Hi, I'm Carissa

Hey friends! I’m Carissa.

I’m interning with ALIVE for the summer of 2016 and secretly (not so secretly) hoping to stay plugged in for a long time to come! I’ll be assisting with social media during the week, and helping out with the worship team on the weekends. I’m super excited to be a part of the ALIVE team and to be able to witness all the awesome things God is doing through this ministry.

I was born in Illinois, but my family moved to California when I was 6 years old to plant a church in Bakersfield, California. My awesome family consists of my dad, David, my mom, Jan, and my two brothers Michael and Anthony. My parents both work in full time ministry. Michael lives and works in Washington D.C., and is also part of a new church plant there, and Anthony is getting ready to finish up high school this year. We all love to explore the outdoors and enjoy the beautiful creation God has made for us!

I graduated high school in 3 years and was involved in theatre and orchestra. It was a crazy time, but somehow I made it out alive! Now I’m a Communications major at Milligan, concentrating in Digital Media and pursuing two minors in Photography and Bible. So I guess it’s still pretty crazy! But I absolutely love what I get to do now, and I’m super thankful for a college environment where I’m daily pushed be in closer relationship with Jesus.

As far as what I want to do with my degree…? Well I’m not so sure anymore! I recently finished a semester long internship with Mountain Christian Church in Maryland. I worked with video and social media there as well, but I also got the opportunity to teach a small group… and absolutely LOVED IT! During my internship with ALIVE I’ll be working more on those teaching skills as well and working to discover what sort of plan God has for me. I’m not quite sure where he’s leading me now, but I know it’s going to be awesome!

There’s something else you should know about me…

I ride a unicycle.

It’s true! (I blame my brother Anthony for getting me started.) I can’t do any crazy tricks like my brother can (he just went to an INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION last month!), but I do enjoy riding around campus when I get the chance. 

Besides my crazy unicycling hobby I enjoy music, photography, and going on adventures (and Netflix binge-watching, but I’m not sure if that really counts as a “hobby”). I play the guitar, the cello, and I sing, and I very occasionally write music of my own. I’d love to write my own album some day, but I’ll have to start writing a lot more music if that’s ever going to happen!

I’m a lover of sloths and cats, and I even have a small (but growing!) collection of sloth-related things… And my host family for the summer has THREE cats (#blessed)!!!

I’m pretty shy at first, but once you bring out my craziness there’s no turning back! I’m excited to be working with ALIVE this summer and to get to know all of you a little more. Don’t be afraid to come up and introduce yourself to me (cause I might be a little nervous to introduce myself to you too!), and let’s hang out sometime!


Operation Game Night

After serving at Food for Friends for several months, we saw huge potential to reach children in the Fairview community through a new ministry.

We call that ministry Operation Game Night. 

Our goal in the Fairview community is to show the transformative power of God’s love. One of the ways we have done this is by providing practical needs via Food for Friends and Street Snips. Game Night brings another element into our outreach: Fun. On Game Nights, we want to just spend quality time with the children in the community, loving them and being intentional in building relationships with them. The gospel can be a hard concept to grasp while living in some of the conditions that these children live in. That's why we want to show them Christ’s love.

Games are a great way to interact with children. I was a martial arts instructor for 3 years down in Orlando, FL and helped run the summer camps and afterschool programs. In this, I learned that children open up to what you have to say a lot more when you show them that you are a fun and relatable person. The parents also feel more comfortable around leaders who get on the floor and play right alongside their kids.

Game Night is hosted on the third Friday of every month. The next morning is Food for Friends. This helps us build on and establish new relationships within the community. Our first night was held on March 18th and it was amazing! We went door-to-door at Fairview and passed out flyers and by the end of the night, we had had around 11 children come. We played board games like Hi-Ho Cherrio and Monopoly. A family from Alive even donated drinks and popcorn so they could have a snack! Our April meeting was not as large as the first one but it was still full of love and excitement. I am really looking forward to the May Game Night because we are going to have it outdoors and will be playing Frisbee and having popsicles! It will be a blast!

