Servant Life Blog

The following post originally appeared here on Collegiate Collective’s blog.

Mike Lopez, the director of IMB Students, provides his perspective on the pivotal role college ministry can play in the Great Commission.

As He prepared seventy eager followers for their first mission trip, Jesus met with them for training and instruction. He encouraged them with these words “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” (Luke 10:2 ESV). As collegiate leaders, our ministries can play a critical role in answering this prayer. Let’s look at four truths Jesus’ words reveal that will revolutionize your thinking about the Great Commission.

  1. The harvest is HERE

Jesus clearly announces the reality of the harvest. This is not just a farm analogy. There is reaping to take place. It is real. It exists. In another talk with his disciples Jesus tells them ‘…lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.’ (John 4:35 ESV). Take a look. It’s all around you. How can you miss it? It is here.

  1. The harvest is HUGE

The harvest is real and it is also ‘plentiful’, great and abundant. Jesus isn’t referring to fields that have been ravaged by drought. He is talking about an abundant crop, heavy with fruit, ready to be harvested.

  1. The harvest is HIS.

Jesus refers to Himself as the “Lord of the harvest” and talks about sending laborers into “His harvest”. Jesus is the Lord of the harvest. The fields, the crops and the fruit all belong to Him. The harvest is His, not ours.

  1. The harvest needs HARVESTERS.

The harvest is HERE, the harvest is HUGE and the harvest is HIS. But here’s the challenge: the harvest is not a harvest until it’s harvested. So what’s missing? Harvesters, laborers, workers, committed servants who are willing to follow Him anywhere.

Jesus instructs us to ‘pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” He doesn’t ask us to pray for more harvest. The harvest is already here in abundance, and the harvest belongs to Him. Jesus asks us to pray for workers, for laborers, for those who will work in the field, looking for ripe fruit, searching for people of peace whose hearts are already prepared to hear the Good News.

Some fields have an abundance of harvesters. Many fields have none. From the local college campus to the uttermost parts of the earth, the harvest awaits. Throughout the world millions of willing hearts are waiting for a harvester to share the Good News of salvation through Jesus Christ.

Christian college students throughout North America (and the world) are being discipled and trained to share the hope they have found in Jesus. Pray that these harvesters would be obedient to Christ; bold in the proclamation of His message; and faithful to His mission among every language, people, tribe and nation.

Servant Life is excited for a new partnership with Mission: Bulgaria, a group of believers with a heart for the country and people of Bulgaria. Co-founder Ben Nelson answers a few questions for us about what it’s like to serve in Bulgaria.

Obviously there are great physical and spiritual needs all over the world.  What led you to specifically be involved in Bulgaria?

“Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” 1 John 3:18

Bulgaria holds a special place in my heart. In 2009, my community and I went to lead worship for a week in the Roma villages of Bulgaria. Soon after we arrived we realized we were taking part in the early stages of an amazing spiritual Reformation – a Reformation that was producing evangelical leaders from all areas of Bulgaria, working together to make a difference for the kingdom in their nation. The Bulgarian culture has been stripped of biblical principles after decades of socialist and communist rule. Communism fell in 1989 but the oppression of the Roma (Gypsy) people has not.

Every day we must ask ourselves “What is the good news for our community?” and then we must know that the gospel covers it. The good news for Bulgaria and the Roma people is “Hope”. THE GOSPEL COVERS THAT! In the midst of poverty, persecution, hunger, and segregation GOD IS WITH YOU.

“Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you.  I will never abandon you.” Hebrews 13:5

WE LEVERAGE EVERYTHING IN ORDER TO GIVE THEM HOPE!

What kind of ministry have you been able to engage in with short-term teams?

One of my favorite things about Mission Bulgaria is that when you go on a short-term trip you become a part of a year-round family. Once you’ve made your impact that week you become an extension of what God is doing in the country through our missionaries year round. Mission Bulgaria is not just a one week out of the year mission but a year round partnership to see lives shaped and changed by the gospel for the kingdom.

Mission Bulgaria focuses on these 3 main areas: PRAY. LOVE. UNITE.

PRAY: TOGETHER WE PRAY. WE PRAY THAT GOD WOULD POUR HIS LOVE AND FAVOR OUT ON BULGARIA AND THE ROMANIES.

