To those who are seeking adventure, and have a passion for sharing the love of Christ and fellowshipping with people from other cultures and backgrounds, mission trips can be a great opportunity.
For those looking to actually join or be a part of a mission trip, but are unsure of how to go about it, there are multiple avenues by which to get involved.
One way is to be part of a university-sponsored trip. The university’s Baptist Student Ministries (BSM) help students find the most cost-effective and lifestyle-friendly missions. They help students become a part of school-sponsored trips or get involved with Go Now missions that place students all over the country and the world.
“I went on the refugee mission trip in Fort Worth at Camp Broadway and it was such an amazing experience,” said sophomore physical education major Lee Vasquez Jr. “It was my first mission trip and I was so blessed and thankful to start off there.”
Vasquez attended a mission through the university over Christmas break and said that as soon as the team arrived, they could feel God’s spirit upon them.
“As soon as the kids got there, we saw how much God has helped them through their lives and how much they want to become closer to him,” he said. “It made me so happy to see their faces glow and shine. It was an amazing experience and I can’t wait to go on another.”
While students like Vasquez saw God’s hand working in university-sponsored mission trips over Christmas break, others like sophomore Christian studies major Kelly Carlin experienced God’s presence in church-sponsored mission trips.
“I went to India and New Orleans. I loved seeing the different cultures of both places,” Carlin said. “In India, I helped run a Vacation Bible School.”
Although the language barrier prevented Carlin and her team from communicating completely with the children, they connected with them through games and activities. Just a few weeks with the children impacted Carlin’s heart and worldview, she believes, forever.
“[The trip] showed me that there is a lot of Kingdom work that needs to be done in the US,” Carlin said. “I encourage everyone to go [on a mission trip] at least once and see how the other half-lives and to experience the way God moves throughout the world.”
Students who didn’t get the chance to trek through foreign cities and bring the Gospel to unreached peoples over Christmas break can take advantage of the opportunity to be a part of Beach Reach – a spring break mission trip organized by the Baptist Student Ministries.
Every year, a group of UMHB students and faculty travel to South Padre Island to be designated drivers and to fellowship with those who are enjoying the sun and sand.
“It’s draining emotionally. But we are seeing people’s lives changing – slowly , but they are changing.” he said, said Dr. George Loutherback, university chaplain.
During the summer, another big trip being held is the United Kingdom trip, in which Dr. George Loutherback leads and has advocated for, for the past 9 years.
Loutherback also leads an annual mission trip to the United Kingdom each summer. He said that “anybody that has a heart for sharing Jesus,” should consider applying.
Being able to go on trips far out of the country or over long periods of time may not fit everyone’s particular lifestyle. However, there are ways to get involved and be a part of an outreach or giving back to the community in a positive way both through your local church or the BSM.
The BSM offers and encourages students to help with the local food pantry, Helping Hands, which is located here in Belton, and gladly take applications.
More information about local and foreign mission opportunities can be found through the BSM.