Tuesday, January 8, 2013

College Students and Missions: Who will go?

With 3,500 university age attendees and 300 plus missionaries on hand, the December 2012 World Missions Summit in Fort Worth, Texas was awesome!  On December 28th-31st we attended the conference. We were invited to be host missionaries to represent the Caribbean area..
December 2012 World Missions Summit

It wasn't the numbers that made this three day conference great, it was the openness and response of the young people.  On Sunday morning, out of that mass assembly, 951 young people made their way to the platform (see this link) to say yes to the "Go for a year, pray about a lifetime" challenge. They went right up to the stage and shared where they felt God was asking them to go, or at least that they were committed to go wherever God would lead for a year.

On hand were displays dealing/w human trafficking, sex slavery, social issues.
My eyes teared up.  The missions baton was being passed on to a new generation.    My mind went back to the wonderful missions chapels at Southeastern University (Lakeland, FL),  where in response to a challenge to missions, I would find myself going forward and kneeling again and again in commitment to Christ.  In the midst of so much materialism and self-absorption that we see abounding in society today, here was a group of representatives from the younger generation saying they were willing to sacrifice and to take up this cause of world missions.  What was the cause?  There are two billion people in this world who have not heard a clear presentation on the importance of faith in Jesus Christ, because there are no Christian workers near them. Who will go to these dark regions of the world? I am convinced that man is a spiritual and emotional being,

and without a spiritual solution, he cannot find true peace. The outer trappings, whether of the rich or the poor, don't really reveal the interior man.  Sin is deep in the heart of man, and Jesus is the only solution for man's innermost problem.   We can give our lives to address the pressing needs of mankind, such as hunger, clothing, shelter, and social justice; but without the Christ solution, though these are noble causes, they still leave man terribly incomplete. The greatest cause is to help man find peace with God through faith in Jesus Christ, "and not to leave the other undone".

The World Missions Summit provides an opportunity for university students to wrestle with the cause of missions in a more concrete way.  One exhibit the Eurasia Experience transported the visitor to a bazaar with food and product samples from almost every nation in Eurasia. The bazaar was attended by a cast of hundreds dressed in the different clothing of the nations.  At the end there were videos from different
Here we are with fellow missionaries Kim and Steve Puffpaff dressing up at the Latin America /Caribbean experience.

countries with testimonies about how the message of Christ transformed their lives.   There were exciting exhibits highlighting the many needs around the world. Every meal at the three day event was organized so that at every table the students would sit with a different missionary to discuss issues such as the call, preparation for overseas ministry, experiences encountered in different cultures, and discussion of plenary session messages.

The real work begins after this event.  How do we help these young volunteers give their first year of missionary service in this world?  To place them alongside veteran missionaries is one of the steps involved in the fulfillment of this calling.  May the Lord richly bless and use each one, surely the nations are waiting for them.

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