May 29th, 2012 at 10:27 am
DALLAS – As the 2012 summer Go Now Missions training and commissioning serve came to a close on May 19, each college student came to the altar at the front of the Dallas Baptist University chapel and bent down low to pick up a towel that read “Sent to Serve.”
They did so signifying their willingness to drop to their knees this summer, serving anyone placed in their path through summer or semester missions and striving to bring them to Jesus.
During the service, Ben Edfeldt, director of the Baptist Student Ministry at Midwestern State University, challenged students to head to their mission field ready to go to great lengths to serve people in the name of Christ.
“Students, may you not go to the field with a closed mind,” Edfeldt said. “You do not go to serve a particular people group, supervisor or country. You go to serve Jesus.”
He shared the Bible story of four men who went to great lengths to bring their paralyzed friend before Jesus, putting their reputation on the line and taking on physical exertion to carry the man to Jesus because they trusted He would make a difference in this man’s life. Edfeldt urged the students to do the same
“May we never put stipulations on where we serve, how we serve or who we serve. Sometimes you will be around people you won’t know how to help. Don’t pass them off to someone else. Bring them to the feet of Jesus,” he said.
Edfeldt also stated that in order for the gospel to flow to others, students too may need to go to great efforts, knowing that Jesus will help them and that they can find joy through this.
“May we be people who go to great extremes to bring people to Jesus,” he said.
“My prayer for you is that you will get down low because that is where you will find the fullness of joy.”
Through the three days of missionary training, Go Now Missions, the collegiate mission-sending arm of Texas Baptists, prepared 292 students to serve this summer and fall through short-term, 10-week and semester projects. This summer, 258 students will spread the hope of Christ in 14 states and 22 countries. Gifts to missions through the Texas Baptists Cooperative Program help these college students students obey the Lord’s calling to serve this summer.
In 2012, Go Now Missions will send a total of 410 students around the world to share the gospel. This is the second highest number of students that Go Now has ever sent on mission.
Brenda Sanders, director of Go Now Missions, attributes this increase in student missionaries to the 3-3-3 Pray emphasis that took place in February. Go Now recruited 300 people to commit to pray for 30 days that 387 students would serve with Go Now this year.
“We pray every year, but we were very specific with our prayers this year. And God answers our prayers. When we realized that we not only met our goal but exceeded that total, I was blown away,” she said.
After being assigned missions positions in February, the Go Now students spent the next few months raising money for their mission trips and completing a missional Bible study. Then before they were sent to the mission field, they spent three days with their team preparing for the opportunity.
During the training, students were given practical tools to help them minister while they are away serving. They encountered sessions on sharing their faith, prayer walking, dealing with culture shock and spiritual warfare, finding people of peace, smart traveling and living on the mission field.
“Our hope is that they will be spiritually prepared and renewed and we saw that happen,” Sanders said.
One student told Sanders that he not only felt trained for his mission trip after the orientation weekend, but now feels like he knows how to live a missional lifestyle wherever he goes from here.
“That is what we want to happen,” she said.
Marlie Austin, a student at Howard Payne University who will be serving in Orlando for 10 weeks this summer, shared on the Go Now Missions Facebook page how empowered she felt after the training.
“The whole experience blew my mind because it was such an affirmation from God that He has called me on my trip because the teachings throughout the weekend were exactly what I needed to hear…. I am no longer afraid because God will be with me every step of the way, and I will boast all the more in my weakness because when I am weak, He is strong,” Austin wrote.
After completing the training, Andrew Cecil, a senior at Texas State University who will be ministering to fishermen in Alaska this summer, said he is excited to leave and begin serving others.
“I want to see God’s power behind the whole thing,” he said. “With whatever expectations I come in with, I hope that God blow them out of the water.”
For Jon Roman, who will be a fall semester missionary in East Asia, his excitement to serve is linked to an experience he had while serving on a short-term Go Now Christmas trip to the same region.
“I just knew I had to come back. Eight people came to Christ and it was hard to just leave them after that. So I really wanted to come back for a semester and follow up. I’m also excited that I will be sharing with people who have never heard the gospel,” Roman said.
As students leave for their mission fields, Sanders’ prayer is that the students’ lives will be transformed and that their missions journey will become part of their daily life.
“I hope that through the process of serving, they begin to look more like Him,” she said.
To view student mission reports throughout the summer and learn ways to pray for these students, visit www.beonmission.com.
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