Summer Missions 2021 is a wrap for college students serving across Missouri.
From the kickoff at orientation at the end of May, this year’s internship program was off to a promising start. Gene Austin, college ministry director for the Missouri Baptist Convention, received even more positive feedback than usual following the training weekend.
“Every year I hear in a general way how Summer Missions Orientation prepares the students for their missions experience,” Austin said. “This year was different. I heard directly from two mentors and a couple of students how great orientation was in preparing students. I really appreciate David Hendrick planning this out and all the presenters investing in these missionaries.”
The rest of the summer followed suit in its impact. Over the course of the 10 weeks, collegians served as interns under the mentorship of MBC church leaders. They worked with refugees, ran VBS and youth camps, hosted block parties, taught Bible studies, did manual labor and worked behind the scenes accomplishing everyday ministry tasks. Through all of it, they were encouraging fellow believers and sharing the gospel.
‘Selfless, servant love’
While helping with a church in Kansas City, Hayley J. was asked about the relationship between her and the other people on her team. “I was able to explain my view of love and how Jesus was a great example of selfless servant love,” she said.
Derek P. chose to serve his coworker at his job by taking on the not-so-gratifying tasks of washing all the dishes for him one night. “He comes in at night and I was working all day, so I decided to help him out,” Derek said.
When the dishwasher came in later that night, “he came in and looked at the clean sink with no dishes. The dude almost started crying and was smiling so big; he couldn’t help but tell every person that walked by him how excited he was that there were no more dishes.”
Derek says that while the dishwasher didn’t know who had done the dishes, his other coworkers did. “I see the gears turning in their brains wondering why I live the way I do, and I’m excited to share with them my reason for living and the hope I have,” he says.
The interns interacted with people from a variety of walks of life and backgrounds, from kids to their parents, Sudanese and Somali refugees to Eastern European immigrants, Muslims and atheists to long-time believers.
Shea S. got to talk to a devout Muslim man at a neighborhood block party about Islam and Christianity. While he was unreceptive to her attempts at a gospel conversation, she said, “I told him that it was possible that a sovereign God had him in KC from Miami, at a random block party to be able to hear the good news of the gospel.”
She is praying that he wrestles with the seeds planted that night and that others in his life will have opportunities to more fully proclaim the good news to him.
While many heard but did not receive, others did receive Christ for the first time or renewed a lapsed relationship with Him.
“He said he would pray for a sign,” Grace S. said of a young man she shared the gospel with, “so I pray that the Lord would soften his heart and reveal the truth to him.”
The summer missionaries also had plenty of opportunities to encourage other believers they met throughout their service. Abi D. was able to encourage a Sudanese Christian woman, Rebecca, whom she met at a block party her church put together. Rebecca later asked her for a ride to the store.
When they got back to Rebecca’s apartment, they sat down and talked about life, Christ and the need for the gospel among Rebecca’s Muslim neighbors.
‘Ambassadors of Christ’
“We talked about 2 Corinthians 5:17–21 and how we are called to be ambassadors of Christ,” Abi said. “I am hopeful to continue to encourage her to be willing to share the gospel with her Muslim neighbors.”
Not only did God use the summer missionaries to impact the lives of others, but the experience served to impact their own lives, too. For Joseph D., leading worship at an Ethiopian church was a profound experience. “Singing Amazing Grace in English while hearing others sing the same thing to the same God in a language I couldn’t understand was amazing. It was such an encouraging moment and a picture of what I have to look forward to for eternity when we get to Heaven,” he said.
McKayla H. found that God had done an incredible work in her own heart after just the first week.
“God has broken down a lot of walls that I didn’t even know were up,” she wrote. “I’ve cried a lot, worshipped a lot, and Lord willing, I have experienced a lot of really lasting change. I’m just overwhelmingly thankful for the experience.”
One goal of the Summer Missions Program is to inspire college students to follow the Great Commission the rest of their lives.
“All of my interactions with people really created a great desire within me to love others in sharing the gospel with them and to love God’s sheep,” Jojo C. said.
Learn more at mbcollegiate.org/summer-missions-2021.
EDITOR’S NOTE — This article is written by Britney Lyn Hamm and was originally published by The Pathway.