More than 300 Baptist Student Union members from Mississippi campuses fanned out during spring break to spread the good news that Jesus saves.
“Typically, our goal in doing these short-term mission trips during Spring Break is … students who are interested in doing summer missions or have signed up for summer missions and don’t have any formal mission trip experience,” said Sam Ivy, director of collegiate ministry for the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board. “This is a great place for them to learn and serve.”
It was the first missions trip for some of the students, Ivy said.
“Some of them didn’t grow up in church. Some of our BSUs provide very cost-effective trips within the continental United States that help meet a gospel need, but also don’t cost an arm and a leg to get there.”
If it wasn’t their first missions trip, it likely was the first in which the students participated with primarily peers and classmates their age.
“We had people all over the place,” Ivy said.
During a trip in December, Ivy led a team of 50 from his previous post as BSU director at the Mississippi University for Women in Columbus to serve at Soul City Church in inner-city Jackson.
“There’s nothing spectacular about that, except there’s a treasure that needs to be disbursed, and that’s the gospel,” Ivy noted. “That’s what we try to tell our students — it’s not so much the destination, but the need you’re going to meet.
“The special thing about a mission trip is that the gospel needs to be shared. Our BSU directors work in tandem with the state office [MBCB collegiate ministries department] and, really, the whole convention board, on being able to go.”
Participating students raise their own support. BSU directors visit local churches to speak to Woman’s Missionary Union groups, Sunday School classes and other receptive audiences to help raise funds.
It also gives Baptist communities an opportunity to come alongside students and the work of BSU.
“I went to New York City myself,” he said. “We’d not been back there since 2020, before the pandemic began. Prior to that, it had been a collective group of BSUs. Being back in New York was encouraging, to see students go out and serve with our partner churches and ministries there.”
Many came back from their experience with a hunger to move forward and devote a full summer to missions, Ivy observed.
“They say, ‘Wow, this is just a taste of what I can do for eight to 10 weeks of my life on a summer mission project.’”
Approximately 126 BSUers already have signed up to serve in missions this summer in 15 states and 18 countries.
“Later on in life they may not have the luxury to drop what they’re doing to go and serve like this,” Ivy noted. “That’s why our BSUs really press the idea of taking advantage of these mission opportunities now. It might be 40 more years before they can give up that much time again.”