Global Opportunities Week begins Monday

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Global Opportunities Week begins Monday

Mark Vowels speaks on Raising Money for Summer Mission Trips durring a Global Opportunities Week Workshop during chapel hour in Levinson Hall. Photo by Derek Eckenroth, 2016

What exactly is Global Opportunities Week? GO Week, held Sept. 30 through Oct. 3 on BJU’s campus, is a week when BJU exposes students to mission organizations and missionaries spreading the Gospel around the world.

Students can connect with various missions organizations in the Davis Room of the Dining Common Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. until 7:45 p.m.

The Center for Global Opportunities organizes the event. Mark Vowels, director of the CGO, said GO Week 2019’s theme is enduring temporal persecution for an enduring eternal possession. GO Week’s chapel messages will foces on enduring the hardships Christians experience while serving the Lord here on earth, so that they can reap the eternal reward of glorifying Christ.

This reality of the Christian walk is important for Christian young people to understand before they go out into the world that will often reject them. While American Christians have opportunities to express their faith daily without oppression, not all Christians get such a privilege.

In order to minister to fellow believers and reach people who have never heard the Gospel, many of today’s missionaries must take an approach that is different from traditional mission work.  Modern missionaries, attempting to reach countries that are closed to Christianity, often welcome professionals, such as doctors, contractors or English teachers, so they will be allowed into these “closed countries.”

GO Week workshops will allow students to hear from people who are taking their skills and using them to reach people around the world with the Gospel. Last year at GO Week Workshops, students heard from professionals in fields such as STEM, graphic design, medicine and business, just to name a few.

These workshops are an essential part of Go Week since they allow the student body to understand how they can use their future professions for Christ. Many Christians might not necessarily be drawn to missions as in the traditional term, but Vowels believes that GO Week puts missions in a very different light. “We believe that every career is an avenue for making disciples,” Vowels said.

Vowels said that since this generation has a very globalized culture, many young professionals can take their work just about anywhere around the world. This shifts the idea of modern missions from exclusively preacher or evangelist-type missionaries to people who are using other professions to spread the Gospel.

The CGO does all this work—lining up speakers, putting together workshops, inviting missions organizations and creating a theme for the student body to listen to—but students might not learn much if they don’t come into GO Week with a prepared heart, Vowels added.

Vowels advises students to approach GO Week with a specific attitude, asking themselves, “How can God use me?” Emily Hammett, sophomore fashion and design major, has gone on two mission trips to South Korea. Hammett experienced many new things, from visiting young refugee girls from North Korea to helping at an English teaching camp for elementary-age children to high schoolers.

“Personally, as I have been on multiple mission trips, I’ve seen how much fulfillment that you can get through working for God rather than just working for what you think is beneficial for yourself,” Hammett said. “Trying to fulfill the Lord’s purpose in your life and share the Gospel with others is way more rewarding than any amount of success that anything else you think could bring. “

Though mission trips are an amazing way to serve God and grow close to Him, not every Christian gets the chance to serve Him in this way.

Ai Ozaki, a junior health science major, found an essential way to aid people going on mission trips, even when she could not go herself.

“There were a couple of mission trips during the summer, and for me, I couldn’t go because of financial stuff,” Ozaki said. “But even though you’re not there physically, you can pray for them.” Vowels wants BJU students to think that if God made them to be specific people and to pursue specific careers, that God wants them to use those specific skills to help other people follow Christ.

So what is the point of GO Week? To help students realize that God created them, with their gifts, aptitudes and flaws, and if they will allow Him, God can use them to glorify Him in ways no others could.