Missionaries who are serving all over the world converged on campus Oct. 19-23 during Missions Emphasis Week. The week included events and seminars whose purpose was to connect missionaries and students.
One of these seminars was called “Latte for the Lord” and was led by Susan and Kelly Curry. In 1996, the Currys created a coffee shop called An Tobar Nua in Galway, Ireland.
They were nicknamed ‘The Jesus people’ by the locals and have worked hard to create relations with the people of Galway.
“They didn’t trust us for a long time… they thought we were a cult. They thought we were going to pull them away from the Catholic Church,” Kelly Curry had said, “In the beginning it was so slow and we played monopoly in the afternoon because no one was there.”
Kelly told a story of how a woman had come to them with her husband who was suffering from depression. The couple had taken a three-hour bus ride to get to the coffee shop, where they were prayed over by the staff for at least an hour. After three weeks Kelly called to check up on the man and found out that after 11 years his depression broke on the bus ride home.
Junior Elementary Education major Beth Ann Earley was particularly moved by the Curry’s story and said she knows mission work is in her future.
“I personally feel called to missions. I have always found other cultures interesting and there are so many human rights needs around the world,” Early said. “People don’t have the things that we have and we can do something about it.”
The missionaries were also invited to speak to classes throughout the week. A young missionary spoke to Sara Billingsley’s literature class, and the junior Christian studies major was inspired by what he said.
“[The missionary] graduated from UMHB and he came and talked about his Journeyman term. He served in Nepal and worked on sharing the gospel to unreached people groups,” Billingsley said, “It was encouraging to meet someone who graduated from UMHB who decided to commit to mission work. It was nice to get some advice on that kind of stuff.”
Baptist Student Ministry Director Shawn Shannon said MEW raises awareness about the need, opportunity, purposefulness, and joy of missions.
“We pray for missionaries to be in transforming conversations that help others connect their personal vocations,” she said. “We seek opportunities for missionaries to engage in relationships with students, staff, faculty, and local churches.”
Some of the events on campus were the glow run, girls/boys night out, coffee house, the world market, and the prayer wall. Prayer stations were also set up around Bawcom and in the Library.
“My favorite event was the coffee house. God has taught me so much this week about what He has for me in missions. It is still a mystery, as always, but God has opened my eyes to many opportunities,” freshman Christian Studies major Ashley Frank said.
And even though some of the week’s events were canceled because of bad weather, missionaries and students were still able to come together and share their ways of spreading the gospel.