LOVE: WE GO. WE GO AND LOVE. JAMES 2:19 SAYS THAT FAITH WITHOUT ACTION IS DEAD! WE ACT ON OUR PRAYERS.

UNITE: IN ALL THESE THINGS WE HOPE TO HELP UNITE THE BULGARIANS AND THE ROMANIES WITH CHRIST AND EACH OTHER.

What we do:

Food distribution, church planting, children’s festivals, orphan care, worship services, mission trips, Christmas shoeboxes, Prayers over homes and families, English lessons, food stations and much more.

Ministry in a foreign context is almost impossible without establishing trust among native people.  How have you done this?

Have you ever met someone and instantly know they would become one of your closest friends? When I met Dinko, a missionary from Bulgaria, I knew that God had aligned our hearts. After meeting Dinko, his family, and his team we knew that we needed to partner with their existing ministry in Bulgaria. In 2009 we partnered with “Care for All” ministries. In the past 12 years “Care for All” has:

-Planted over 43 churches

-Provided funding for 23 medical operations for Roma children

-Built 17 church buildings

-Established 5 feeding stations,

-Conducted 100’s of training seminars for Ministers

-Taught countless English and computer courses

-Provided daily ministry counseling

-Facilitated ministry expansion into Siberia, Turkey and Chicago

What long-term impact do you hope to accomplish with short-term teams?

No one goes on a “short-term” mission trip with Mission Bulgaria. A week spent in Bulgaria truly has a lasting impact. A short-term mission trip becomes a catalyst for the year round ministries in Bulgaria. Churches are planted, leaders are encouraged, non- believers come to hear good news, children are loved, orphans are held, and lives truly are changed forever.  A short-term trip with Mission Bulgaria provides an opportunity, for both those going and those receiving, to witness the love and fellowship of believers with in a different culture and context. It allows us the chance to see how God’s power and might crosses all borders, and it is proof that the Gospel is the power of God for the salvation of all who believe. (Rom 1:16)

Once you have gone on a week-long trip with Mission Bulgaria, you are a part of the family. This family provides for missions in Bulgaria year round.

Do you have any favorite moments from your time in Bulgaria?

I have a few. One if my favorite moments is always the orphanages. We partner with an organization called “Create a Smile” which provides medical surgeries for children who cannot afford them.  Because of this partnership we are one of the few religious organizations allowed into the orphanages. Each year we spend time with these children. We held a HUGE children’s festival with cotton candy, popcorn, toys, music and more. Each trip we watch these children grow up, we know that each short-term missionary is having a huge impact on the lives of these orphans.

Another one of my favorite moments is when we were in a village doing an outside worship service. As we taught the gospel and encouraged the believers we saw a group of men sitting across the street in a mule drawn buggy. You could tell they were listening to what we were saying. Afterwards they approached one of our missionaries, Stefko, and started asking questions. I asked Stefko, “What are they saying?”. He said, “ They want to know who this Jesus guy is and if he’s coming next week?”… They had never heard the name Jesus at all. My heart was broken and delighted at the same time. God is doing something HUGE and I am just grateful to help play a small part.

Servant Life is sending short-term teams to serve in Bulgaria starting summer 2016. Cost is $799 and includes:

Housing
Meals
Mission Activities
In-country Transportation
Traveler’s Insurance
Training Videos
T-shirt
Pre, During, and Post-trip Devotionals

Click here for more information and a list of trip dates.

Situated outside of Managua, Nicaragua, Centro ABEM ministers to hundreds of youth and children on a regular basis. In 2014, Servant Life began a partnership with Centro ABEM to send students to join in answering the call to go and make disciples of all nations – including Nicaragua!

In Nicaragua, Servant Life partners with missionaries Jason and Beth Lang and family. The Langs and Centro ABEM have built wonderful relationships with the surrounding community. They’ve even established a relationship with a local Compassion International project. While in country, Servant Life teams serve alongside the Langs and minister to many youth and children. For the most part, teams teach Bible lessons (with a translator), lead recreation games, tell their testimonies, help with crafts, and assist in behind the scenes work such as clean up.

