Baptist Campus Ministries : A Place for You!
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University of North Alabama

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Oct. 15, 2014

Missions Moment:

This summer was full of firsts for me; my first time flying, first time out of the country, and my first time serving on summer missions. I was given the opportunity to serve in Mexico, North Carolina, and Zimbabwe, and through these trips the Lord taught me many lessons.

I left for Ensenada, Mexico at the beginning of June and the goal of the trip was to help build houses for families in need. We spent all week serving alongside our family, getting to know them and building relationships while building their soon-to-be home.  It was such a humbling experience seeing this family who literally had nothing, but were still so happy and faithful to the Lord. 

We also had the opportunity to help the church we were working with serve lunch to the local children after school. It was such a blessing to get to spend time serving those children and show them the love of Christ. Even though we weren’t able to speak much because of language barriers, God was able to overcome this through the love that was shared. The smallest things that we take for granted meant so much to them; just watching the way they played with bubbles pierced my heart.

Another big moment that stuck out to me was Wednesday night service at the church. We got to worship alongside our brothers and sisters in Christ that night without air conditioning, cushioned pews, or projector screens. The songs they sang were not out of hymnals, but were known completely by heart. I just remember standing there with my eyes closed, listening as my brothers and sisters in Christ worshipped the Lord in a completely different language around me. It was in that moment that the Lord showed me that it doesn’t matter where we are from, but that we are all family in Christ.

The next opportunity I had was at the end of June when I got the chance to attend MFUGE with Woodmont Baptist Church (Florence, Ala.) at Ridgecrest, NC. The leaders went out and served alongside the youth throughout the week. I was paired with Parks and Recreation team. Basically we went to a local recreation center each day and hung out with the kids there. We could not take pictures, since some of these children were in child protective services, nor could we openly share our faith with them as it was against the law. Basically, they had to directly ask us before we could say anything about our faith, but the Lord once again broke down barriers and allowed intentional conversations to happen. It was so cool to serve alongside these up-and-coming youth and seeing the Lord work through their lives to share with these children.

My next opportunity was at the end of July to help with a local missions camp that Crossroads Baptist Church (Elgion, Ala. was holding. I received word that they needed people to help chaperone, and I offered to help. Through the next three days I grew close to several of the others serving there, two of which were going to Zimbabwe at the end of August. They suggested I go with them and I thought that it would be an awesome opportunity, but financially I was not at a place where I could afford it. I prayed about it and decided that if it was something the Lord wanted me to do. It was something that He would provide the resources for me to go; it was something that would have to be completely of the Lord. The Lord proved His faithfulness and provided more than I needed in less than three weeks timing.

The fact that I was in Africa did not set in until a couple of days after we had arrived. The first couple of days were full of travelling and settling in, and even though we were in Africa we had not seen the Africa that you see in pictures and commercials. It was not until we went out into the villages that reality truly set in for me.

We see the pictures, we hear the stories, but until you stand before it and truly experience it, it doesn’t even compare. We were helping build toilets at a church plant in a local village; because literally all they had up to this point had been holes in the ground for excretion. These toilets were the only facilities around for miles, and people gathered from miles around just to celebrate this.

Can you imagine what life would be like if we celebrated something as simple as toilets? So many times in life we take things for granted, not realizing how good we have it or how blessed we are. We also had the opportunity to visit the city dump while we were there. People live in the midst of this dump, with huts made from the scraps they find. We attended service there Sunday afternoon, and they brought out their finest things just to accommodate us. They gave us a bench made of cans and wire with a blanket to lie across it. It was all they had and they allowed us to use it while they sat on the ground. We worshipped with them and embraced the culture around us as they sang in their native tongue and danced around; they were so happy and free as they worshipped the Lord in this way.

One of the most humbling moments while I was there was the fact that as we worshipped, one lady literally fell on her hands and knees before the Lord into the dirt and rocks below. How often do we hesitate to fall before the altar?

One of the biggest things I have struggled with since being back is why I was blessed to grow up so privileged while these people have nothing. I believe that the Lord has blessed me so much so that I can go into situations like this and shine His light to these people. The Lord has taught me so many lessons through this summer, and looking back I can see the Lord’s hand preparing the way for me in all of these opportunities. The Lord has taught me how important it is to trust in Him because He is the Great Provider who can break down all barriers and every chain that keeps us from walking freely and openly with Him. I am so thankful to have a Father who has allowed me to serve Him in such a way and to see Him shining through all of the beautiful faces I saw and met during my adventures. He is always faithful, and it is amazing how we go to bless others and yet how much more blessed it seems we return. This summer was the best summer of my life, and it was because I allowed the Lord to use me however He saw fit. I challenge you to serve, however, whenever, wherever, and be open to the Lord using you, whatever that may mean. It may be scary, it may be uncomfortable, it may be difficult, but I promise you it is the best thing that could ever happen to you.

