With midterms week coming to a close, students might have a little more time to start thinking about plans for upcoming summer ministries. The University plans to send out eight mission teams during summer 2015 to Antigua, Africa, Australia, China, Europe, Southeast Asia, Mexico and the Western U.S.
“What better time to try something adventurous for Christ than right now?” said Mark Vowels, director of missions at BJU. That “something adventurous” could be a spot on one of the BJU mission teams.
While varying in size, duration and specific purpose, all teams are focused on fulfilling the Great Commission through service, evangelism and discipleship.
Do feelings of inadequacy hinder you from joining a team? Dr. Dan Olinger, chair of the Division of Bible and leader of the Africa mission team, said that makes you a perfect candidate.
“The best team members are precisely those who have feelings of inadequacy,” Olinger said. “The last thing we want is somebody who thinks he has it all together – because he doesn’t.”
Dr. George Matzko, chair of the Division of Natural Science and leader of the Australia mission team, echoes these thoughts. “Above all, we are looking for a teachable spirit,” Matzko said.
Do financial constraints keep you from considering this opportunity? Vowels encourages students to trust God for the necessary funds. “I have been doing this – directing teams – for more than 15 years,” Vowels said. “I’ve never seen a student who is serious about going, diligent about fundraising and seeking to follow God’s will who cannot raise the needed funds.”
Many personal benefits come with serving on a mission team, Vowels said. “Teams provide [students] with an organized and tested way to be exposed to missions,” he said. “Our teams are led by experienced faculty, offer academic credit that can be used as a general elective, and work with missionaries that we have confidence and trust in.”
While these student mission teams are designed to bless others around the world, they are also a blessing for the students involved. Abby Edwards, a senior journalism and mass communication major, was a member of the 2013 Antigua mission team, which assists in local evangelism while taking care of the programming and production needs of the Caribbean Radio Lighthouse ministry. She said her time in Antigua was truly a blessing.
“I think it is amazing that God gave me the opportunity not only to come in contact with the dear souls there in Antigua and the missionaries who have given their lives to bring them to Christ, but also to meet with Him in a truly unique way,” Edwards said.
In addition, all mission teams offer course credit and provide ways for students to practically apply what they’ve learned academically. “I got the opportunity to apply what I learned in the classroom about radio broadcasting in a real-life station that seeks to communicate the most important message in the world,” Edwards said.
For students interested in joining a mission team this summer, each team leader will continue to hold meetings as the teams begin to form.
Vowels encourages students to contact the individual team leaders for information about those meeting times. Contact information for each mission team can be found through a link on the BJU intranet page.