The ministry of Centro ABEM seeks to share the story of hope, build communities of faith, and serve the people of Nicaragua with love. Come be part of this life changing experience as you share the gospel of Jesus Christ in Nicaragua! Click here to learn more about the ministry of the Langs and Centro ABEM.

I don’t believe that distance or difficulty should ever be what prevents us from going on a mission trip. Christ commanded us to make disciples, and there are no “exception clauses” in my Bible about the countries that are far away and hard to reach. At the same time, I have to admit, the trip to Costa Rica sure was an easy one.

The flight from Atlanta to San Jose, Costa Rica took a little over three hours, so we landed in- country just after noon. Our Servant Life Partner, Joe Pent. Jr of La Montaña Christian Camp, met us at the airport and we traveled about an hour and a half to the La Montaña encampment. Spending time with Joe is a treat in itself because Joe is a visionary and a man with great passion. He was born in Costa Rica and spent much of his youth there. He came back to the United States for college and served as a youth pastor before returning to Costa Rica to continue spreading the gospel there and eventually start La Montana. He has been back in Costa Rica for 15 years now, and his love for his country is evident.

Last year about 15,000 Costa Rican teenagers came through La Montaña, which is an incredible testimony to the quality of their ministry. Joe and his staff have made the camp a place that teenagers want to be. There are incredible recreation opportunities: “the blob,” a giant water slide, a bike ramp that launches into a lake (how cool is that?), options to play volleyball, basketball, foosball, ping pong, inline skating, and perhaps the most exciting option of them all —a mud run adventure course! But the beauty of La Montaña is not found in these activities. The focal point of the camp is the good news of Jesus Christ. Students participate in Bible studies and devotions, and each night there is a worship service for the whole camp, led by dynamic speakers and worship leaders.

I fear that Costa Rica is often overlooked by Christians because it is known for its nice beaches, fishing opportunities, and tourism. It is often labeled as a “Christian” country. However, only about 15% of the country is evangelical Christian. The majority have inherited Christianity or Catholicism as a cultural tradition, which means they have no problem talking about God, but could not clearly articulate what it means to have a personal relationship with Christ and to trust in him alone for salvation. These teenagers want to be at La Montaña because it is a fun camp, but it is also a place where they will clearly hear the gospel message and have an opportunity to surrender their lives to Christ.

Joe estimates that as many as 50,000 teenagers have trusted in Christ through the ministry of La Montaña over the years. When asked, he said that he has no plans to retire from this ministry. “Maybe I’ll retire when every teenager in Costa Rica has responded to the gospel. Wait, no, nevermind,” he corrected himself. “Then I will move on to the rest of the world who hasn’t heard.”

Don’t you see why we love Joe’s attitude and the ministry of his team? La Montaña would be a fantastic place for any group to serve. Your team could work as the support staff for one of these camps, spending time with recreation, in the kitchens, helping with the mud run course, and ultimately building relationships that point to the greatest relationship of knowing Jesus Christ our Lord.

Zac Condie, Servant Life Director

2014 was a great year of mobilizing students and advancing the gospel with our partners around the world:

  • We had 17 partners that are serving all 52- weeks of the year on five continents (Africa, Asia, Europe, North & South America).
  • We saw thousands of children and teenagers hear the gospel and be ministered to in their culture and context.
  • We had our first team work with a school that consisted of over 20 unreached people groups in Asia (amazing to be with students that have never even heard the name of Jesus!).
  • We solidified existing relationships and began new ones in countries such as Guatemala, Nicaragua, Kenya and Toronto, Canada.
  • We launched the A1eight Project, a missions serving opportunity for college-aged students.
  • We mobilized the most students over a one-year period since Servant Life began in 1999.

2014 also had its challenges…

  • The conflict in Ukraine greatly impacted our in-country partners (Radooga) and groups that were signed up to serve there changed their plans.
  • Some of our work in Asia had to be diverted in the last stages of planning due to political (and I would add spiritual) hurdles.
  • Ebola concerns have caused many groups planning on serving in Africa to cancel or adjust their plans (disappointingly, even groups in East Africa and South Africa far from where the crisis has been).

