Summer Missions Takes Center Stage

September 5, 2019

eight people sitting on stools on stage
Wednesday’s chapel service at Wayland Baptist University featured seven students sharing about their summer mission trips. Pictured are (from left) Sidney Manross, Lucy Chavez, Kyle Sumner, Kamri Knippa, Sam Dailey, Jonathan Darnell and Bailey Breeden. Donnie Brown, director of the Wayland Mission Center, led the discussion.

PLAINVIEW – Over the summer, more than 170 students, faculty and staff from Wayland Baptist University participated in summer missions through various organizations, as well as trips planned by WBU’s academic schools. In chapel on Wednesday, seven of those students shared a little of their story with their classmates.

Lucy Chavez served in Peru. Jonathan Darnell went to Central Asia. Kamri Knippa joined the School of Math and Sciences on a medical mission trip in Honduras. Sidney Manross participated in the School of Christian Studies trip to Israel. Bailey Breeden was in the Turks & Caucus Islands. Sam Dailey went to Hungary, and Kyle Sumner went to Washington State.

Here is the transcript of their chapel testimony.


Where did you go and what did you do?

Bailey: I’m Bailey Breeden and I went to the Turks and Caucus Islands. We did two different things while we were down there. We did village ministry time and like village evangelism. Basically we would just walk around and whenever people were outside we just talked to them. The second thing we did was work on two different churches in two different villages and just painting and yard work and anything you could ask for.

Jonathan: I’m Jonathan and I spent two months in central Asia this summer. Our trip was simple. We made friends and we shared the gospel.

Sam: I’m Sam. I went to Hungary this past summer for two weeks and I taught English as a second language.

Kamri: My name is Kamri Knippa. I went on a medical mission trip to Honduras this summer with the math and science department and we did door-to-door medical clinics and so basically we just tried to meet people’s basic medical necessities.

Kyle: Hey, I’m Kyle. I went to Washington and we did VBS for kids in Washington state.

Lucy: Hi, guys. I’m Lucy, I went to Peru for seven weeks and I worked with children’s ministry and evangelism.

Sidney: Hey, y’all. I’m Sidney and I got to spend three weeks this summer over in Israel with Wayland’s School of Religion and we got to work with an organization called Holy Land Missions. We were able to go into the local houses and share the gospel as well as host a basketball camp with a local church.


What were some of the highlights of your time of service?

Kyle: One of the highlights that me and the 10 or 11 other people that went with me to Washington, we got to see seven kids who had never became Christian or anything like that before gave their life to Christ.

Sidney: Obviously going over to Israel and get to see the things that you learned in New or Old Testament classes and Sunday School … all of a sudden these places just come to life. Obviously that was pretty awesome to see and also just being able … experiencing the culture going into these people’s houses, seeing their everyday lives and just how welcoming they were despite the language barriers. I’m awful at basketball, but playing basketball with the kids was so much fun. Even though we didn’t speak the same language, just being able to share God’s love with them was enough for them to understand why we were there.

Jonathan: I spent my summer in a place that is very hard. There is not a lot of Christian workers there is not a lot of believers. And when I say there is not a lot of believers, there is 1 in 17,000 people in the country that say they’re a believer. In that, we had 13 college students, we didn’t see a single person come to Christ. But yet, one of the coolest experiences was to see that our God is still working. Our God is still present. I was in a city of 20 million people and our God … Even though we didn’t see direct people come to Christ we saw the Lord working and working and breaking down cultural walls, breaking down hard hearts to come and be obedient to the gospel.

Lucy: Working with the kids was just pouring love into them and seeing the needs that they have. Over there, their parents aren’t really on top of their stuff. They walk to school and they walk miles in the mountains to their houses. They are really not taken care of like kids here are. It was just being important to them and show them that they are loved, not only by us, by the one who created them was just amazing to see how much that matters to a kid to know that they are loved and that they are seen and their needs are seen. It was just amazing to see how God worked through the missionaries that were working there. And just being able to put a smile on their face by spending time with them, playing soccer with them, playing basketball with them whatever it may be, they just enjoyed having people love on them and that was really great to see how that really impacted them.


