Summer Mission Teams Minister Around the Globe

by   |   kallweil@bju.edu   |  
map of the world with pins in various mission team locations

Every summer, several BJU mission teams represent the University around the globe. This year, the teams will be serving on four of the seven continents. The University is sending a total of 12 teams—nine through the Center for Global Opportunities, two through Medical Missions Outreach and one BJU Bruins team.

There are multiple opportunities for BJU students to get involved on campus and around the world.

Africa Mission Team

Led by: Dr. Dan Olinger

The African mission team will be tutoring students at Tumaini Children’s Home. Leader Dr. Dan Olinger says, “It’s mostly about forming relationships with the children and discipling as we can.” He hopes university students will gain “a realistic picture of life on the field and form relationships with experienced missionaries.” BJU sent a mission team to Africa for about 20 years under Linda and Carl Abrams. Olinger took over in 2007 and has led a team to Tanzania six times.

Antigua Mission Team

Led by: Jonny Gamet

“God can use you no matter your skill set if you are willing to be used.” This is the lesson Jonny Gamet hopes the members of the Antigua mission team take away from their trip. The variety of activity involved helps toward that end. From helping with programming, archiving and editing at Caribbean Radio Lighthouse to laboring on construction projects to working with children in vacation Bible schools, youth rallies and tutoring in local schools, many different skill sets are used on the trip. Gamet and his wife Kathryn have led the team five times since 2011. He says, “It’s neat to see ‘light bulb’ moments on the trip as team members realize that they can serve God and reach others in unique ways.”

Cuba Mission Team

Led by: Mark Vowels

A primary focus of the Cuba mission team is “developing relationships with Cuban young people,” according to leader Mark Vowels—a focus carried out through house-to-house evangelism, playing with children in parks, evangelistic church services and special youth and college-age student activities. Because Cuba only recently reopened to foreign missions, this is only the second team Vowels and his wife have been able to lead. In addition to showing the team historic sites such as where Fidel Castro began his infamous revolution, Vowels says he wants the team “to understand what it is like to follow Christ under duress (and to) gain confidence in sharing the Gospel and ministering publicly.”

See Also: Does Cuba Need American Missions?

Kenya Medical Mission Team

Led by: Dr. Amy Hicks

The Kenya mission team is partnering with Medical Missions Outreach to reach people in need of health care with both medical treatment and the Gospel. Medical team members will give patients information and instruction about topics such as high blood pressure, malaria, malnutrition and healthy pregnancies. Other team members use this open door to share the Gospel. BJU leader Dr. Amy Hicks says, “They get to interact very closely with people of an entirely different culture to help them understand their own health and to show them the love of God.” This is the second year Hicks has taken a group of BJU students on a Medical Missions Outreach trip. She believes the trip is valuable to students to gain “real-world experience in patient education and public health interventions … compassion and understanding for vulnerable people and the circumstances that impact their health.” As an added perk, Hicks says this year the team will also be spending its last night in a safari lodge and taking a safari.

Pacific Rim Tentmaking Mission Team

Led by: Dr. Bill Lovegrove

The mission team going to the Pacific Rim is the only tentmaking team that BJU has ever sent. The team earns its own funds by teaching high school computer engineering classes. Leader Dr. Bill Lovegrove says this is more than just a summer job in a foreign country for team members. It’s a “kind of service since we get to know the students quite well and have opportunities to minister to them”—a fact that holds especially true, Lovegrove says, at a school in South Korea for North Korean refugee children. The team will also help with a week of Bible camp in Yap. Lovegrove says he wants his team members “to better understand what (being a tent-making missionary) means and whether it is God’s will for them.” This is the second time Lovegrove and his wife have led a tentmaking team to the Far East.

Romania Medical Mission Team

Led by: Dr. Marc Chetta

Like the Kenya mission team, the Romania mission team is partnering with Medical Missions Outreach. Though in a far different culture, the routine will be the same. Medically trained members will minister to medical needs while other members of the team will share the Gospel. BJU leader Dr. Marc Chetta gives an apt comparison when he says, “We are like the circus.” He goes on to say, “I believe the students’ hearts and minds will be changed forever by seeing the power of the Christlike model of helping people physically and then giving them the Gospel. Many of these students are in pre-health care majors, so this will be life-changing and inspiring.” BJU students will help doctors and nurses care for patients while learning to care for their souls as well as their bodies. This is Chetta’s 27th mission trip and his ninth with Medical Missions Outreach.

Southeast Asia Mission Team

Led by: Jordan Baun and Moses Kim

Started in 2008 by Dr. Kevin Oberlin, the Southeast Asia team will be visiting and serving several missionaries. According to co-leader Moses Kim, “Probably the highlight of our trip is a missionary kids’ camp in Thailand.” Missionary children from several Asian countries will gather in Thailand for a week of summer camp. The mission team members will be the campers’ counselors and will help run the camp. Kim also says one of the main goals of the trip is to learn: about missions and the church around the globe, about how culture shapes Christianity, about different cultures and about their role in God’s mission. The trip is scheduled to begin in Laos, one of the most difficult countries for Christians to live in as it is one of the five remaining Communist countries. The team will also visit Angkor Wat, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

Western U.S. Mission Team

Led by: Jon Daulton

Evangelism, youth work, sports camp, summer camp, church services and ministering to Mormons are on the agenda for the mission team to the western U.S. Leader Jon Daulton hopes these hands-on experiences will teach team members that “life is not to be lived for self but unto the One who loved them and gave Himself for them (2 Cor. 5:14–15).” Daulton and his wife Kim have led a team every other year since 2009, but the mission trip has existed for about 30 years. In addition to seeing the iconic scenery of the West, team members will also visit Mormon Temple Square in Salt Lake City and a ministry in a polygamist community in southern Utah. And because they’ll be in the West on July 4, the team will celebrate western style, complete with fireworks, parades and rodeos.

City Mission Teams

Led by: Kyle Calhoun (Seattle), Erin Martin (Utah), Mengei Termeteet (New York City)

BJU is also sending three teams to metropolitan areas within the United States. These teams—to New York City, Seattle and Utah—will partner with local churches in door-to-door evangelism, vacation Bible schools and other outreaches to their communities.

The team to Seattle specifically will be assisting Pastor Jon Beazley at CityLight Church. The team’s tasks will include participating in church services, outreach and evangelism in the community, and hosting community events. Leader Kyle Calhoun also said the team will have the opportunity to visit Pike’s Peak, the Space Needle and the original Starbucks.

Bruins Volleyball Mission Team

Led by Coach Vickie Denny

This summer, the Bruins volleyball team will be going on its first mission trip. The team will be using their sport as a platform to share the Gospel in the country of Costa Rica. They will play national club teams as well as other college teams and present a Gospel message after each game. In addition, the team will share the Gospel through volleyball clinics and spending time in a local orphanage. Coach Vickie Denny is confident this trip is an “opportunity to grow together as a team” and to learn to see the needs of others. She also hopes her team will realize how athletics can be used as a tool to bring people to Christ.

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