Recently, while reading in Galatians, I was reminded, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season, we will reap, if we do not give up.” Our team continues to have great passion for the task at hand and are praying that 2015 will bring a great number of students willing to be a part of the Great Commission.

In 2015, we will see:

  • The most students and adults to serve with our global partners in a summer season.
  • A1eight Project summer missionaries serving alongside our partners in numerous locations.
  • A new relationship and opportunity for short-term teams to serve in Bulgaria with Mission Bulgaria.
  • New ministry partners coming on board.

It is exciting to be a part of a group serving every day to help mobilize students in response to the Great Commission. I want to encourage you to continue to pray for us, our partners, for those who will respond to the call to go serve, and for the people groups we will be engaging with the life-changing Gospel of Jesus Christ. I also encourage you to join our team by prayerfully considering partnering with Servant Life through giving, either a one time gift or as a monthly teammate. Servant Life is a 501c3 organization and donations are tax deductible. You can contact us to help get that started or you can join our team at www.servantlife.com.

For all of us that know Christ we should look for every opportunity possible to make Him known in our homes, communities, country, and in every corner of the globe!

J. Roger Davis, Executive Director, Servant Life

The World Is Waiting

Thank you for taking a moment to read more about what is happening at Servant Life.  This is an exciting season of growth and transition for our ministry, and we praise God for all that he is doing among the nations and for allowing Servant Life to be a part of Kingdom advancement.  Thank you for your partnership, encouragement, and support of our ministry!

We are looking back to the summer and thanking God for allowing around 450 students to be a witness for Christ to the nations in 2014.  But more importantly, we are looking ahead to 2015 and preparing for our biggest ministry year ever.  Servant Life has added partners in four new locations next summer—Toronto, Dallas, Guatemala, and Kenya—bringing us to 17 different partners in 14 countries.  Each of these partners has expressed tremendous gratitude for the support of our short-term teams, and we look forward to continuing to serve them well.

Each time we add a new partner or send another student out to serve, it is a big moment.  Not big because we like to see larger numbers tied to our organization, but big because we serve a mighty God who does incredible things when we live surrendered to his Lordship.  It is also an incredible testimony to the world around us when a teenager turns from the pursuit of worldly passions and begins to live sacrificially for the spread of the gospel.  As 2 Cor. 5:20 says, “We are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us.”  God made reconciliation possible through Christ, but chooses to use us to spread this hope to the world.

Pastor David Platt recently challenged our congregation with a wonderful reminder.  We continue to live for the glory of God among the nations because Christ has commissioned us, but a day is coming when we will talk less about unreached people and more about the return of King Jesus.  Matthew 25:14 says that “the gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”  Right now we labor for all nations to grow in their knowledge of Christ, but a day is coming when the world will know— and then Christ will make his glorious return.

Our nation needs to hear the gospel.  Every nation needs to hear the gospel.  The world is waiting.  How will you be faithful to live for the glory of God among all nations in the year to come?

– Zac Condie, Servant Life Director

Global Strategy In Youth Culture

The core conviction of the mandate to be a global disciple is most accurately stated in the Great Commission and the Great Commandment.  Simply stated: Love God (Great Commandment) and Love People (Great Commission).

The fusion of these two foundational principles set forth a global strategy for every church, ministry, and individual to extend its reach to the nations.   This kingdom driven mindset points each member of the family of God to maximize their efforts collectively through personal evangelism, church planting, and local/global missions.  The clarity of the Great Commission and the Great Commandment moves each person to more personal, practical involvement in the mission of God, leaving no margin for passiveness for the unredeemed.   Subsequently, there has to be a paradigm shift in how success is measured.  Pragmatically, this changes the “win” from “coverts to disciples” and “members that meet at the church to becoming members that are the church.”

Therefore, the Acts 1:8 strategy becomes the grid in which each follower of Jesus evaluates his or her own influence.  So in order to be effective in mobilizing people to ministry and missions, one’s Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth must be identified and engaged. Now, these concepts mentioned above have been debated, discussed, and diagrammed for years; but God waits for a generation to seriously embrace this invitation.

