J-term trips propel students to share gospel

Anna Brewster, Assistant Faith Editor

issue1-faith-jtermphoto-courtesy
From left to right: Hunter (sophomore), Jessica (sophomore), Hannah (sophomore) and Luke (junior) representing OBU while on a GO Trip in North Africa. 

If you have ever wanted to eat a camel burger, hike in the Amazon Rainforest, or stand on a mountain in the middle of a storm, a GO Trip might be just for you. Students are back from J-Term 2017 GO Trips and they have stories to tell.

 

With trips ranging from 10 days to three weeks this past January, 34 students and seven mentors went on mission around the world and country. Trip destinations included Brazil, China, Mexico, North Africa, Panama, Hawaii, and Phoenix.

“I actually went on my first GO Trip to Brazil J-Term of sophomore year,” said a junior, Haylee. (Some names have been altered to protect identities.)

“And then I went last summer to San Francisco, so this [Brazil trip] was my third one. I just really felt God calling me to. I just didn’t feel a peace about not going,” Haylee said.

She also hopes to return to Brazil for future mission work.

OBU’s connections to these countries and states vary, but contacts are most often made through the International Mission Board and OBU Alumni. While on their journeys, GO trippers encountered cultures and religions completely different than their own, including Roman Catholicism, Judaism, Mormonism, Atheism, Islam, Buddhism, and Taoism. Students prayer walked, facilitated Vacation Bible Schools, shared personal stories, and hiked grueling paths through rugged terrain to reach people with the good news.

“We lived life with those people and used that to share the gospel,” a sophomore, Hannah, said.

Hannah and three other students went to North Africa–for the experience of a lifetime.

“It was definitely kind of scary because we just kind of got thrown into a situation with a bunch of people we didn’t know, but it was so cool, because we were in the country working with Africans, not just working with other Americans.”

Hannah was blown away by the kindness of many people in North Africa, she said.

“What blew my mind is that some of these people that don’t even know about Jesus are nicer than some of the Christians I know,” Hannah said.

Hannah said the workers in North Africa stay positive by looking toward the One they worship, even in an environment that is sometimes harsh.

“We don’t measure our success in how many people have come to know Jesus,” the workers said. “We measure our success in being obedient to God and doing what He called us to do.”

When spreading the gospel, storms often come–both literally and figuratively. In Brazil, students watched the rain clouds roll in and literally experienced a storm on top of a mountain.

“You could see it coming and at one point, you could see one half of the sky was pitch black and the other was bright blue. It was unexplainable,” Haylee said. “Creation declares the glory of God.”

GO Trips are a lot of work, with all of the training, sacrificing three weeks of school break, and some tough conditions on the trips, but Hannah said it is all worth it.

 

“It’s gonna sound super cliché, but it will change your life,” Hannah said.

“I grew up as an MK, and it still blew my mind on what it means to share the gospel. It’s renewed my passion to go overseas and spend my life sharing the gospel,” Hannah said.

According to Director of Global Mobilization Dr. Joy Turner, students can already begin their online applications for J-Term 2018. All of the trips mentioned will be repeated in 2018 with a few additional trips to choose from.

*Some names have been altered for the safety and security of the students that went on trips and the people they worked with.

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