College students involved with Baptist Collegiate Ministry (BCM) ministries across Arkansas spent their spring break serving others and sharing about Jesus in various contexts across the country.
Eighty-seven students from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, University of Central Arkansas (UCA), University of Arkansas at Fort Smith (UAFS), University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR), and University of Arkansas at Monticello (UAM) participated in Beach Reach in Panama City, Florida. Throughout the week students had 270 spiritual conversations with students vacationing at the beach, they prayed with 230 students, and 12 students trusted Christ for salvation. “I got to hear 23 BCM students share the gospel with other college students over their spring break. There were 12 students who made the decision to trust Jesus because of their witness,” said Ryan Scantling, BCM Campus Minister at the University of Arkansas.
In addition to the four groups from Arkansas, there were groups from other states who participated. A total of 1,117 gospel conversations were reported with an additional 15 decisions to trust Jesus for a total of 27 salvations.
Christian students on the trip were able to grow in the boldness of their faith. UALR BCM Campus Minister Adam Venters told the story of Ugo, a Nigerian student at UALR.
“On the way to Florida, Ugo was really scared to come on the trip because of his English. However, he initiated a gospel conversation with Connor, a frat guy from Clemson. Connor’s car had been towed by the nightclub, so we gave him a ride to the tow company. At the end of our 15-minute bus ride Connor was in tears. He was the one of the group that was the responsible one. He was doing his best to make sure the guys who he came with all were taken care of. All of that was essentially a facade of his own spiritual emptiness. After the group got off the bus Ugo asked Connor if he would like to pray and trust Christ to be his Savior—and he did!” Venters said.
Nineteen students from Arkansas Tech University and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff spent the week in Kansas City, Missouri. Students worked with refugees by partnering with organizations, ethnic churches, and missionaries. All these groups are intentionally living in the midst of refugees for the purpose of seeing a multiplying church started among refugees.
Twenty-one students from the Arkansas State University BCM and Williams Baptist University spent the week helping churches and college students in New York City. They were able to serve local neighborhoods and college campuses.
“A lot of people think New York is the flashing lights and Times Square and the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building. But once you look past those things you realize that is maybe 1% of what New York City is. It’s a really, really lost city. You just get kind of slapped in the face with how broken the city really is and how much they need the gospel. Once we got past the surface level New York City we were able to see the brokenness and see how much people needed the gospel and that’s when we really took off with serving and sharing our faith,” ASU Senior Shelby Blankenship said.
Thirteen Henderson State University (HSU) BCM students spent their week helping Living Hope Church in Columbus, Ohio. Students were able to visit a mosque and learn the differences between the Muslim and Christian faiths, deliver furniture to refugees, and work with several local mission agencies. Two students gave their lives to Christ when BCM students surveyed Ohio State students about their spiritual beliefs.
“Leading up to the trip, I was really excited because this was my first opportunity to go on a mission trip. Coming from a small town, it was a shock to be surrounded by so many people from different cultures. An experience I will never forget is when we visited Ohio State University and asked people to take part in a spiritual survey. I never knew how something as small as starting a conversation and asking a few questions could lead to something as big as a person accepting Christ. It was truly amazing how God was using me to make a difference in an area with so few Christians. I can’t wait to continue serving in missions and sharing the gospel,” said Faith, a freshman at HSU.
Thirteen students from Southern Arkansas University spent the week learning and ministering in Gallup, New Mexico. They led worship in three churches, held a youth rally, and helped with a construction project at one of the churches.
“It was definitely a cultural experience. Ninety percent of the Navajo are unengaged with the gospel – mostly stemming back to the brutality of the white man under the guise of the church,” Campus Minister Mike Sandusky said.
Baptist Collegiate Ministries across Arkansas are planning to partner with churches in South Florida to help reach local college campuses on spring break in 2023.