This is the very reason why I have committed my life to working with teenagers!  The repetitive question I am constantly asked is “How long will you keep working with teenagers?”  My answer is the same every time: “I honestly believe that this generation of young people will take the gospel to the ends of the earth.”  They are the most globally connected generation that has ever existed and combined with a burden for justice they have become a generation of reckoning.  However, theological illiteracy has challenged them to work through relativism and absolute truth.   However, there is a resurgence and reformation amongst these young warriors that has caused them to reject the American dream and embrace the Kingdom. They have collectively made it clear they seek to have a life of impact, rather than invest their lives in the non-eternal.

Therefore, the mission of Servant Life is to mobilize students for more than a cause.  Instead, the call is for students to be consumed with the reality that God is calling them to love Him Supremely and others Sacrificially.  So, they reject the apathy of our generation and seek to be marked by the cross of Calvary that beckons them to die to all they hold dear, even their own dreams.  For what purpose?  THE KINGDOM OF GOD!

– Ed Newton, Executive Director of the Lift Tour (Student Leadership University) and Servant Life ambassador

Partner Spotlight: England

In the fall of 2011, Mike Taylor and his family relocated from Texas to the picturesque Tees Valley of Northern England.  While England is not considered an “unreached” people group, only 3% of the population claim to have a relationship with Jesus Christ.  Knowing this, the Taylor family chose to heed the call to reach the lost in England, where there are two generations living in a post-Christian world.  Now, Mike serves as the Director of UK – USA Ministries  and helps engage people in cross-cultural ministry.

UK – USA Ministries operates through vision trips, short term mission trips, church planting, mentoring of youth pastors, and gap year placement.  Of these, Servant Life partners with UK-USA Ministries in short term mission trips. Groups participate in three facets during a short term trip: schools, sports ministry, and servant evangelism

Schools

England has mandatory Religious Education classes in public schools.  UK-USA Ministries has taken advantage of this mandate to bring Christianity to young people in England.  Short term teams have the chance to share testimonies and help teach in public schools.  Through this, short term teams serve long term missionaries as they walk alongside and bring the gospel to young people in England.

Sports Ministry

UK-USA Ministries uses sports, particularly soccer, to reach young people. Through playing sports and teaching skill sets, doors are being opened and relationships are being built.  Short term teams will get the opportunity to engage youth in the Camp of Champions put on by UK-USA Ministries in different areas of the Tees Valley.

Servant Evangelism

“Servant Evangelism” is exactly what the name suggests.  Through this, teams will be the hands and feet of Jesus to people in the surrounding community.  It makes quite the impression on someone to provide a seemingly “random” service.  However, we know that nothing is random in the Kingdom of God and small acts can open big doors to share the gospel.

To learn more about UK-USA Ministries or to find out how you can be involved click here.

The Dangers Of A Mission Trip

Going on a mission trip can be dangerous; but, so can coming back home.

We live in a culture that has a 24-hour news cycle that seems to be filled with nothing but negative elements and danger around the world.  These images and elements alone often keep people from going and making disciples around the world.  We convince ourselves that it is “too dangerous” or we simply decide that we don’t have the resources or time and we will go “someday.”

While those concerns have some validity, I contend that going on a mission trip can be dangerous in other, maybe even more dangerous ways.

Going on a “trip” with the mindset of a tourist rather than a disciple going to fulfill the Great Commission

At times I hear conversations, both in person and on social media of people talking more about packing their bags, getting their passport stamped, or what they are going to do on their “off” day compared to having a laser focus on the “mission” of their trip.  Those details aren’t bad; but, it is imperative for short-term missionaries to remember that the time they have is limited and in order to maximize it the mind must be kept on the mission.

Coming home with pictures of things you built

Building things is not wrong but we must remember that the Great Commission is about people.  A successful mission is one that keeps that focus.  When we are all gone from this life and enter into the next, buildings will still be here.  They are great resources, but they need to be a resource that leads to changed lives.  So if involved in building projects, take great pictures…just include the people that it helped in your pictures. On that same note, don’t fall into the trap of wanting to take a lot of pictures just to have your next great profile picture or receive a record breaking number of instagram likes. There’s nothing wrong with letting social media know you had an incredible trip; just make sure to have the right motives!

