Last week, PCC students were encouraged to deepen their passion for sharing the gospel through Campus Church’s biennial Missions Conference.
Leading up to the conference, the pastoral staff asked for video submissions made voluntarily to portray this year’s theme “For the Cause.” While there were many submissions, the video made by Jenneth Dyck, a graduate assistant at PCC, was chosen to open the conference. The video clearly depicted why sharing the Good News matters—to restore hope to those without.
After the video, the Chamber Choir sang about the Christian’s cause for service. The words of the song seemed to echo throughout the Crowne Centre:
“Let it be my life’s refrain:
To live is Christ, to die is gain;
Deny myself, take up my cross
And follow the Son.”
“I would explain Missions Conference as a time of encouragement,” said Liz Zarrazola (So., CO). “It is a time that while we are still in school, we can get the preaching of God’s Word, an encouragement to go out into our own mission field, and we become more aware of what happens in the lives of missionaries. I have loved hearing how the Lord has used the missionaries in the field.”
This year’s keynote speakers were Dr. Steven Maldoff (’95), Southeast Asia Director at Baptist International Missions, Inc. (BIMI) and Rev. Bob Mach (’86, M.A. ’15), who has been a missionary with his family in the Ivory Coast for 25 years. Maldoff encouraged listeners to remain sensitive to God’s calling and to find ways to serve regardless of their vocation, while Mach reminded them about the reality of God’s grace and how a united church best serves communities, locally and internationally.
According to Jason Young, the church ministries pastor at Campus Church, the goal of Missions Conference is to promote and encourage missions and missionaries. He said, “As the Church, we have the shared purpose of world evangelism—the Great Commission. We’ve also been given the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit—the resource to accomplish our purpose. It’s for this reason, our 2019 Missions Conference challenged us to commit ourselves to this purpose and answer the question, ‘Is there not a cause?’”
After each service, missionaries and their families presented their ministries at displays in the Crowne Centre Atrium, ready to share needs and blessings with students. Many students stopped to introduce themselves or to greet missionaries they already knew. After the conference’s missions-focused chapel services, students took time to further visit with missionaries in the Commons Florida Room.
Friday night, the Overcomers adult Bible study class, which is taught by Coach Mark Goetsch, hosted the Missionary Kids’ Dinner at the St. John Building. There, students enjoyed spending time with the missionaries, some of whom were long-time friends or even family members.
Anderson, a graduate student who grew up in Peru, went to the Missionary Kids’ Dinner as an undergraduate. She said, “I really enjoyed it because I was able to connect with a lot of different missionary kids. I don’t think I had realized how many of them went to PCC until that dinner! We each had a chance to stand up and talk about our experiences or about where we were from.”
On Sunday, the final day of the conference, students from 46 countries bore their nation’s flag to the front of the Crowne Centre as part of the Parade of Nations. Some students wore sashes or international dress in honor of their home country. During the parade, the Rejoice Choir sang “Song for the Nations” from the loge sections of the main floor.
“My favorite part of Missions Conference was probably the flag ceremony and just meeting all the missionaries,” said Laurena Baker (OK), a junior studying pre-medicine. “The flag ceremony reminded me that although we are all diverse, we are one Church called for the purpose of making God known.”
During the concluding service, Campus Church pastor Jeff Redlin recalled how getting involved with missions had affected his perspective of missionaries’ lives. “The first international missions trip I took, we went to Togo, West Africa. We were there for a couple of weeks, and when I left Togo, honestly I wept like I had never wept before, because I was leaving the place that, in two weeks, I saw the Lord using regular everyday people,” he said. “It doesn’t matter the age or stage of life. God uses people that are simply willing and submissive.”
Missions Conference’s effects will be felt in the weeks ahead, even after the conference has ended. “Hearing the missionaries’ updates about the work of the Lord has made me aware that there are still many missionaries that need our support, not just financially, but also in prayer,” said Liz Zarrazola. “They have made me want to refocus on my own mission field back home.”