The eyes of the world are on Brazil right now. Those that do not know the first thing about soccer have suddenly become the most passionate fans.
Last week a team of college students led by a campus minister from Alabama traveled to Rio de Janeiro to be a part of the hundreds of thousands of people from around the world that are descending upon the host country during the World Cup. Their purpose is simple – to make much of Jesus and to make him known among the nations that have come to their city for the World Cup.
During my senior year of college, I had the opportunity to do the same. I traveled to Nantes, France, to participate in evangelism efforts surrounding the 1998 World Cup. It was a trip of firsts for me. First time to venture off alone. (I did not meet my team until we arrived at the airport.) First time to fly. First time to leave the USA. First international mission trip. First time to experience worship in a room full of people from many nations singing in their native languages.
Sixteen years later I still have great memories of the life-changing experience and recall four lessons that made a lasting impact:
*God’s provision – The cost of the trip seemed so daunting, but through the faithfulness and generosity of my home church, family and friends I raised 100% of the cost and had enough to cover expenses while in France. I simply had to be obedient to go and put in the effort to fundraise.
*God’s heart for the nations – For the first time in my life I was surrounded by a team of believers from all over the world. Together for that short period of time we lived in community and we served the people we met. I will never forget our worship gatherings and experiencing the entire team pray and sing in their native languages.
*God’s power in prayer – This team taught me so much about prayer as we spent a large amount of time praying before we went out each day and prayer walking the areas we worked. As a result we saw God work in supernatural ways. I remember a specific time the language barriers were broken as I shared the Gospel with two French students. I only knew a very little French, and they only knew a very little English, but we completely understood each other as the conversation turned to spiritual things.
*God’s purpose for my life – That trip began a desire to go. I now love to travel and experience new cultures. It’s not just about the travel, but it’s about meeting new people who have been created to worship, but do not yet know the Creator.
As a campus minister, I don’t just get to go. Now I get to be a part of the education and mobilization of student missionaries around the world. It is a joy to read updates and hear stories of the work God is doing in and through them during a life-changing experience like I had.
Students, take advantage of the opportunities that you only have during this season of your life. Don’t settle for being comfortable. Ask God for an opportunity to serve Him that will have a life-changing impact on your life. Recently a student serving in South Asia wrote, “Jesus never said it would be easy (and trust me, it isn’t) but He did say it will be worth it (and it totally is).” Begin praying now for what you can be a part of next semester and next summer!
Join me in praying for the One Mission Students Brazil team and all of our collegiate missionaries as they sacrificially serve in 20 countries and eight states this summer in order to make much of Jesus and to make Him known among the nations. Also join me in praying for additional students to surrender their plans for the sake of the Gospel and go out next summer. “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!” (Psalm 115:1, NASB).
Kim Andrews is the associate campus minister on the University of Alabama campus, part of the Office of Collegiate and Student Ministries. She may be contacted via email at email@example.com.