Return talking about what “we” did

When we answer the call of Christ to make disciples of all nations, we go in His authority and the power of the Holy Spirit.  It is imperative for us to invite the Spirit to work in us and through us.  As we return and share stories and testimonies it should focus much more on what He did than what we did. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8

Checking your good deeds off your list

Years ago, I was returning from some work in Honduras. When I sat down on the plane, I was sitting by a young man who was returning from his 2-year Mormon mission trip.  I enjoyed talking with him about his time in country and all that entailed.  I asked him a question about his return and what he would now do going forward related to his faith and missions.  He laughed and said, “I have done my duty. I am now done and get to live my life.”  He said his church will see that he did his work and then he will be free. I found it an interesting response.  While it might not be said in those exact words, we often say the same with our lives.  We go on mission trips and feel a sense that we did something valuable, maybe even something we were “called” to do, but that was the end of it.  We have done our duty, our good turn, our mission, and now we can go back to our lives and our control.  This is a trap.  “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. Matthew 6:1-4

Not being able to re-engage in a healthy way

When you see God move, it should affect you.  It should cause a stirring of the soul that desires to see that change on a regular basis. Sometimes returning from a mission trip can be frustrating because you want everyone else to “get it.”  The realization that they have not seen and experienced what you did becomes very clear.  They continue to focus on their day-to-day lives and while your body is present, your mind is still back with kids in an African village or with your new friends in Asia.  Your mind plays a continuous album of photos in your head.  You dream of just going back or you think of plans to sell everything you have and move.  The deep thinker Dr. Seuss said it well, “Don’t be sad it is over, be glad it happened.”  While we should always live a missional life, sometimes that means having seasons of being in a different context.  Other times it has us right where God has planted us for that life season.  Don’t live in the danger of dreaming about going on a mission trip again. Step into the reality that as a Christ-follower you and I are called to live a life on mission. If we are going to make disciples, we should do this regardless of where we are.

Not sharing what happened

When you come home, don’t be afraid to share with your friends and family all that you saw The Lord do on your mission trip.  Unfortunately, it can be easy to buy into the lie of not wanting to bother people with all of your stories. You may have a thought like “They’re probably tired of hearing me talk about my trip.”  However, sharing your stories can be so powerful! When you retell your experience, God gets the glory and you keep alive your memories. Don’t forget to write everything down! You’ll definitely want to remember it all in a month or year or 10 years.

I encourage you to be careful not to let yourself fall into these dangers. More importantly, don’t let these potential dangers keep you from going on a mission trip altogether.  In Luke 9:23, Jesus gives the charge: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”  As a Christ-follower you are commanded to die to yourself and the desires of your flesh.  I am convinced that there is no greater reward than following Jesus. With your heart and mind constantly set on Jesus, the dangers of coming home from a mission trip won’t even be an issue.  Take Him at His word, follow Him to the ends of the earth, and keep your eyes on Him always.

– J. Roger Davis, Executive Director of Servant Life

Stories from East Asia, Pt. 2

The following are testimonies from our team that served in East Asia this past summer. They had the chance to share the gospel with unreached and unengaged people groups.

“Prior to this trip, I was very interested in missions. I gave up my lifelong dream of playing professional sports to pursue the studies Seminary had to offer. God then gave me a chance to see what the missionary side of life is all about. I came into this week with every little detail planned out. God then graciously shattered that plan. Through all the discomfort, confusion, and adjustment, I finally experienced something magnificent. At home, offering is just putting money in a plate every Sunday and Wednesday. On a trip, I gave up sleep, food, entertainment, and even time to plant seeds. Although it was hard at times, leaders, friends, and students helped me continue. Without a doubt, all circumstances considered, prepared or not, I would do it all again for any length of time. And for all this I thank God.”

“God has shown me many things this week. He began by stripping me of all and every daily comfort – food, bed, hot water, electricity, technology, family, until there was only Him. It’s like He wanted to see how far we could go to serve Him. I really enjoyed being able to see the word ‘Jesus’ come out of some of those mouths for the very first time. That alone made everything worth it. The fact that without us here, that may have never happened is truly amazing. I also enjoyed witnessing a girl read the Christmas story to the class from a Chinese Bible. You could feel the presence of the Lord in the room. I have full confidence that the seeds were planted in the lives of these children and because I got to witness that, my life was changed.”