What did you learn about God from your experience?

Kamri: For me I would say that God is faithful. I mean, I already knew that, but it was just really reiterated. While we were in Honduras, there were some riots happening in the city and they were really close to where we were. But we were never in contact with them. We were always very safe. Also, I remember thinking when we first heard about the trip that there would be no way I could afford to pay for it. But through donations and everything and just trusting in God, he provided and I was able to go. And then the third thing that I realized about God being faithful is that I really felt like God truly revealed to me that what I am on the path to do is what he has me to do. I’ve always felt a calling to missions, but I never really felt like it was going to be a full time thing. So, this medical mission trip showed me that through optometry which is what I want to study, I can go on medical mission trips and serve and also be a missionary at home wherever I am serving as an optometrist.

Bailey: My main thing is that God’s plan is bigger than ours is and the first reason I say that is that we were initially supposed to go to Haiti and Haiti was, at that point, in a not-good state. So we had to switch at kind of the last minute and go to the Turks and Caucus instead and serve the Haitians living there. For me, I was really excited about going to see the kids and working with the kids there and the whole week, I hadn’t seen any kids and I haven’t worked with any kids and I was getting a little disappointed, but I kept praying and hoping that God would bring some children in to the village for me to minister to. On the last day a really big storm came up before we were supposed to head out. We didn’t think we were going to get to go to the village. It was pouring rain. But it cleared up within an hour and we went and every single house that I went to had kids. There were kids running around all over the village and I got to hold all the babies and it was fantastic. Late that evening I found out that the storm knocked out the power so they didn’t get to go to school that day. So I was freaking out about the storm, and God’s plan was bigger because he allowed me to minister to those kids.

Jonathan: The main thing the lord taught me during my trip to Asia was that the Lord is enough. I was 6,391 miles away from my girlfriend, my friends, my family, any of the hobbies I like to do, any of the things that in the past have brought me joy. I was 6,391 miles away from where they use air conditioner. So, despite all of these things, despite being uncomfortable, despite not knowing the language, despite everything going on, the Lord is enough. The Lord is enough to satisfy my heart. The Lord is enough to bring me joy. The Lord is enough to bring me peace. The Lord is enough to truly satisfy me. The main thing I learned is that no matter what situation you are in, no matter good times or bad, the Lord is enough.


How did this experience change you and how have you been living your life differently because of it?

Sidney: I think a lot of times we have assumptions about people. Especially when we are sharing the gospel, we live in the Bible belt they know the gospel. We are in Israel, where it actually happened, surely they know about Jesus. That’s what was in my mind going over there. These people walk by these sites every day, they know about all of these things that happen, but they don’t know Jesus. That was something that blew my mind. Guys, we can’t make assumptions and just hide Jesus because you never know who doesn’t know. That was one thing for me to take away from the trip is just that you never know who knows the Lord and who doesn’t, so share with everyone. Don’t let your assumption stop you. Don’t let what you assume stop you because you never know if that is a soul that could be lost.  We have to share Jesus because there are people in this room that don’t know. There are people out there that don’t know.

Lucy: What stood out to me was seeing hurting people and not reaching out to them. In my time over there I was able to see the pain people go through in everyday life and that’s not just in a city in Peru, that’s everywhere. There is hurt everywhere. God really opened my eyes to see that pain in people. I think we live in a country where we are very individualistic and we think that we have to have it all together. We think that we have to put on this strong front. The truth is that we are all people and we all hurt and we all go through things. I think God gave me that heart to see that hurt in people and reach out to them. Because the answer is Jesus. I see that in my life when I am hurting and the comfort I get in God.

Kyle: Something that I took away from this trip was that just seeing how … if you spend obedient time listening to the Lord and what he has for you, that could be the difference in somebody’s eternity.

