MIDLOTHIAN—For the past year, Go Now Missions representatives have asked college students, “Who will go?” A record number responded, “Send me.”
More than 200 students attended Discovery Weekend at First Baptist Church in Midlothian, an interview and application event 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, the student missions program of the Baptist General Convention of Texas. “We have been praying that students would hear God and obey. This is the first step in obedience.”
During Discovery Weekend, students participated in activities ranging from interviews, to team-building games, to a missions fair. Worship services and discussion groups provided opportunities to seek God’s direction and make informed decisions about where 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, Baptist Student Ministries director at Angelo State University.
Having the chance to see not only students from his campus ministry, but also from schools across the state focus attention on God and seek his will made a deep impression on Floyd.
“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, open to wherever 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.”
Sarah Gates, an engineering major from Texas A&M University, initially rejected the idea of serving on a mission trip during her summer vacation, preferring instead to explore 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 joined in the weekend’s activities, many others participated through prayer. Katie Sparks, a senior at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and veteran of five Go Now Missions trips, spent this semester’s Discovery Weekend praying for her fellow students.
“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.”
Texas Baptists around the state have been praying for 500 student missionaries to serve through Go Now Missions in 2014. The record number of students who attended Discovery Weekend marks a tremendous step toward seeing that goal met, Sanders noted.
“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,” she said. “Now we begin the process of training and fundraising so they are ready to go.”