BSU students connect with summer missions
July 5 2002 by Derek Hodges , BR Intern

BSU students connect with summer missions | Friday, July 5, 2002

Friday, July 5, 2002

BSU students connect with summer missions

By Derek Hodges BR Intern

An important tradition in the Baptist Student Union (BSU) network across North Carolina is the funding of summer missionaries by the BSU.

This summer BSU is sponsoring the missions ventures of over 35 students. Students funded by BSU must be students currently enrolled in or having just graduated from a North Carolina college. Students selected for these positions are also active in their school's BSU.

Students who receive funding go through an application and interview process early in the spring semester before they plan to do their work. Students can receive up to $1,200 for a full 10 weeks of work that can take them to places like Honduras, Cuba and Romania.

Lauren Raimer is a BSU summer missionary serving in Romania. She has been working at the House of Hope, an orphanage for girls in the village of Cimpia Turzii. The girls in the House of Hope lived in orphanages until they were 13, at which time the government programs end. House of Hope provides a place to live for those girls who have nowhere else to go.

In a recent e-mail to BSU officials Lauren wrote, "My first few weeks ... have been wonderful. I have really connected with the girls so far."

She reported that she had been very busy, "helping with the supply shipments, a ladies conference in Dej for 300 local women, a weekly evangelical Bible study, and more."

Lauren said she had her reservations prior to arriving in Romania. "I wasn't sure what I was getting into before I got here, but now I know that this is right where God wanted me to be this summer... . It is such an amazing feeling to be in the center of God's will. There is much to do here, and I am loving it."

Unfortunately, Lauren and the people she works with have had to work even harder than usual lately. The government of Romania has been holding their humanitarian supplies until they pay a new 50 percent tax on all imports. Despite the tests, Lauren still relies on her faith to help her continue the work she is doing. "I know that God's will and his timing are perfect, but this country sure makes it difficult to help people," she said

Students don't have to leave the country, or even the state, to find places to serve. Six summer missionaries are serving in North Carolina. One of them, Western Carolina University student Melissa Wilson, is working at the Baptist Children's Homes (BCH) in Thomasville.

"Everything is going extremely well here," Melissa said.

Melissa is working with the children of BCH on a daily basis, visiting a different cottage each day. "I spend all day with them," Melissa said of the children. During that time she said she and the children have begun developing a special bond. "The children are starting to accept me and interact," she said. She said that a few of the children have, "even started to confide in me."

Like the other summer missionaries, Melissa said that she believes she is where she needs to be. "So far I am really enjoying my summer and I truly feel that I am where God would have me," she said.

In addition to working in the state, other summer missionaries are working on projects sponsored by the Baptist State Convention in places like Alaska and New York.

UNC-Charlotte student Greg Matthews is working with Pastor Tom Hoffman and Paul Jones at Fairview Loop Baptist Church in Wasilla, Alaska. "Things are great," Greg reports. "We just finished our first big project here - TNT Week (Truth 'N Teens). It's our big youth week where we go out into the community with the youth doing all sorts of fun events... ."

In addition to the summer missionaries, BSU also funds Youth Corps workers, students who are sent to serve as youth ministers in various N.C. churches. There are 22 students participating in the Youth Corps program this summer, serving churches which, otherwise, would have no youth minister.

Youth Corps workers receive $1,700 to help them through the summer. Since the churches they work for cannot afford to pay someone to serve as youth minister, the money provided by BSU is all the money many Youth Corps workers will receive for their summer.

BSU also sponsors students who are active as bi-vocational missionaries. Bi-vocational missionaries are students who want to be involved in summer missions but cannot devote 10 weeks full-time to the work. They are given a small stipend from BSU to do their work.

This year five members of a band from Eastern Carolina University and Ben Tallcott, a Mars Hill College student serving at Providence Church in Hendersonville, are being funded under this program.

Ben said that, since Providence is a new congregation, his duties have been mainly centered on helping to establish the church. "A large part of my responsibilities is helping with getting the church structured. I am helping with the organizing of the church by creating youth programs and activities to generate a youth group," he said.

He also said that he has been asked to fill other organizational duties, such as helping to recruit people for the church's youth group, leading Wednesday night services, teaching Sunday School and leading the worship service at a local retirement home and helping to begin a choir.

"I love my job so much! It is honestly the best thing I've ever done. The people are terrific and I am learning a great deal," Ben said.

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7/5/2002 12:00:00 AM by Derek Hodges , BR Intern | with 0 comments
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