In 1946, four young men from Baylor University traveled to Hawaii to hold a youth revival in Honolulu. That trip was the catalyst for Texas Baptists student missions, and 75 years later, Go Now Missions has sent 12,455 college students to the ends of the earth, spreading the gospel wherever they go.
That first trip to Hawaii started when Rev. and Mrs. Victor Koon, who were missionaries to Hawaii, heard about the Waco Youth Revival, which had seen 500 public commitments to Christ. They asked W.F. Howard, director of the Department of Student Work at Texas Baptists if a student team could come to Hawaii during the Christmas holidays to host a similar youth revival in Honolulu. The Pearl Harbor attack five years prior had rocked Hawaii, and there were less than ten struggling Baptist churches there. The Koons hoped a youth revival would bring hope back to the islands.
Howard agreed, and four of the students, Bo Baker, Howard Butt, Ray (Reiji) Hoshizaki and Jackie Robinson, were chosen to go. Baptist Student Unions (BSU) across Texas and America caught onto the vision and prayed for the four men as they embarked on their journey.
When they arrived in Honolulu in December, the men began covering the city with advertisements for the revival, planning radio announcements on local stations, writing articles and ads in newspapers, and hanging posters on buses and cars.
The revival took place over four days, and crowds showed up in droves, with more than 2,000 attending the closing service. Over 100 professions of faith were made, 144 young people rededicated their lives and 12 people made commitments to full-time Christian service.
Continuing the mission
This trip laid the foundation for the BSU Summer Mission Program. In the 1950s, Texas students raised more than $152,000 to send 152 student missionaries around America and the world. Since then, the momentum has only continued to grow. The name was officially changed to Go Now Missions in 2001, but the mission remained the same. Teams of students are sent out around the world for summer, Christmas, semester and year-long missions.
On Sunday, May 23, Go Now Missions commissioned its 75th class during a ceremony at Dallas Baptist University. Three hundred and fifty student missionaries were sent out into the world to share the gospel.
Among the commissioned were four students who would be going to Hawaii in honor of that first mission trip so many years ago. The students will be serving with Connections Church, a church start hoping to launch this summer. The students will help with outreach efforts, worship services, kids’ events and Bible studies and will be a part of carrying on the legacy that started so many years before.
Brenda Sanders, director of Go Now Missions, commended the students, saying they were part of a long line of those who have been obedient to follow the call of God.
“We are here to celebrate God’s goodness and His calling,” Sanders said. “We are thankful and humble that He would choose to invite Texas Baptists and Go Now Missions to be a part of what He is doing around the world.”
To learn more about Go Now Missions, go to gonowmissions.org.