KINGSTON, ENGLAND — A little over a year ago Truett McConnell University student Quay Cook could not imagine himself being on the mission field. To the Cochran student studying at the North Georgia university in Cleveland, there were just too many hurdles.
Money. Distance. Money.
Yet two months ago he arrived, suitcase in hand, for a semester practicum through the International Mission Board’s “Hands On” option. Through it, college students spend a semester working along career missionaries. Cook is one of four such individuals from around the United States serving side-by-side with missionaries Shane and Lindsay Mikeska and Kurtis and Holly* in the southern outskirts of London.
Cook never gave missions service a second thought until Van Sanders, professor of World Missions at the university, told him about the Hands On option. Then, he says, doors began to open, hurdles were cleared, and he was on his way.
“God has been giving me a heart for missions in Europe and I feel this is exactly what He laid on my heart,” he said during a break from ministry with fellow students from around the world.
“Three years ago God began opening doors for me to participate in short term missions trips, which Truett stresses through its campus programming. Students are expected to participate in some kind of missions service before they graduate. Now I can’t see myself doing anything else.”
Missions exposure leads to seminary degree
Due to that exposure he is seeking a bachelor’s degree in world missions and about to add a masters in theology or missiology from the university’s new seminary program.
“Lots of students like me have learned about missions through Truett and this gave me an opportunity to do on the field what I had learned in the classroom. The more I learn on the field, they more I know this is what I need to do with my life,” he said with an air of confidence.
In Kingston, where the first six Saxon kings were coronated – one who is regarded by historians to be the first king of England – Cook works on campuses to be a Christian witness among peers.
He befriends students from around the world as they pursue their degrees while seeking answers to life’s questions. Cook wants to be there to help them understand the answers from a biblical worldview. He helps lead a weekly Bible study where as many as 40 students, many totally foreign to the gospel, attend.
Walking in a missionary’s shoes
Kurtis, one of his supervisors, appreciates his willingness to give a semester to walk alongside him in missionary shoes.
“People like Quay are very helpful in extending our ministry in ways we cannot. My wife and I have a young family and we can’t be everywhere with the flexibility that Quay has … especially in the early through late evening hours that is common with young people,” he explains.
Shane Mikeska, his other supervisor, agrees.
“Quay is a great asset to Lindsay’s and my ministry. His age and personality allow doors to open to him that are closed to us older adults. He is more readily received on campus and his personality endears people to him. And with children, we have other commitments that don’t allow us to be out in the evenings as much as we would like to be.
“He is a very good evangelist and that makes him an important part of our team. I’m grateful his professor talked to him about the Hands On program and that he took advantage of it. Our ministry is stronger because he is walking alongside of us here in London.”
* Last name withheld for security reasons.