Christmas missionaries bring gifts of gospel, love

THE BELLS — Isolated from the world they know, surrounded by God. That’s a Christmas mission.
Deep inside the Dominican Republic, senior Christian ministries major Jesse Malina said that he was definitely far from home. But this was the place where he and 14 others would proclaim ¡Te Doy la Gloria! – “I give the glory!”
It was his second time in the Dominican Republic, serving with Pine Cove as part of commission camping. It’s a program that allows Pine Cove to partner with churches and existing camps for three years with the intention of helping these camps to become self-sufficient.

Senior Christian studies major Jesse Malina spends time with one of the campers in the Dominican Republic. Courtesy photo.

Senior Christian studies major Jesse Malina spends time with one of the campers in the Dominican Republic. Courtesy photo.

“It’s to show them summer camping,” Malina said.
It’s all so that more children can hear the good news of Jesus Christ – those like Miguel and Oscar.
Their faces beamed as they saw Malina again; they had been at the camp the previous year, and remembered the tall, long-haired, TOMS-wearing man, and the boys yelled, “Jesse!” as they ran to meet him. Language was a barrier the first time he met them, Malina said, but God, and hugs, defy barriers.
“They came up to me and hugged me,” he said. “It’s weird going to another country and seeing the same person again.”
Multimedia and information technology sophomore Justin Minchew had never been to Gonaïves, Haiti. He spent seven days there serving an orphanage with Coreluv International.  It was a child who brought Minchew his favorite memory.
“There was a special needs kid there who loved to dance,” he said. Everyone would crowd around the young man to cheer him on and dance with him, Minchew explained.
“He loved it, and it was inspiring to see everyone showing this kid, who can barely defend himself, love and that he is worth something.”
Baptist Student Ministries Director Shawn Shannon said that student missionaries who serve over the Christmas break are an illustration of God.”
“In a special way, they illustrate that God was and is God-with-us, God-who-comes and God-who-sends,” she said. “By what they do with the gift of their break, they show that they get the gift of God.”
Christmas missions aren’t without sacrifice, though. Shannon said that she is appreciative of the student missionaries and their families for giving of their time as well.

Senior psychology major Katie Sparks uses her musical talents to sing and witness to the people of Jamaica. Courtesy photo.

Senior psychology major Katie Sparks uses her musical talents to sing and witness to the people of Jamaica. Courtesy photo.

“It is generous of them to share their students at this family-oriented time of year.”
Senior psychology major Katie Sparks said, “We are called to go and spread the good news.”
So for her, sacrificing her Christmas break for the second time to serve in Harmons, Jamaica, with Go Now Missions was a no-brainer.
And there were students all over making the sacrifices just like this.
“We had students in Haiti, Ukraine, Guatemala, Philippines, Laredo,” Shannon said.
Sparks said, “I have been all over the globe, but one thing will never change and that is God and his unconditional love for us all.”

Author: Tyler Agnew

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