- January 22, 2013
- By John Hall, Texas Baptist Communications
A break between semesters didn’t mean Texas Baptist students took a step back from their faith. Instead, they put their faith into action globally.
Through Baptist Student Ministries and Texas Baptists’ Go Now Missions, college students participated in mission trips during their Christmas break—from North Texas to East Asia.
Made possible in part by gifts to missions through the Texas Baptist Cooperative Program, college students ministered in Indian slums, to women working in East Asian brothels, strengthening the ministry of missionaries, building homes in Jamaica, putting boots on the feet of orphans and providing Christmas food and presents for Texas families in need.
The mission efforts transformed students’ lives as they saw God use them for his glory, said Brenda Sanders, who leads Go Now Missions.
“Our students are changed in the process of serving others,” she said. “Sometimes. it is through the example of the Christians on the field with whom they work. Other times, it is in sharing their faith for the first time, seeing a prayer answered or a specific need met. They come back to our Texas campuses changed. They have exercised their faith and grown as disciples. And in the process of being changed, God has used them in his greater work.”
Stephen Alexander, Texas Tech University BSM associate director, led a student team who ministered through Won by One, a ministry that helps impoverished people in Jamaica.
Students worked alongside Jamaicans to construct house foundations and houses. The work was grueling, Alexander said, but the young adults saw how their effort enabled families to have a safe place to live.
The students were encouraged by the Jamaicans, particularly a man named Ganga who sang worship songs throughout the day, no matter how hard the work was.
“We would be hauling crushed limestone up a mountain, and yet once Ganga showed me how to let God into the workforce, there was no pessimism with me,” wrote Kenny Chadwell, a West Texas A&M University student.
“It even made me work harder, and even though I was all sweaty with sore muscles at the end of the day, I would just turn back and thank God for blessing the group.”
The group helped many single mothers, Alexander said. Despite financial restrictions, their faith in Christ is deep.
“They don’t have much,” Alexander said. “Where we were at is 80 percent unemployment rate. But they have joy. That hit home for many of us.”
Kilgore College BSM Director Shelly Web led a team of 11 students to serve at Mission Arlington, a multifaceted ministry started by First Baptist Church in Arlington. The team unpacked and sorted donated items Mission Arlington would give away through a free Christmas store for the community.
Team members also connected with a family through a food-distribution effort in an apartment complex. The students gave away turkeys and side dishes to parents who were having to choose between buying food or presents for their children. One boy kept coming back for more and more food, which the team happily provided.
“His father finally came out and said, ‘You just fed my entire family for a month,”’ Web said.
The Go Now Missions team later met another family who described their needs and what their children wanted for Christmas. The students took the list back to Mission Arlington, where they tried to fill every desire. What the young people couldn’t find at the mission, they purchased at a nearby store.
“They gave up that week to serve the needy and share the message of Jesus with those who didn’t know, who needed help,” Web said of her team.
“I think that’s what Christianity is about. Serving and being a disciple of Christ means helping other people.”
Go Now Missions facilitates mission trips and longer-term mission opportunities for college students throughout the year. For more information, visit www.gonowmissions.com.