ISP/USP TEAMS IMPACTED BY MINISTRY OPPORTUNITIES
ISP/USP teams impacted by ministry opportunities
Riverside (June 15)-In a village in Uganda, 12 California Baptist University volunteers have worked for three weeks among the children at Raining Hope Children's Home. They came to provide Vacation Bible School for the children through music, drama, art and games, but they left with much more.
"It is difficult to put into words what God has been doing," said Camille, a team member. "He is so faithful, blessing us beyond our expectations. The ministry in the village was amazing. It was nothing we did but all the work of the Holy Spirit."
Eydie, a team leader, said the highlight of the trip came as VBS concluded:
"Out of the 102 children present, 38 gave their lives to Christ," she said. "After that moment of decision, the pastor said the children wanted to bless the team with gifts. The children rushed to the back of the room. One child started walking back to the front of the room with a bunch of bananas. At first I thought, ‘Wow! Here they do not have much, yet they are giving us some food.' That is when I turned to see a line of children bringing more food. There were mangos and bananas and other sorts of fruits and vegetables. We were in one of the poorest villages yet, but you should have seen their smiling faces as they gave."
Four of the team members were baptized in the Nile River as their trip concluded.
"It was an amazing experience to declare my commitment to the Lord," one of them said. "This is surely one of my treasures. This place is very dear to my heart, and I have been forever changed by my time here."
The volunteers are among 420 who are serving around the world this summer in 46 International Service Project/United States Project (ISP/USP) teams. Those who have returned seem to agree they have been impacted by the experience.
"What has become a real reality for me this week is seeing that nearly every child or woman I come in contact with does not know Jesus," said Lindsay, who served in South Asia. "What has stuck me is that I am no longer looking at a map where a country is red – meaning unreached. It has become much more personal because I am seeing the faces of those who do not believe and have never heard His name."
Cara, a team leader serving in Finland, expressed the belief that volunteers would never be the same.
"We may not ever be able to fully express to those around us how each one of our lives have been impacted, but we will be coming home as different people," she said. "We have more tools in our toolbox, a different perspective on our faith and ministry, and a broadened worldview. For some of us, our passions have changed and for others our passions have been renewed."
Kristen White, CBU's director of mobilization, said the program is part of the university's commitment to the Great Commission.
"CBU provides extensive ministry and cross-cultural training for students serving in the U.S. and overseas," she said. "Our faculty and staff leaders seek to connect with and invest in students to challenge them to take their next step in engaging the world. We are not just a ‘sending' program; we are a discipleship program with a goal of investing in lives to develop followers of Jesus."
The last group of ISP/USP teams will return in mid-July.