“One summer on mission will forever change the trajectory of your life and the lives of those you serve.”
If you spend some time talking to Lauren, that is a phrase you’ll likely hear. Lauren’s past two summers serving as a student missionary have given her a unique perspective on the importance of missions and how college students can be obedient to the Great Commission between academic terms.
Lauren studies communications at Troy University and serves as the Missions Chair for Troy’s Baptist Campus Ministries (BCM).
She said this role allows her to coordinate, fundraise and promote mission trips of various lengths and contexts.
From week-long disaster relief to long-term summer trips, Lauren said she helps her peers realize that they can serve in a variety of locales.
“We’re all called to go somewhere,” she said. “I just help them figure out where.”
As for Lauren, she has served both internationally and domestically. She spent the summer of 2017 in south Asia with the International Mission Board’s Face 2 Face program, where she taught English and hosted Bible studies.
This past summer, she served in in Ashland, Kentucky, with the GenSend Summer program of North American Mission Board that NAMB describes as “one of the most exciting, intense and unique student missionary experiences in North America.”
In Ashland, she worked with NAMB’s Appalachia Ministry Center, partnering with local churches and ministries to serve and share the Gospel in the relatively-impoverished region.
Lauren said both experiences, while drastically different, taught her the importance of a genuine relationship with Christ. She worked to emphasize the reality of a relationship with Christ (rather than Christianity simply as a religion) with those to whom she witnessed.
“You just see this light go on when someone reads Scripture for the first time,” she said. “His Word is alive and active, and He always opens up opportunities to share it.”
Lauren said her experiences on these trips inspired her to be more intentional in sharing the Gospel with those on her campus at Troy as well as encouraging her friends to do the same. She said that being comfortable sharing with those in your day-to-day community allows you to be an effective witness on a mission trip in an unfamiliar area.
She added that while living on mission daily is important, all college students should strongly consider a summer missions opportunity.
“In the big scheme of life, three months or a summer isn’t really that much time,” Lauren said. “But those conversations you have, the people you meet, and the transformations you see in your heart and the hearts of those around you … it’s an irreplaceable experience every college student desperately needs.”
For more information on summer missions opportunities, visit https://onemissionstudents.org/go.
Name changed for security reasons.