Written by Maria Koppelberger. Media added by Sean McFarland.
As a part of Global Impact Week, The Office of World Missions and Outreach hosted an evening event called “Meet the Radicals” at the Burritt fire pit. The Radicals represented various mission organizations located throughout the world. Inner City Impact focuses on underprivileged youth in Chicago, Mr. and Mrs. Church work in the Middle East, Blood:Water Mission works in Africa, and Wycliffe Bible translators work all over the globe. In addition to the representatives, Christy Dashiell, Coordinator of World Missions and Outreach, several outreach-minded student leaders, and a variety of students came to join the conversation. Nathan Hood, President of GCSA, got a fire started in the fire pit, Christy brought drinks from Jo’s, and we all settled in for a great time of reflecting on missions work.
The representative of Inner City Impact began by sharing his personal story of involvement in missions. Right out of college he went to the inner city to change lives. His heart was in the right place, but he had many naïve expectations. Over time, he realized that a life change is often a very gradual process. In order to impact others for Christ, he needed to put in an enormous amount of time and hard work into relationships with others. The other representatives echoed his sentiments. The Churches reminded us of the time commitment necessary to learn another culture, as they have integrated into several different cultures during their ministry. It is difficult to learn a culture and a language. Humility and patience are essential, however, an attitude of learning is the most important quality for a missionary. Let the locals teach you, only then will they allow you to teach them about Christ.
All of the representatives shared words of advice for young people investigating a calling to missions work. The Representative of Blood:Water Mission emphasized the necessity of a habit of meeting with the Lord daily. This keeps a Christ-follower strong in his or her faith. He told us to be prepared to be confused. Starting work at a ministry site brings many challenges that will cause a worker to feel a range of emotions. If you are prepared for that, it will not be so difficult to deal with. Mr. Church told us to stay tuned to the Father. Listen to the Lord and do what He says. Mrs. Church shared that it is absolutely essential to genuinely love people in order to share Christ with them. People know if you love them and will respond to the love of Christ pouring out of you.
As the evening concluded, Christy encouraged students to stick around to ask questions and reminded us that there was still coffee left in the thermoses. My floormates and I were reluctant to leave such a great event, so we stayed and chatted about our own mission experiences. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to hear from such caring, committed individuals dedicated to hearing and acting on what the Lord says to them.
Video by Amanda Sowards