“Do you feel the world is broken?” flashed across the screen in the Crowne Centre. A montage of news clips followed, highlighting current reports of crime and disasters around the world. As the presentation closed with the message “Is anyone worthy to redeem our broken world?”, the lights dimmed, and the questions were answered in song. Yes, the world is broken. But God has conquered the grave, and He is worthy of all blessing and honor and glory.
“He Is Worthy” was the theme of this year’s Campus Church Missions Conference, which placed a special emphasis on missions from Wednesday night through Sunday. Students and church members were encouraged to serve God by doing their part to spread His message throughout the world—whether in full-time foreign missions or in their own home countries.
In church and chapel messages during the conference, the keynote speakers—Matt Allen, who serves as a missionary to Papua New Guinea, and Dr. Bill Patterson, president of Mount Abarim Baptist Mission International—shared a passionate vision for missions.
“I like how Matt Allen explained that even if we’re not called to go to the mission field, we could provide for missionaries financially,” said Alyssa Baltazar (Sr., FL). “And even if we can’t provide for them, we can pray for them.”
On Thursday, students whose families serve on the mission field were invited to an international dinner provided by two Campus Church Bible Study Groups. Each student had the opportunity to give prayer requests and share about their family’s mission field.
Many guest missionaries and mission board representatives also gave presentations throughout the conference, spoke in Bible Study Groups, and talked with people who visited their ministry display tables. Students learned about Bill and Amy Fennell’s ministry planting churches and doing Bible translation, LeRoy and Amber Rolston’s thriving ministry in Honduras, Jonathan and Katie Stanczak’s aviation ministry, Thomas and Jensine Behman’s ministry in the Philippines, and many more. Several missionaries presented opportunities for students to serve on summer trips or to take initial steps toward full-time missions.
Dr. David Canedy, representing Baptist World Mission, enjoyed meeting with students who stopped by his display. “It’s encouraging seeing the missions emphasis on PCC’s campus,” he said. “There’s truly a heart for missions here. I tell students to have their hearts yielded to whatever God wants for their lives. If God wants you in missions, He will open the door.”
Rosita Smith (Jr., FL) appreciated getting to talk to the missionaries and learn about their day-to-day lives. “It helps me know what to pray about for them,” she said. “I also like seeing how different each missionary is. So much diversity and so many different personalities, but they’re all working toward the same cause. You don’t have to meet certain criteria to share the gospel.”
One of the most exciting events of Missions Conference was the Parade of Nations, which opened the Sunday morning church service. Dressed in attire that represented their home countries, 162 international students from 48 countries—including India, Australia, Switzerland, Peru, and many others—followed their flags down the aisle. As the parade made its way through the Crowne Centre, the Rejoice choir sang, “May we be a shining light to the nations . . . till the whole world sees the glory of Your name.”
Campus Church pastor Jeff Redlin introduced the parade as “a powerful visual reminder that gives us a small taste of what it may be like someday around the throne of God,” referencing Revelation 7:9, 10.
“After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.”
Graduate assistant Keren Korineza (Burundi) was honored to march in the parade for her second time. “I love my country so much, and I jump at every opportunity I get to share about it with others,” she said. “I wore a traditional outfit called ‘imvutano.’ It’s an outfit of honor that Burundians wear at events that are very special to them. I have this nostalgic emotion as I walk down the aisle, picturing that day when I will go back home and stand on the Burundian land.”
“The purpose of the parade inspires me,” Keren continued. “We all gather, representing our countries, to remind each other about the Great Commission. The harvest is abundant, but the laborers are very few. There are many nations out there, and they all need Christ.”
Many students responded to God’s call to reach the world in any way that they could, and students from every major saw that they can be greatly used in missions. “I’ve always been interested in the mission field,” said Alyssa Baltazar. “That’s why I’m studying nursing: I could possibly use my abilities to serve in missions, whether full time or just volunteering. I keep thinking, I have to finish my degree. But Missions Conference reminds me that I can do something for the Lord right now too. I need to take this opportunity of being young, having time. That has definitely touched my heart.”