Every Monday and Thursday, members of the student body gather on the second floor of Alumni to pray for and encourage missionaries.
These students are gathering for a Missions Advance meeting. And though they don’t leave campus during meetings, these students are actively participating in mission work by obeying Luke 10:2—a verse which encourages believers to pray to the Lord of the harvest, that He would send forth laborers into the harvest.
Janice Driscoll, a senior educational studies major, is the director of the organization. She said, “My job as director is to encourage in our student body an interest in prayer for missions.” Although the organization doesn’t send out mission teams, it is actively involved in missions. Missions Advance meetings are held every Monday and Thursday at 9 p.m. in Alumni 217 and are open to the entire student body.
Jordan Baun, director of outreach and evangelism in the Center for Global Opportunities, said, “It’s a great time to come out, pray for what God is doing all across the world.” The organization invites guests to speak at the meetings in order to increase awareness of what missionary work is like and how people can pray for missionaries. The speakers are usually missionaries who are visiting the States or students and faculty members who have done missions work overseas.
Earlier in the semester, people who were a part of this summer’s mission teams shared their experiences about what God taught them during the trips. Missions Advance works with multiple mission boards including Gospel Fellowship Association, Gospel for Asia, Biblical Ministries Worldwide, and several other groups.
These groups put them into contact with missionaries who are willing to speak at the meetings. Two of the most recent speakers have been missionaries from Ireland and Peru. They shared what God is doing in the world and how He is working through their ministries.
After the missionaries spoke, they shared their prayer requests with the students. Jewel Schuurmans, a freshman English major said Missions Advance meetings emphasize praise, prayer and information. The prayer meetings are especially encouraging to the missionaries because they are surrounded with other believers praying for them, but the meetings can be encouraging to students as well.
Driscoll said the weekly meetings are a great time to shift our focus from all the things on our plate at school to the things God is doing around the world. “We can pray and we can be encouraged and we can encourage other believers that we’ve never met before just by praying for them.”
Missions Advance hopes to raise student awareness and understanding of missions so they can pray for missionaries more effectively. Joanna King, a sophomore graphic design major said that meeting the missionaries in person helps her to remember them in prayer. The missionaries also inspire students to join the BJU mission teams which will be sent out by the CGO in the summer of 2019.
Missions Advance hosts several events throughout the school year. The most recent event was a collaboration between Missions Advance and the ministerial class: the Underground Church Experience.
Elliot Martin, the Missions Advance event coordinator, said, “Lots of thinking, planning, looking at how churches around the world worship and a lot of prayer” went into the event.
Baun said he was very excited to go and that he hoped it would be an experience to remember. One student who went to the Underground Church service last year, Nate Karamon, a sophomore actuarial science major said the service was very simple, and the focus was spending time with God. During Global Opportunities Week, Missions Advance also hosted a showing of Dispatches from the Front, a film series that gives a glimpse into the lives of missionaries and the work they do to reach unsaved people.
An event to look forward to next semester is the International Food Festival where Missions Advance will work with the International Student Organization to raise money for the Bible Conference fundraiser.