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A Launch Pad into Missions

Posted: 4/22/2019 at 2:30pm. Article by Taylor Terrill.

College students are rich. No, not monetarily rich (think endless ramen and always being up for free food), but they are overflowing with one precious resource:

Time.

It’s their most significant commodity. Busy is often an abundant word in their vocabulary, but only because they have no idea what busy actually is. They have more flexibility in their schedule than they will probably ever have for the rest of their lives.

Our BCMs and Kairos ministries can be the greatest launching pads for local and global missions in the world.

Students are sendable and trainable. When we leverage these opportunities, our BCMs and Kairos ministries can be the greatest launching pads for local and global missions in the world.

At the BCM at Virginia Tech, this is a part of our heartbeat: to be “On Mission.” We believe we are called to share the love of Jesus with others. We want to see others on our campus and around the world awakened to the truth and grace that Christ has to offer. One launching pad for students to engage in this is on a spring break missions experience. 

This past March we sent 36 students on mission experiences across the states and internationally. Below are some glimpses from their week:

Hope Geiger, a junior, shared about her experience in San Jose, Costa Rica, with Steve Semler, a local missionary.  Steve runs a ministry called “Fishers of Men” that is geared towards teaching Bible lessons to inner-city children and ministering to youth removed from their families and placed in government care.

“I initially struggled to get over the language barrier that stood between me and the people I had come to serve. It left me feeling useless at times, but during debriefing one night early into the trip, a member on the team made this statement and it resonated in my soul throughout the rest of my journey in Costa Rica: ‘We all laugh and smile in the same language.’ I have learned that God’s love isn’t always a spoken language, and his light can shine and make an impact even with barriers. God’s love to us is often unspoken and shown in actions and intentions when serving others.”

Emma Cook, a sophomore, traveled with a team of three students to Thibadoux, Louisiana, to work alongside the BCM at Nicholls State in learning about campus evangelism and the power of the stories that we share.

“It was incredible seeing the BCMers’ hearts for their campus and to be a part of gospel conversations. Throughout the week the coolest conversations we had were ones where the student we were talking to did not know anything about Jesus. We got to share the gospel several times and how Jesus’ love, peace, and grace have personally impacted our lives. Through this experience and living in community with Nicholls State BCMers for the week I became more emboldened and encouraged in my faith. God made himself evident in our conversations and interactions we had over spring break and I praise him for that.”

Michael Folta, a junior, went with a team to work alongside Send Relief’s Refugee Ministry Center with the North American Mission Board in Clarkston, Georgia. Clarkston is one of the most diverse communities in America, where almost 32% of the residents were born outside the United States, and 60 languages are spoken within a 1.5-mile radius. That’s Clarkston, the “Ellis Island of the South.” There are great needs, but there are also great opportunities for churches and individuals to invest in the residents.

“In the afternoons, I spent my time with an Afghani family, teaching the children ESL and biology, helping them keep up in school and try to break down the language barrier. This week opened my eyes to the biblical, rather than political, perspective of caring for the brokenness in the world and that God uses a diversity of people to meet a diversity of needs. What the local church here does is wade through brokenness and proclaim the gospel to every person being placed in America in search of safety.”

In the end, a week is a short amount of time and the tangible fruits of what our students witness may be limited. We believe what we introduce students to has the ability to spark a passion for the world and their community. This is not simply a missions trip but rather an experience, a step towards something bigger. These students come back with story after story of how God transformed their lives and shifted their perspective to a heavenly kingdom, to proclaim the name of Jesus.

Pray for these 36 students as they continue to unpack their experiences and a lifelong calling to be on mission wherever God places them. BCM at Virginia Tech exists to introduce college students to Jesus Christ and call them to walk with him for a lifetime. Visit www.bcmvt.org to learn more about the ministry on the campus of Virginia Tech. Want to start a Kairos ministry on your campus or in your church? Learn more about the Kairos Initiative at www.kairosinitiative.org

Taylor Terrill is an Associate Campus Minister at the BCM at Virginia Tech, a program of the Kairos Initiative, and is based in Blacksburg, VA.