Feb 23, 2010

Missions emphasis week

by Christopher Scott, Kelly Marvel

When disaster struck New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, Tyler Burkett was in his living room watching television. He heard the phone ring and on the other line was a friend who challenged him to travel 900 miles to help with the disaster relief effort. It was then that Burkett decided he would get involved.

Burkett’s story is similar to those of many missionaries who came to Liberty University last week to prepare students for the mission field during Missions Emphasis Week.

“We are all commanded to go and share the gospel,” Burkett said at the Missions in Disaster and War- Torn Areas seminar Thursday. “It is just a matter of where and for how long.”

Pioneers is a church planting organization, which sends people of all types and talents to act out the Great Commission. Jessica Rogers, the recruitment coordinator for Pioneers, stressed that students can be used as a part of missions, no matter what their major is.

“We have people that are using family medicine, that are opening coffee shops, that are teaching English, that are working with street kids … all within the context of church planting,” Rogers said.
Rogers spent a short time overseas in Indonesia with the organization. Being overseas gave her a clear picture of what missions is about.

“My goal is ultimately to see missionaries in all 6,000 unreached people groups so that every tribe, tongue and nation can eventually hear the gospel,” Rogers said.

Jen Dominy works closely with college students for Pioneers sending them overseas for their summer internship program called “The Edge.”

“You can think about the future and what you’re doing here in school and how you can use that overseas or being a part of the great commission in some capacity,” Dominy said.

Dominy spent three years in India with Pioneers working with street kids before becoming coordinator for “The Edge. “
“It changed my whole life,” Dominy said.

Both Rogers and Dominy stressed that everyone can be involved in missions, even if they do not go overseas.

“If the Lord doesn’t call you to go overseas — if he calls you to journalism, or to be a lawyer or a mom or a trash man, doing that in the context of saying ‘I’m doing this for the Lord’ and seeking opportunities to use those gifts and those skills in the areas that the Lord places you for his glory,” Rogers said.

“He’s created us the people that we are for a reason, so that we can be used for his glory,” Dominy said.

Burkett shared with students on Thursday what it was like to witness to people in disaster-struck Galveston after Hurricane Ike in 2008.

According to Burkett, people who lost their homes during Hurricane Ike received 5 percent of government funds set aside for disaster reparation as opposed to over 90 percent received by Hurricane Katrina sufferers. Galveston citizens lost the attention of the media 10 days after the hurricane struck because of the national primary elections. For many months after the disaster, the Christian workers were the only people left, according to Burkett.
“There are still 24,000 homes that are affected and unlivable still, at this point, in that part of Texas,” Burkett said. “We are dealing with people that have great need — not just spiritual need, but physical need.”

Students at Liberty who decided to use all their talents for missions, created a group called “The Gathering,” in December. The group, which educates students who are not missions majors about getting involved in missions, met for the first time during Missions Emphasis Week.

“It’s a group of students who are sick and tired of being lukewarm in their own personal relationships with Christ and with missions,” senior Josh Hamby said.

The group’s motto is “Changing the World through Changing Ourselves,” and sums up what Missions Emphasis Week means to both students and missions representatives.

“Missions Emphasis Week provides an opportunity for people to be able to hear about things that are bigger than themselves … and providing the opportunity to be involved in this, even now,” Dominy said.

Contact Christopher Scott at

Contact Kelly Marvel at

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