In only two events I have already started making friendships with some of the children in the community. There is a group of girls who like to do gymnastics and I have befriended them and hope that we can eventually have different events oriented towards the girls or boys in the community. They are so excited that we are there and the parents in the community are enthusiastic too. I cannot wait to see how God develops these friendships and ultimately changes their lives.

In the future, we hope to transfer Game Nights onto a council of parents in the community so that they can develop better relationships with their neighbors. We want to facilitate this in the beginning but ultimately we want to set up the framework for this community to be closer knit.

I encourage you to get involved in some way with Fairview! We have already established a loving community that transforms lives for Christ at ALIVE, now it is your turn to share this community with the kids and families in Fairview.

God Bless,
Katie-Starr Harrell



StreetSnips began as a way for hairstylists to give back.

A way to show the love of Jesus in a different but wonderful way.

I grew up learning the art of hair styling. My grandmother, dad, and two aunts have all been to hair school. After wrestling with the desire to do something different, I realized that God gives us talents for a reason and decided that I could use them for more than just making money. 

After doing hair professionally for a few years, I got involved with a ministry called Freedom Stylists. They are partnered with Rapha House, a ministry in Cambodia that rescues girls from sex trafficking. The Freedom Stylist program pulls at-risk girls off the streets before they are trafficked and gives them a career opportunity so they don’t have to resort to anything else. They pay for their regular education and have a cosmetology program that the girls go through. This gives them a career to help them and their families survive in such a poor area. They do all of this while teaching them the love of Jesus. I have been to Cambodia and wrapped my arms around sweet girls who have been effected by how great God's love is and how beautifully Rapha House is giving it to them. This ministry changed my life and showed me how my talents can be used by God in powerful ways. 

When the Food for Friends ministry began in Fairview, I really wanted to be involved. But as a hair dresser, I always work on Saturdays and I knew I would never be able to. As time went by and every month I couldn’t be there, I decided I wanted to help in some way. So I decided since I was using my career to help girls overseas,

I could do the same thing right here in my own town.

It's wonderful to give people food and I know that they need it, but haircuts are for sure something that people in need are not used to getting. And as a hair dresser I know just how much better, how much more motivated and even brave a new haircut can make a person feel. Jesus asks us to love our neighbor as ourselves; this ministry can be powerful by showing the people of Fairview and hopefully other parts of Johnson City that we love them and want them to love themselves. Loving yourself can make you confident enough to get a job, make relationships and even love Jesus more. Confidence can go a long way and we want to encourage that. God sees us as beautiful! We want to show that to every person we meet.

The plan for StreetSnips is to be available to as many less-fortunate areas as we can in Johnson City. We hope to partner with West Main and expand to other ministries in the near future. We want to bring alongside as many hair dressers as we can and for us to be used to bring God’s love and beauty to whoever needs it. StreetSnips isn't just for women and children, we are excited to do men's haircuts too! A fresh haircut can be just the confidence boost a man needs to land a new job. We even have men hair dressers who are interested in helping out and we can't wait to utilize them. We hope this ministry will give us an avenue to be more involved in the community, building relationships that show God’s love wherever He leads us. 

I realized after our first event that sometimes people who are in need are scared to let people help them, and that's okay. Street Snips is going to take more than just showing up on our scheduled times to cut hair. It's going to take prayer and it's going to take real relationships, which has been the plan all along. I'm sure many people in the community have been taken advantage of in the past. We hope to build strong relationships with them so they know who we are, why we're there, and that we truly do love them.

I am so excited for what God is going to do with this ministry and how he is going to use our talents to reach out to the lost and broken of this area. If you would like to get involved with StreetSnips, contact me at Alisarachell@gmail.com.

In Him,

Alisa R. McNerney
StreetSnips Coordinator