Standing on a street corner looking towards the Financial District in New York City, Leilani Estrada could hear five languages being spoken at the same time.
"God really has brought all the nations together in NYC," she said. "It is just amazing to see so many nations brought together on a little island called Manhattan."
Leilani served as a Hispanic church planter in Queens, New York, for the summer through Go Now Missions, the student missions program for Texas Baptists. She and her partner, Erika Perez, both students from the University of Texas-Pan AM, were able to use their Spanish skills to reach the population in the New York borough. Leilani was so moved by her experience and the desperate need for the Gospel to be shared in this region she has partnered with Go Now this fall and is serving as a semester missionary in New York working with the small people group.
Elizabeth Casey, a student at Tarleton University, helps drill a water well in Guatemala.
Serving the Lord through collegiate missions comes in all a variety of forms.
"It's not just your typical Vacation Bible School program any more, although we do have many that help with that," said Brenda Sanders, director of Go Now Missions. "We had students serving around the world through teaching, medical missions, counseling, drilling wells, you name it, we probably had a student doing it."
Committed and maturing Christian college students from across the state partnered with Go Now missions to spread the Gospel around the world this summer. Of the 248 students that served, 26 served in Texas, 88 were spread across the United States, and 134 reached out to other nations worldwide.
In Alaska, a team of eight students worked with Anchorage Mission Leadership Boot Camp, a government sponsored food program in seven city parks across the state. Through their work, the students fed children in the Anchorage area who would not have received a meal each day otherwise. The Go Now students had the opportunity to teach Bible stories each day for the children, meeting their spiritual as well as physical needs.
Surrounded by the beauty of God's creation, Earl Wiser, a student at Tyler Junior College, was struck by the power of God. Wiser understood, though, that they were not in Alaska to just take in the beautiful scenery.
"God is at work among the people of Alaska, and I was privileged to be able to serve Him there," he said.
Not only did students serve around the United States, many traveled abroad from Germany to Venezuela and Southeast Asia.
Cole McCullar, a student at the University of Texas-Dallas, worked with a team in Guatemala drilling a well to provide clean water to a village.
"After a week of drilling, avoiding getting vehicles stuck in mud during a tropical storm, dodging dysentery and malaria, watching volcanoes erupt in the distance, and getting to talk to the villagers about their lives and Savior, Nueva Candelaria had a new, clean water well," he said. "I learned that far more than clean drinking water, people need the living water that only Jesus provides. In the most basic and important need, Guatemalans are no different than Texans. We are all sinners without hope apart from Christ, who died for all of us."
Zach Haynie, a student at South Plains College, plays with children at the Anchorage Mission Leadership Bootcamp in Alaska.
Four others spent their summer in East Asia working with the One Life Project, ministering to women involved in sex trafficking. Lauren was a student from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, who was a member of the team.
During the summer, she found that, "God has shown me so much of His character in how He loves those that society looks at as unlovable. His heart is to make His name known, that we all could be called His children. God has really opened my eyes to see them the way He sees them and it made getting out of bed in the morning and serving so much more worth it."
Go Now Missions is currently accepting applications through Friday, October 4, for Christmas break student missionaries. The list of opportunities for summer, impact, and fall 2014 is now available. For more information, visit www.gonowmissions.com.