WBU Senior confirms missions call after summer overseas

PLAINVIEW – Here’s the assignment: Travel halfway around the world, attend classes at a university in another country and make friends with the nationals. It may sound like just a vacation, but the trip was much more detailed for the students involved.

The assignment belonged to Jalissa King, a Wayland Baptist University senior from Portales, N.M., for the past summer, her second summer missions adventure to Asia.

King spent the summer in East Asia as a missionary with Go Now Missions, an arm of the Student Ministries division of the Baptist General Convention of Texas. Traveling as a visiting student, King and seven other American student missionaries took language cultural classes from the local university during the mornings.

During the afternoons, the assignment was simply to hang out with national students in the various places they gathered, usually segregated by gender.

“The boys liked to play basketball, so our male students would go play sports with them,” King said. “The girls liked to shop, so I learned how to shop on this trip.”

King, an athlete all during high school who played JV basketball at Wayland, said she would have felt more comfortable on the ball court, but cultural mores dictated she join the women instead. That lesson was learned the hard way.

“I drew a crowd one day playing basketball with the boys, and I didn’t realize that the girls really aren’t encouraged to pursue athletics, except badminton,” she said. “They kept wanting me to play again but I didn’t.”

Aside from her sporting ventures, King drew lots of attention in the East Asian country – partially because she was white and partially because she was much taller than most Asian women. Though it was hard to get used to the stares, King said the trend actually made it easy to fulfill her mission: make friends with nationals and share the gospel of Jesus Christ.

“It really wasn’t hard to meet people on campus,” she said. “We were the white people on campus so they wanted to talk to us and work on their English.”

Shopping outings – also not much of King’s style – turned out to be great opportunities just to walk and talk as students primarily window shopped, sharing their faith in a relationship evangelism. The group was also to seek out Christian nationals on campus and help train them to win their friends to Christ.

“We were supposed to help them learn how to witness, but they really didn’t need us,” King said. “They knew how already and were doing it quite well.”

King related an incident where a few Christian nationals were speaking to others on the street and showing them passages from the Bible, a practice of which the Asian nation is not known for being fond. The girls were not concerned, however, with what happened to them and shared boldly in public, leaving quite an impression on the American students.

“God really showed me what I should be willing to do here in America,” she said. “He was really teaching me how I was doing the same activities here and it shouldn’t be any different. Our lives should always be a ‘mission trip.’”

King said the trip also confirmed her call to missions overseas, specifically in Asia. After spending last summer in Thailand doing disaster relief with tsunami victims, King said she felt more than ever the pull to foreign service.

A big part of that, she said, was the biggest lesson God taught her: to really love people and become broken for their eternal well-being.

“I was writing a letter to an (Asian) friend who was leaving and I knew I wouldn’t likely ever see her again,” King shared. “She knew a lot about God, but just wouldn’t accept Christ. I didn’t know what to say (in the letter) and that’s when I really became broken for her. I totally felt out of control, and I really began to think about what it means not to accept Christ.”

King openly wept during the experience, something she’s not known for doing too often, which was proof to those who knew her that her heart really had been touched.

King, a secondary math major at Wayland who will graduate in spring 2007, said she hopes to use her education degree in a missions endeavor overseas.