By Rachael Minard
ROME — Shorter University students Abby Wright and Taylor Barton were thrilled to discover they would be working in the same place this summer through the Georgia Baptist Mission Board’s SendMeNow program.
Friends since Abby arrived at Shorter, the pair will spend two months interning together at a church in Billerica, MA through the summer missions program that gives college students an opportunity to serve God throughout the world.
Barton, a junior biology major, and Wright, a sophomore communication studies major, were first brought together through Alpha Delta Pi, the sorority to which both belong, and grew even closer because of sharing mutual friends.
Leaving the comfort zone
In Billerica, Wright and Barton will work with a church that runs a “four-week long super summer,” which they explained is a long Vacation Bible School experience for children.
When asked how they feel about working with kids, Barton responded, “I have nothing against kids; I am just not a teacher. Teens and adults are more in my comfort zone. God is definitely pushing me out of [my comfort zone].”
Wright, on the other hand, has worked with kids through various mission experiences.
The two friends look forward to what the summer holds for their friendship and personal growth through this mission experience.
“I didn’t believe Taylor when she said she was going to Billerica with me, for like an hour straight. I asked a ton of people if she was telling the truth before I finally believed her,” laughed Wright.
Barton explained that she “went into the mission weekend with an open mind, willing to go anywhere for any length of time.” She simply trusted that God was about to do incredible things through the next summer.
The pair noted they have two very different personalities and, because of that, often balance each other out. “I can always count on Taylor to tell me how it is, and I am extremely grateful for that,” Wright said.
Barton added that she is excited to see how differently their brains see the experiences they have together this summer.
Shorter’s Baptist Collegiate Ministries has sent students on SendMeNow missions programs for years. This summer, in addition to Wright and Barton, the following students will be serving through SendMeNow: Canada – Austin Kibble; Horn of Africa – McCauli Suttles; Africa – McKenna Massingale; Georgia – Cally Glass; France – Rachel Edwards; and Texas – Tatum Ragsdale.
Through SendMeNow, students are trained to do missions nationally and internationally. Each college or university has a set mission goal within their BCM department to sponsor the trips. A large part of the program’s appeal and significance is that the trips are fully funded; the students only need to provide a passport and any necessary shots for overseas missions.
As Shorter’s advocate for SendMeNow, Campus Minister David Roland said he hopes to see more participants in the program. “I love seeing students have mission experiences that change their lives and opens them up to do things they never thought possible” he said.
“My main goal is to have more students participate in hands-on semester missions.”
Roland sees SendMeNow as a discipleship-based program that includes the entire student body. It brings a diverse group of students together. And through the detailed training and selection process, many relationships are formed. He hopes to see more growth through this personal experience and noted that the program as a whole has more students participating this year than ever before.
“Missions is an important part of discipleship, and it may help change their lives and make them better at whatever they do. Hands-on ministry changes and affects their spiritual walk, wherever they go,” he added.
Rachael Minard is a Public Relations Intern at Shorter University.