Students go international with the Good News
by Nathana Faddis—Panther Press
York College students choose to spend their summers in a variety of ways, depending on the opportunities God places in their lives. Summer missions offer them a chance to put their faith into action and do some world-wide outreach. This year, sixteen students, from those finishing their freshmen year to graduated seniors, felt the call of God to take his word abroad.
Under the guidance of campus minister, Tim Lewis, five international teams worked through the Let’s Start Talking (LST) program to spread the gospel in three different continents. Before leaving the U.S., students were trained, they researched the cultures into which they were stepping, and solicited the needed funds.
Traveling to the city of Kiev in the Ukraine were Elicia Hebrink, Carson Tuttle, and David Young. Also in Europe were Kristi Barnes, Jeff Johns, and Todd Johnston in Leipzig, Germany. Mitch Clay, Julia Garcia, Tammy Phan, and Mitchell Roush went halfway around the globe to Jimei, China. Mason Lee, Chelsea Mayer, and Kelci Scott journeyed to Senegal, Africa. On the same continent, Kameryn Brewster, Alice Hackett, and Michael McGee shared God’s love in Kenya. Each team member was touched by their individual readers and grew by the relationships created.
“I absolutely loved the people there,” Worland, Wyoming freshman Kristi Barnes remarked, “especially my host family and the missionaries in Chemnitz, Germany.
Using the book of Luke as their text, the environment and content of the reading sessions fostered conversations about the scripture. One student commented that even though they were reading the same stories over and over again, it never got old. The encounters students experienced changed their lives, altered their perspectives, and challenged them to grow in their faith.
Julia Garcia, senior from Andalusia, Illinois reflected on how sharing Christ in Jimei, China had an impact on her, “This was the first mission sort of thing that I had ever done, and the overall trip was life-changing. Getting to know people from another culture and country was eye-opening. Just being able to sit and talk with Chinese people about their lives and experiences is something that I will never be able to forget.”
The level of interest in China, a country where Christianity is not fully legal and can be dangerous to profess, was tremendous. Attesting to this was the large reader base and range of backgrounds. Team China had little down time as they packed their three weeks full of readers. Some readers were atheists, others were scared to inquire into Christianity due to their country’s stance, many came open and intrigued, and a few were already strong believers active in the Underground Church.
Mitchell Roush, who graduated with his B.A. in Communication one month before his return trip to China, wrote in his daily blog: “We were chock-full with as many readers as we could literally fit into our schedule. That being said, we were worn-out for all the right reasons. There just isn't much more of a fulfilling moment—when you are completely wiped out because you are drawing from the never-ending well of expressing the powerful nature of God's perfect love.”
In all the countries, team members strived to host parties and events where the readers would come in contact with members of the area church and hopefully make connections that would blossom and continue after their time was up.