Kamri: One thing this trip to Honduras taught me is that I need to be more thankful for the things that I have. When we were there, they were so excited for us to come and just to meet these basic needs that they have. Every time we were there in the village and they found out that we were taking people’s blood sugar or blood pressure or anything simple like that, they were so excited that people were there. One lady told us that was the first time in her whole life that anyone was there in their village. And so I think that we take for granted the things that we have. I also noticed that even though they have so little, they are so joyful. Overall most of them are so happy. We had a day where we were able to help with the children’s ministry. Even though the kids had barely anything, they had one outfit to wear for the whole week, they were so happy and joyful and sang praises to God. I think that it really just helped me see that I am fortunate to be living here and I have more than enough and I should be grateful for that.

Sam: One of the things that really changed my perspective was the way God provided for me to go on this trip. Right after I signed up to go on this mission trip, I was in a really bad car wreck and totaled my car and had a lot of bills come in. As the bills came in, I can’t pay for this and also go on this mission trip. But I wrote to some people I knew from my church, and they just started sending me money in the mail. I was getting money from people I hadn’t even met. They just knew someone I knew. God supplied more than I needed to go. Going forward with that, it’s caused me to see that whenever you are doing God’s will, he will always provide for you. He will always make a way even if it doesn’t seem like there is a way there.

Jonathan: What I’m taking back from this trip is that nothing else matters except Christ. It doesn’t matter culture. It doesn’t matter age. It doesn’t matter race. It doesn’t matter ethnicity, political preferences … it doesn’t matter. What matters is that there is a God who has paved the way for salvation. That’s what matters. I’m not an advocate going over there to force western ideas. I’m not an advocate for a certain political group. I’m an advocate for Christ because that is the only thing that matters.

Bailey: My perspective changed. I was in a place where it’s not so beautiful and there is a lot of hurt and you see that. But you won’t see that in pictures or in the commercials. My perspective 100 percent changed because I had always envisioned it as a great vacation spot, but now it’s a place that really needs God, needs the Lord. So, my perspective really changed.


You have all of these students here. We are talking about missions. We are talking about going, answering God’s call. Some of them may be sitting here saying I would like to go, but I don’t have the money. I don’t know if God’s calling me. Or this is not for me. What is one thing you would say to your audience today about missions and serving Christ?

Kyle: I’m just going to be real honest. Last year, I was sitting right over there trying to stay awake during this chapel. Thinking this is pointless, why are we listening to this, there is no point. I’m not going on a mission trip. There is no point for me sitting in this chapel trying to stay awake. But if I’m going to say one thing to you it’s that God can use you and he will. God is going to be working until you are drawing your last breath. You’re never done working for the kingdom. Even if you think it is not for you, I’ve got a rude awakening for you. God’s coming for you.

Jonathan: If there is one thing I want y’all to know, it’s that it doesn’t matter whether you are in central Asia, or Peru, or Hungary, or Washington, it doesn’t matter. We went to all these places, but we go here to Wayland Baptist University for one reason and that is there is great hope. Our sins have separated us from God, but yet, there is a God who is faithful and just. Because he is faithful and just he sent his son to forgive us of sins. I spent the summer in a place where everything they are trying to do is to earn their way back to God. But glory be to God that He has grace and it is manifested through Christ and His victory that was won on the cross. If there is one thing I want for you, it’s that I want you to know the Lord. In the Lord there is life, there is life to the fullest.

Kamri: One thing I would say is don’t be afraid to say yes. I think that a lot of the time, people are afraid to go to different countries because they haven’t done it. What if I’m not good at this? Or I don’t have enough money. I really, truly believe that even if you have an inkling of calling to go, just say yes. If you obey God’s calling in your life, He will provide.

Lucy: Going on missions isn’t about a one-time experience. It is an everyday life thing. We often times do it for the experience or we want to go to another country and that’s all good, it’s not bad. But the focus is Jesus. The focus is taking the gospel to people who don’t know God. And that is something that God really taught me. There is a bigger purpose than just going out of the country and experiencing this awesome thing. It’s for the cause of Christ, and I think we can all start to do that on campus and around wherever you go. It doesn’t have to be a different country or a different city, it can be right where you are sitting. God placed you where you are for a reason and you can use that as a platform to reach lives. Missions is a great thing being out of country and in another culture, but it’s not just an out-of-country thing, it’s something you can do in your everyday life.