. The CSi team was able to speak into the students’ lives and encourage them in their faith in ways we never could.”
CSi also made a powerful impact at a summer camp they helped lead. When volunteers fell through at the last minute, the CSi team stepped in to run the program for 96 kids.
The way God provided for each person to attend CSi was also a profound answer to prayer.
“All of the participants fundraised through a group funding project,” co-director Armando Madrid says. “The only thing we asked was that each person try to invite 50 people to support the project, not necessarily the individual. As a group we raised about $13,000—about a third of our budget. Our budget also included a stipend paid to them at the end of the program. It was a great statement of value to the team.”
“We had to learn from one another and see God come through,” co-director Alicia Garcia says. “One of the most exciting things has been seeing some of the guys who joined us from other cities grow a heart for discipleship. All of us came together to serve and grow with the gospel as our guide. We entered as strangers, and because of Christ and shared experiences, came out of the summer as family.”