GRACEVILLE (BCF)—Six students sharing stories about their summer missions experiences took center stage at the annual Missions Celebration Aug. 18-20 at The Baptist College of Florida when traditionally students would have been listening to a sermon by the school’s president, Thomas A. Kinchen.
“The Missions Celebration has been an absolute blessing,” Lauren Parnell, BCF missions coordinator said about the new approach to chapel services.
August 18, Rich Elligson, assistant professor of missions and a former International Mission Board worker to Brazil, told stories about his trip to Cururupu, Brazil, where BCF has a ministry partnership.
“Missions isn’t a vacation to an exotic location, it’s hard work,” Elligson reminded students.
Following Elligson, Robin Jumper, dean of faculty and professor of missions, approached the pulpit along with a group of students who spent ten days in Jacksonville doing inner-city missions with Words to Works Ministries.
John Thomas, assistant professor of preaching and pastoral ministry, and six students, spent the Aug. 19 service sharing the “obstacle to opportunity” missions experience they encountered during their trip to Ayacucho, Peru in early July.
“I began to pray during our trip for the abundant life Jesus talks about,” stated Peru team member Krista Brown. “It was during this trip that God showed me that I am already living the abundant life. Sharing Christ is the way to obtain abundant life and that’s what we were doing.”
Parnell and the Wisconsin mission team closed the opening week of chapel with reports from their July trip to Portage, Wis. Through fair ministry and disaster relief, the students impacted the lives of many and were able to encourage a young church, River of Life.
According to Parnell, the Missions Celebration at BCF is just the beginning of another great year of missions. Students are getting more involved than ever thanks to the week of missions-filled chapel services, said Parnell who is looking forward to the Spring 2009 Missions Conference and the impact it will have on BCF students.
In related news, BCF missions major, Courtney Coggins spent over two months in the Big Apple serving with Graffiti 2 Ministry in New York.
Graffiti 2 is a community and children-centered ministry branch from Graffiti Church located in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. The vision of the ministry is to have a church planted in troubled communities of all five boroughs.
While Coggins was in New York, she spent her time planning and preparing for summer camps that have been held every year since the start of Graffiti 2 Ministry three years ago.
While the people of Mott Haven have a rough lifestyle, they also have a deep desire for a better life. While serving Coggins said she quickly learned over the summer that people need to be ministered to no matter what their lifestyle may be.
“They need the Gospel before they can change their lifestyles,” Coggins said.
Coggins said the Graffiti 2 Ministry held two separate camps during the summer and then a block party at the end. The first camp was held in the mornings from 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. This was a sports camp, which lasted four weeks highlighting football, baseball, tennis, basketball, and cheerleading. Churches from different parts of the country come and lead the sports camps. Every day the children were taught about a particular sport to improve their skills, as well as learned about Jesus Christ. On Friday, Mann would present the gospel to all of the children.
The other camp was a fine arts camp held in the afternoon. The children learned about music, drama, dance, and art. During the block party held at the end of the camp, the children performed a production showcasing the work they did all summer. For example, during the art class, they drew and colored the backdrop, and many children sang solos, duets, and raps. The theme song they performed was “Lean on Me.” All of the children heard more of God’s word and on Friday they heard the story of the missionary Jim Elliot.
“I would like to encourage all of our students and others to go into the world and serve God,” Coggins said. “Even if you are not called to overseas missions, you are called to missions. Matt. 28:19 directs all Christians to go out and make disciples of all nations in Christ’s name. Don’t ignore His call for your life or you will miss a wonderful experience and blessing.”
For more information on BCF missions opportunities, contact 800-328-2660 x460.
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