Feb 27, 2007

Missions Emphasis Week “ignites hearts”

by Fernanda Rezende, News Reporter
Feb. 18 to 23, three words echoed all across the Liberty campus – “Risk It All,” the theme of Mission’s Emphasis Week. The burden to carry the Great Commission ignited many hearts, and students were presented with numerous opportunities to serve overseas. From captivity by tribal groups in Colombia to government arrest in Southeast Asia, missionaries shared their experiences on the mission field and answered students’ questions.

“We have this week for the same reason that cameras have a focusing lens.  Missions week is a focusing time to bring clarity to our shared call to make disciples of all nations,” said Campus Pastor Johnnie Moore. “I have a hunch that out of this week God will spark a missions' fire in hundreds of hearts — that's my deepest desire.”

Missions Emphasis Week kicked off on Sunday morning, Feb. 18, with Dr. Ergun Caner. At the TRBC night service, Dr. Don Fanning, chairman of the Cross-Cultural Studies Department and the director of the Center for Global Ministries, challenged students to take the risk of committing to God's call.
In Monday’s convocation, international students shook the Vines Center with the beat of Hispanic songs. Students from every nation represented at Liberty carried their flags dressed in traditional clothes. Following their performance, missionary Roy Sloan talked about his imprisonment in Southeast Asia. At the end of his message, he made it clear to the audience that, for the Christian, the greatest risk is to miss the will of God.

Throughout the week, several conferences and seminars were held at Pate Chapel and the missions classroom in the Light Ministries office in Dorm 17. According to Nathan Smith, administrative assistant to Fanning in the Center for Global Ministries, there were around 40 missionary organizations on campus. “This was the largest Missions Emphasis Week we’ve ever had,” he said.
After the performance by Children of the World at Wednesday’s convocation, missionary Bruce Olson captivated the crowd with his testimony.At the age of 19, he journeyed to the jungles of Colombia and was captured by the Montilones, a primitive Indian tribe. Living among the Montilones for years, he translated the Bible into three languages and led many to Christ. “And the monkeys would laugh at me,” Olson joked, telling about how he tripped on a vine while he was running away from the Montilones.

At campus church, Moore posed questions to a Missionary Panel, which included Fanning, Paul Dye, Olson, Sloan and his wife, and Catherine C. To wrap up the discussions, the missionaries gave advice to the students. “Abide in Christ,” said  Dye. “God is in orchestration in your life wherever you are right now,” said Olson. After the service, students headed to the Schilling Center for Taste of the Nations, a sampling of international foods. Missions Emphasis Week finished strong. On Thursday, Children of the World held a free concert, turning the audience’s attention to the “invisible children” of Uganda. Wendal Kempton spoke at Friday’s convocation, reiterating the importance of Jesus’ command for Christians to “go.”

Many students have been impacted by Mission Emphasis Week. “The first Missions Emphasis Week that I went to was an eye opener…I was presented with the need that’s in the world. In the second one, I answered to the call,” said Aline Silva, a TESL major at Liberty who went to Ecuador with Steve Saint.

Moore also shared the effect of Missions Emphasis Week in his life. “Missions’ week has happened here for decades because missions have been in the DNA of this institution from its inception,” he said. “Missions have become a part of my spiritual DNA because of Liberty.”

Contact Fernanda Rezende at fprezende@liberty.edu.

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