 

Brittany Harris

 

Brittany Harris

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Oct. 1, 2014

Mission Moment:

This summer I spent my time in Louisville, Kentucky with an organization called Scarlet Hope. Scarlet Hope’s mission is to carry the gospel and the message of hope to various people who are caught up in the sex industry.

The staff has been in 19 of the 25 strip clubs in Louisville. Every Thursday evening, the staff takes food to the precious women and men they meet in the clubs. I was not old enough to enter into the clubs, but I did get to work alongside the children of the ladies’ through a Scarlet Hope program called “Hope For Kids”. In this I was able to join other volunteers by showing children ages baby to nine years old the love of Jesus. 

Even though I did not get to “directly” work with the ladies who are actually in the clubs, prostituting, or escorting, I did learn greatly from them and from the stories I did get a chance to hear at special times throughout the summer. At the beginning of the summer I had the privilege of attending a weekend getaway for the ladies. During this retreat, I saw a side of the sex industry that made me realize a valuable lesson. 

At this retreat, women of all different backgrounds gathered in the name of Jesus. Many opened up to the other leaders and myself about their life and what all has gone on and is going on currently. Their vulnerability was and still is intoxicating. You can clearly see that they want completely out of this bondage, and they do have a way out! In desperate cries to the Father, we joined together in a time of worship through song. One of the songs sung was “Hallelujah All I Have Is Christ”. A verse, sung in unison by ex- prostitutes, current businesswomen, future social workers and teachers, follows: 

“Now, Lord, I would be yours alone

And live so all might see

The strength to follow Your commands

Could never come from me

Oh, Father, use my ransomed life

In any way You choose

And let my song forever be

My only boast is You.”

 

What I was taught through that peaceful moment of resting in Christ’s righteousness, Christ’s finished work on the cross and Christ’s love, was that my only boast can be in Him and Him alone. Taking that concept further, God can redeem and use ANYONE. Isn’t that beautiful?!

Before I felt called to this “people group” I was faced with the bitter thought that these women had done this to themselves. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably facing that thought too. Either about this specific group of people or another group of people or a person you may know. The Lord so kindly reminded me (and is reminding me still) that we are all chasing after something to fill us up. Whether that is food, sex, drugs, money, alcohol, pornography, whatever it may be- we’re all using these band-aids to cover wounds that require deeper care. While my sin may be lust of a different kind than these ladies’, I found myself sitting right there with them in a position of needing to be healed. As God was showing me this truth, He was also reminding me that He promises to step directly into our brokenness so that we may walk in freedom. 

My prayer is that we don’t focus on changing ourselves or other people. My prayer is that we rest in and boast only in the Lord and the redeeming power He so graciously extends to us. As the founder of Scarlet Hope so beautifully puts it, “Our goal isn’t to shut the strip clubs down, but rather it is to see them and the people in them redeemed.” Once we’ve been redeemed, everything changes, and from a heart of true transformation flows obedience to the Lord.  

I am still learning and growing. I divulge what the Lord has taught me in hopes that you see that the Lord can still use you. He makes beauty from ashes, and no one is too far gone from His reach. No matter what you’ve done or where you’ve been, there’s grace for you still. I hope this encourages you in your individual walk as well as when you share with others about God’s love. 

“… neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” - Romans 8:38-39

 

Brooke Chamblee

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Sep. 24, 2014

Mission Moment:

Hello I am Becca Stackhouse.

This summer was the summer between graduating from my undergraduate work and moving into my graduate work. I had the opportunity to go on two mission trips this summer. I went to China and Mexico.  My little sister was able to go with me on both trips and God provided the opportunity for us to bond over a month of traveling in foreign countries together. Those times will never be replaced. In those times God was able to grow us closer.

Becca on the Great Wall of China

China opened doors for conversation with some awesome new friends and God has opened doors to meeting new friends. Mexico opened my eyes with reminders that I have a family who functions together, that I have been able to achieve a good education, and I have been able to see some good friends. God provided doors for me this summer that have allowed me to grow deeper in Him.

My faith has been strong since I began following Christ when I was six years old and was baptized. I have been able to have an understanding of His power and glory. He continues to make me stronger with each step of growing up and each step of branching out while getting closer to supporting myself. This summer God showed me that if you stop and enjoy the moments and blessings that you will then be able to see the vast amount that God shows up in everything.

God also showed me in a mini road trip that I took with my grandmothers. He showed me that I need to stop and listen to their stories because God can show me little tidbits of wisdom in what they have to say.

It is important that we appreciate the moments and times that God provides even in the middle of a rough storm, God is teaching us through every step.