“Something that stuck out to me was that I had the opportunity to share about God’s plan with one of the students. She had been in my class and we were talking in the dorms about the Christmas story that they had learned that day. She said it was very interesting, so I told her about the rest of Jesus’ life. When she realized that it was real and wanted to accept Him as her Lord and Savior, my heart jumped. It’s amazing, reaffirming to my personal faith to see seeds being planted, and I’m blessed to have had this opportunity.”

“An incredible thing that I got to witness was when the students in my class got into small groups and discussed the Christmas story. There I learned that four students believe and have asked Jesus into their hearts. Andrew, one of those students, had a Bible, and he said that he shared bible stories with them every night. It was also great because Andrew could also translate what I really wanted to get across. After finishing up the Christmas story, I shared my favorite books/verses, and they shared theirs. It was interesting to learn that theirs was Genesis and Luke. But the most amazing things was that we were able to give them Bibles! I am so excited and hopeful that God will really water that seed. They seemed to really happy to receive them! I will be praying for them often.”

“This week, the story that touched me the most was with Andrew, one of the students. I met him last year and knew he was on track to becoming a believer, but I did not know how much he was interested in it all until I saw him this year. We were talking and he randomly told me how he thought Jesus was his friend. He also told me he had been reading his Chinese Bible every night and sharing with his friends. He said his friends also thought Jesus was their friend which makes me feel like they are closer to believing. This story touched me so much because it shows how the work we are doing at the school will spread to many others we wouldn’t normally reach. If we can tell the good news to the kids at the school, they can share with their friends and family and the word will continue to grow and spread.”

“This week, God has taught me to be more selfless and grateful. He has made me realize that there are many that can’t freely worship and still so many that we need to share our stories with. We need to continue to reach out to these people at home and all nations.

“Toward the beginning of the week, our crew was pretty discouraged in our class. They continued to push through and on the day we talked about Christmas, the Chinese students began to respond. We found out we had at least eight Chinese students who understood who Jesus was and a few that were family. In the group I was sitting in, we had two students draw out the bridge illustration and begin explaining in Chinese! We didn’t even get to a nativity skit because we were so busy talking about Jesus and the Bible.”

“One of my Big G stories was the night after the Christmas movie. One girl asked me to tell her more stories about Him so I did. I read her about ten stories from the Bible. She had many questions about it, but at the end of the night she decided to believe in Him.”

“During the last few days while I was there, I talked to some of the girls about the death of Father and showed them my cross earrings. Later on, some of the girls came up and gave me a cross necklace and told me, ‘We can see how much you love Jesus and we wanted to give you this.'”

“This trip has revealed to me how many people are truly lost.”

“This was my first time out of the country. This was definitely a life changing trip. I got to step out of my comfort zone and show myself what I was truly capable of. I got to witness to a group of about six girls in the dorms one night before dinner.”

“This week at camp I got to share the complete story of the gospel for the first time. I had been frustrated with not sharing for most of the week because I didn’t want to go so far to keep my mouth shut, so I finally opened my mouth for the first time and told two girls the story of the gospel. I was nervous, but it was a lot easier than I thought it would be. It was a lot of fun and I loved doing it. It makes me feel good and like you’re part of a bigger picture. I enjoyed it a lot and it was cool to see how God opened my eyes to the desperate need for more missionaries. Now I don’t want to stop.”

“I was surprised how easily the students seemed to accept and comprehend all that we told them about Jesus, while people in America who understand what we are saying, just constantly reject or ignore it. It was pretty cool when one girl came up to me and said ‘I love Jesus. Can you write His name on my hat?'”

“He worked in my life, breaking down any social barriers, and breaking my heart for these people. He humbled my pride and taught me not to take anything for granted. I’m so glad He sent me on this trip.”

“Mike asked me why I believe which actually caught me off guard because surprisingly, no one has ever asked me that before. I got to tell him and the rest of the group how amazing it is to know that you are loved unconditionally, no matter what you do. One day while riding in a rickshaw, Mike asked for a bandana (with pictures on it that helps you share the gospel).”

Click here to learn more about our East Asia trip and how you can get involved!