Published June 23, 2005
When the woman at the ticket desk asked the college students, "What is your final destination?" They all replied, "We don't know."
Seven Georgia Southern University students, along with campus minister Jerry Johnson, did a ten day, five country mission trip in Europe. Although the team met once a week for two months to practice skits and songs, plan Bible studies, write English lessons, create games and prepare for worship services that would be interpreted into other languages, they didn't know where they were going.
They named the trip "Road Rules" after a popular TV program that gives college students assignments to complete at surprise destinations. Johnson had the trip mapped out, but the students discovered their destinations just before leaving for each new location.
The trip took them to Copenhagen, Denmark where they participated in street evangelism, helped minister to young adult leaders and led an international worship service. Then they traveled to Jever, Germany, where they worked with a German Baptist church planter, taught English and conducted youth ministry at a local Baptist church.
The final destination was Paris, France, where they worked alongside church members in Creteil, just outside Paris. They led two youth services there before returning home.
Students on the trip were: Amanda Davis, Rebekah Faulk, Ellen Eklund, Heidi Hammack, Josh Keel, Benji Shaw, Vincent Mack and Johnson. One of the students, Ellen Eklund, wrote her impressions of the trip. Here are some of her thoughts:
Journal entry on Nicolae
Although it was extremely cold and snowy in Copenhagen, Amanda and Rebekah, two of our talented musicians, sang and played guitar in the middle of a major pedestrian walkway. As they sang, people walked by wondering what we were doing, but never stopping to ask. Then, Nicolae came by.
Nicolae is about 20 years old and carried a guitar himself. He uses his talent to make extra money as a street performer - only it was too cold for him! Naturally, his curiosity was peaked when he saw Amanda and Rebekah playing under those chilly conditions. Jerry Johnson began getting to know Nicolae. The conversation evolved from BSU Road Rules trip to his thoughts and perceptions on Christ and the church. Amanda joined in the conversation, but soon we all began to freeze. We moved the conversation to a nearby coffee shop.
I introduced myself to Nicolae and he began to share his questions and ideas from what he had learned from Dr. Jerry and Amanda. My heart was excited that he was so open to talking about Christ! He said that though he could not comprehend Christ as the Son of God, he truly liked the "community feeling" when he went to church. As Jerry continued to share of God's love and salvation with Nicolae, I could do nothing but pray for openness and understanding in Nicolae - I wanted him to not only know about the Truth, but to receive Christ personally.
After two hours of prayer and intense spiritual conversation, the night came to a close. We prayed with Nicolae and encouraged him to trust Christ with his life. We introduced him to Cinna, a college student and member of the church in Copenhagen. We also gave him the church's contact information and service schedule (I pray he goes.)
Journal entry on Joshua
Most of our team members grew up in a kind of "Christian bubble." On one day, we were sitting in the comfort of our BSU center on the Georgia Southern campus. The next day we were literally a world away, on the streets of Copenhagen, sharing Christ with a drug-dealer while he was snorting cocaine! What shock we were feeling that night! Two fellow teammates, Amanda Davis and Josh Keel, shared the Gospel with the young man, Joshua. Through an intense conversation, they managed to share Christ in a way that he would listen. Each of us prayed for him. At the end of the evening, we exchanged email addresses.
He wrote our campus minister, "Dear Jerry, first I would like to thank you for your prayers. It's the very next evening after we spoke and I'm sober and my thoughts are very clear ... The whole reason I am here is the pursuit of love .. After a year of being in Sweden, I've landed a really great job [drug-dealing] by my standards, but my heart and soul are still in a great deal of torment ... I've been very patient. I've gotten down on my knees to pray ... but disappointment has been a constant and I feel like giving up."
Journal entry on results
We may never know if Nicolae and Joshua prayed to receive Christ or what God has planned for them. We do know that the Gospel was shared and love was poured into their lives - God's Word does not go out and return void!
We went on this mission experience intending to encourage the leaders and members of churches in Europe. Honestly, though, seeing their faith encouraged our faithfulness. Our lives have been changed, challenged and motivated toward greater outreach in our own community and on our campus.
What a joy it was to minister with such a wonderfully talented, loving and caring team. Thank you, Georgia Baptists, for encouraging and supporting BSU and missions.
You and your church may send Cooperative Program gifts to:
Dr. J. Robert White, Executive Director
Georgia Baptist Convention
2930 Flowers Rd., South
Atlanta, GA 30341-5562
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