Winter break started early for many universities and colleges across Texas. To cut back on the spread of COVID-19, many campuses switched to online classes only following the Thanksgiving holiday. This has led to a unique opportunity for Go Now Missions to start their mission trips earlier than normal so that they can reach even more people for Christ.
Go Now Missions is a college student mission program that sends students out around the world to serve and share the Gospel.
The Horned Frog Baptist Student Ministry (BSM) at Texas Christian University (TCU) has already completed their Christmas mission trip after wrapping up classes in late November. They made repairs on a local church, Iglesia Bautista Azle Avenue Baptist Church, in Fort Worth. Brenda Sanders, director of Go Now Missions, said the church had contacted TBM about possible repairs, who had passed the word on to Sanders, knowing she could find a BSM up to the task.
The trip was a gift for the Horned Frog BSM, who thought they would be unable to serve because of a travel ban TCU had placed on all campus organizations. Since the church was in Fort Worth, however, the BSM was still able to take their students on mission.
For Warren Ethridge, director of the BSM, this was a great opportunity to bring the TCU students off campus and into the city.
“TCU students look completely different than the demographics around them. We got to serve right in our backyard in Fort Worth and partner with brothers and sisters in Christ who came from different backgrounds and languages, and we still had so much in common with them because of Christ,” Ethridge explained.
Students removed old siding and installed insulation and new siding into the church’s new gym, which was converted from their former sanctuary.
Many of the groups that are serving, like the Horned Frog BSM, are from a single BSM, while others are a mixture of students from BSMs around the state. Sanders explained that Go Now is a chance for students to look beyond their campus and experience ministry in the real world.
“Whether it’s hurricane relief or something in their own backyard, they can say that, ‘yes, the campus is our mission field, but we look beyond that and serve other places,’” she said.
This Christmas break, 15 groups will serve in mission centers, hurricane relief, church repairs and more. Groups going to mission centers in Houston and Arlington are relieving staff members who have been working extra hard this year to provide food and other basic supplies to families impacted by the pandemic, Sanders explained. Groups will also go to communities impacted by Hurricanes Laura and Delta, which are still in need of relief work. Still others will engage with refugees, immigrants and communities in Houston and Fort Worth or serve at Samaritan’s Purse’s Operation Christmas Child packing location.
Above all, Sanders said, they will find a way to continue to do ministry, finding new ways to serve safely during the pandemic.
“Instead of focusing on what we can’t do, we’re focusing on what we can,” she explained.
Sanders asked that churches pray for the students as they go out to serve. Pray for boldness and a servant’s heart, she said, and also for health and safety.