From Georgia’s Golden Isles to the Horn of Africa, the Georgia Baptist Mission Board is once again ready to demonstrate its role as a missionary sending agency. Collegiate Ministries is in the final stages of sending out 144 students this summer to share the Good News across the state and around the world.
New York. Philippines. Florida. East Asia. Alaska. Puerto Rico. California. The names sound like destinations in a National Geographic magazine, each with its own unique culture and spiritual needs. Wherever the location, students will serve on short-term or full-term summer assignments.
State Missionary Joe Graham, who oversees the Collegiate Ministries office at the Board, said he considers “the SendMeNow process to be some of the finest work we do each year as students ‘step up’ to apply and then ‘step out’ to serve. Lives will be changed this summer among the people they will serve and even among our summer missionaries themselves.”
Earlier this year, students made themselves available to 52 different assignments that will see them serving at a variety of sites, ranging from medical teams in Haiti to ministering to unwed mothers in a Savannah ministry. Others will serve exclusively at night, working among South Asian laborers who work long hours in the day and only have an opportunity to be reached for Christ when the sun goes down.
For Matthew Wacter, his mission field will be in his backyard compared with others who will be traveling thousands of miles. The member of Morningside Baptist Church, a freshman at Columbus State University, will travel from his home near the Alabama border about 250 miles to Georgia’s East Coast at Brunswick.
From May 28 through July 29 Wacter will serve alongside Jess Sanders, another Baptist Campus Ministry summer missionary assigned to Golden Isles Ministries. An outreach of Southeast Baptist Association, the ministry identifies unreached or under-reached persons in the community and creates ministries such as Vacation Bible School or Backyard Bible Clubs. The two summer missionaries will coordinate the work of mission teams who come to serve in the coastal Georgia area.
Wacter says he prayed to discern where God would have him to serve this summer and was pleased with his assignment. He is no stranger to missions, having participated on trips as a youth with his home church. Last summer saw him and a team ministering in a recent church plant in Boston.
Josh Odom will be leaving his Chula roots and traveling 7,778 miles from South Georgia to the Horn of Africa for 11 days. The Lenox Baptist Church member is studying agriculture at the University of Georgia’s Tifton campus. He is a member of the BCM at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton.
This will be the third Send Me Now commitment for the college senior; his sophomore year saw him serving closer to home at Camp Kaleo in Forsyth and, for his junior year, he travelled to East Asia.
“Unfortunately, I will not be able to give my entire summer to missions this year due to being an agricultural major graduate and hoping to be in the job market by July. And being gone too long would also disrupt his job as youth pastor at his church in Lenox.
His assignment will include working with sheep and goats on a farm, trimming hooves and giving vaccinations and putting his agricultural degree to work.
“Summer missions is always an amazing experience regardless of where you serve. Send Me Now always provides a great opportunity to serve the Lord and takes me out of my comfort zone and learn to be more dependent on the Lord,” he says.
“It really stretches my faith and I always return stronger.”
Georgia Tech freshman Hannah Dailey will travel to New York City to serve with Urban Nations Outreach from June2 through August 4.
That is where she and three other summer missionaries will engage unreached South Asian and West African people groups who have never heard of the Gospel. They will use Adult English as a Second Language classes to help them assimilate into American culture while hearing the Good News.
A member of Salem Baptist Church in McDonough, Dailey and members of her church travelled to Guatemala last summer to work in public schools. There the mission team gave presentations on cyber bullying, depression, dangers of social media and how it effects self-esteem.
“We taught students that we find our true identity in Christ and what we read in scripture, not what our peers or people online say about us,” she tells The Index.
Dailey has also been involved in community missions through her church, helping conduct block parties and other outreach events in town.
“Nothing huge or glamorous, just sharing God’s love,” she says.
Odum, the ag major, agrees with the comments of Wacter and Dailey; there is always an adventure waiting through a Send Me Now commitment.
“It’s for everyone. Regardless of how extroverted or introverted you may be, there will be something that will fit your gifts and skills.”
Collegiate Ministries sends out missionaries each summer through its popular Send Me Now outreach ministry. State missionary Clarissa Morrison says students serve around the corner and around the world as they volunteer a week, a month, or their entire summer to sharing Christ with the unchurched.