Wayland students share Christ, serve others during Spring Break

Parking meters might not seem to have any spiritual applications, but a group of students from Wayland Baptist University have learned to use the machines as a witnessing tool.

Thirteen students from Wayland's Baptist Student Ministries spent their Spring Break on a mission trip to the Durango, Colorado area. Twelve others traveled to the Metroplex to work at Mission Arlington. Though the two groups did vastly different work, their goal was the same: to share the love of Christ through service to others.

On the Durango trip, students worked with a relatively new church, Heart of the Rockies Fellowship, to increase awareness in the community.

"We prayer-walked the neighborhoods, then we went to downtown Durango and fed the parking meters and left these little leaflets that said, 'We were glad to serve you' and had the church's name on them," said Steve Howe, a junior from Buda who participated in the mission effort.

Howe admitted the trip opened his eyes to different ministry opportunities and taking advantage of every chance to spread the gospel.

"Even the simple things, like feeding the parking meters, I would have never thought of as a ministry, but they were great opportunities," he said.

During the next two days, students worked with a Christian organization at Fort Lewis College, taking surveys of students there about their belief in God and personal needs. Howe said the surveys presented several opportunities for WBU students to share their faith. The surveys were also used to determine whether a BSM group might be instituted on that campus.

"The group is currently pulling in about 100 students to their weekly worship service and converting 1-2 each week," Howe said.

"They've got some five- and six-week-old Christians reaching others for Christ and that's great. But they said it was hard to be a Christian organization on the campus because of what is being taught."

Looking back, Howe said he felt the trip was challenging because of the work involved and the outcome.

"It's a harder trip to take because there were no real objective goals, and you can't always see the fruit from it," he said. "There was a lot of seed-planting and a really good lesson in serving, if nothing else. just to serve and not see the rewards but to trust God that he'll use it."

The Mission Arlington group had to trust God as well. That group spent the week leading Vacation Bible School-type events in apartment complexes around the Metroplex, one in the morning and one each afternoon.

In some cases, students said, the children were not open to the messages and persecuted the teams who were bringing the gospel in activities to which children could relate. But through their faith in God's provision, the team was rewarded by a harvest.

"Some of the kids were so mean, but the most horrible kid there Monday through Wednesday was saved on Thursday and was leading others to Christ," said Korby Calley, a Wayland sophomore. "It was awesome to see that transformation. He was a leader in being bad at first, but then was a leader to bring people to Christ."

That transformation was key to this year's trip to Mission Arlington being more rewarding to Calley personally. Since the persecution was greater this year, she said the group really had to keep their faith and focus on God, which she said was a good thing. They also had to remember their ultimate goal.

"We just had to keep telling some of the kids, 'No matter what you do, I will always love you and Jesus will always love you.' We just had to kill them with kindness, and I think that's what made the difference," she said. "We just kept loving them."

Overall, Calley said working for and with the Mission has been a positive experience. That's a major reason why she wanted to return this year.

"It's so eye-opening. but so fun," she said. "You have no clue what you're getting into, but you know that God's going to provide. You really have to go with the flow, because you're on God's schedule." During free periods, Wayland students also worked at the Mission doing various projects like loading furniture and sorting donated items. They also spent one day relaxing in Dallas' West End.

According to BSM Director Donnie Brown, the mission trips serve several purposes.

"The reason we do mission trips over spring break is so students can get a taste of missions and so when they come back to campus, they'll continue to minister on campus," he said. "It's to basically open their eyes to ministry. We also hope they're able to lead people to Christ, and that's ultimately the goal. to build up the kingdom."