MIDLOTHIAN - Who will go? That is the question that Go Now Missions has been asking college students around the state for the past year. This weekend, 205 students responded to that question with willing and able hearts as they attended Discovery Weekend, an interview and application weekend for summer and fall student missions.
"This is the largest group of students we have ever had," said Brenda Sanders, director of Go Now missions. "We have been praying that students would hear God and obey. This is the first step in obedience."
Discovery Weekend was hosted at First Baptist Church of Midlothian from February 7-9. Students were able to participate in a variety of activities, from interviews to group building games and attending a missions fair. Worship services and discussion groups also helped provide opportunities to seek the Lord and make informed decisions on where they would like to serve.
"The purpose of Discovery weekend is to help students discover what God is saying to them, to hear His voice and to determine where He might be sending or calling them," said Lee Floyd, BSM director at Angelo State University.
Floyd served on the sending team, as well as a small group leader for the weekend. Seeing not only students from his ministry, but students from across the state join together to focus their attention on the Lord and how He was moving was very impactful.
"We have students with an idea of where they want to go when they arrive," he said. "But through the process of the weekend, they really begin to clarify specifics. It's fun to watch the lights come on as they gain a better inclination."
Kasey Chin, a sophomore at the University of Texas at Dallas, served as a summer missionary last year in Houston. She applied again for 2014, with an open mind to where God might call her to serve.
"I really like building relationships and spending time with people," Chin said. "My ultimate goal is for people to know Christ and to assist in planting and watering those seeds. I am praying that the Lord will grow and stretch me wherever I end up serving."
An engineering major from Texas A&M University, Sarah Gates initially rejected the idea of serving on a mission trip for her summer vacation, when looking at opportunities to gain work experience and make money.
"One question really convicted me," Gates said. "I asked myself 'why am I not doing this if my main goal is to serve God?' I quickly looked at my summer and realized I wanted to do all I could to serve God."
While students went through the weekend's activities, many others were involved in the weekend through prayer. Katie Sparks, a senior at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor served on the prayer team. Having served through Go Now missions on five previous trips, this Discovery weekend she spent time praying for her fellow students as they went through the familiar process.
"Go Now missions really cares about you as you prepare to go," Sparks said. "While serving on the prayer team, we literally pray over everything, particularly for students to have guidance and discernment through the process."
Once the weekend concluded and students returned back to their college campuses, the sending team assembled and worked for countless hours determining the best place for each student to serve. After much prayer and consulting, the team appointed student missionaries to service opportunities across Texas and around the world.
Texas Baptists around the state have been praying for 500 student missionaries to rise up and serve through Go Now missions in 2014. This record number of students through Discovery weekend is a tremendous step toward seeing that goal met.
"We saw God answer so many prayers for the weekend, from clearing the weather to seeing students answer the call to surrender to His plan," Sanders said. "Now we begin the process of training and fundraising so they are ready to go."
If you desire to support Go Now students serving around the world this year, visit www.gonowmissions.com for ways to pray and give to the cause.