Global Opportunities Week 2021 highlighted medical missions opportunities through the primary speaker Dr. Tom Kendall, a surgeon and administrator of a Christian hospital in Togo, who spoke on the compassion of Jesus.
GO Week, which ran this year from Sept. 20 through Sept. 23, focused primarily on missions and upcoming short-term missions opportunities for students.
Jordan Baun, the coordinator of Outreach and Evangelism for the Center for Global Opportunities, said he did a lot of work behind the scenes with setting up GO Week.
Baun said all students had the opportunity to be involved with GO Week through the chapels, break-out sessions and exhibits, which focused on missions. So regardless of academic work and other commitments, all students were able to at least participate in and learn about missions opportunities through the chapels and sessions. Some topics the sessions covered were using medical missions to plant churches, reaching restricted people groups through medical missions and an update on the Hope Christian Center, last year’s Bible Conference offering.
Students were able to visit displays from about 30 missions agencies in the dining common lobby, The Den and the Mack Building. These agencies offered both short-term and long-term missions opportunities for students and a few one or two-year internship opportunities.
BJU’s upcoming mission teams recruited members during GO Week. Other GO Week activities and opportunities included a short-term mission expo on Monday night, a prayer rally on Tuesday morning and a medical missions panel on Wednesday. Thursday night highlighted Piedmont Women’s Center’s Night for Life.
Nicole Hardin, a graduate student in intercultural studies who majored in cross-cultural service for her undergraduate degree, said she made a lot of mission board contacts during a past GO Week and even received an internship opportunity because of it. She said GO Week also showed her what mission opportunities are available.
“What GO week provides is a way for students to connect with mission boards and with people with experience in the field, so that we can glean from them … and see a realistic view of what missions is like and what to expect,” Hardin said.
Mark Vowels, the director of the CGO, said whether students plan to be missionaries or to go on short-term missions, they can benefit from GO week.
“I am the main missions teacher here, so you would think my main goal is to push everybody to become a missionary, but it really isn’t,” Vowels said. His main goal for GO Week was for people to stop and think about how they can use their major to make disciples.
Vowels emphasized that Christians can glorify God through any career. “There are some places you can go as a physical therapist you’re not going to go if you’re saying, ‘my job is to be a missionary,’” Vowels said.
Kendall went on a short-term mission trip in high school, which encouraged him to pursue medical missions. He works as a surgeon and administrator at L’Hôpital Baptiste Biblique in southern Togo, where his family has lived for the past five years.
Kendall said one of the goals he’s working toward over the next couple of years is training Christian African doctors.
Kendall applied his focus on the compassion of Jesus to missions generally but emphasized the application to medical missions.
Kendall also reiterated that the goal of GO Week is not to make missionaries, but to show BJU students how they can be good servants of Christ and disciple-makers wherever they are, regardless of their major and future plans.
“You do more than just preach and teach,” Kendall said.
What GO Week provides is a way for students to connect with mission boards and with people with experience in the field. —Nicole Hardin