HOPE, Ark. – “I told pastor Ryan that we need to take some of this food back home with us because we can do something like this back home.”  

“That was the first time that I’ve ever prayed with someone. I was nervous but that was really cool!” 

“I’ve only been a Christian since 2022, but this weekend has changed my thinking on what it means to be a Christian.”  

“God meets us where we are to take us where we need to be.” 

These are a few quotes from students who participated in the annual fall CONNECT student mission weekend, Oct. 13-15, in Hope. Twice each year, CONNECT brings students and their adult leaders together from all across Arkansas for a weekend of missions and ministry.  The purpose of CONNECT is to lead students to become involved in God’s mission through hands-on missions/ministry opportunities and by providing them with training and tools to help them learn to be on mission every day of their lives.   

Billed as the experience of a weeklong mission trip packaged into a single weekend, CONNECT offers participants a taste of what a much longer mission trip would be like. Participants sleep on the floor, use shower trailers, eat food prepared by Arkansas Baptist Disaster Relief teams, learn to share the Gospel, and spend all day Saturday serving the local community. They spend time in worship and learn what it means to be part of cooperative missions.   


First Baptist Church of Hope served as the host for over 130 participants made up of students and adults from 10 different Arkansas Baptist churches. Projects were provided by First Baptist Church of Hope, Piney Grove Baptist Church of Lewisville, and the Red River Valley Baptist Association. Projects varied from painting to yard work, construction, ministry to a local nursing home, door-to-door prayer and evangelism, and inviting residents to an upcoming revival service. In all, 12 projects were completed with over 100 Gospel presentations.  

Four salvation decisions were reported with two students expressing a call to missions.   

CONNECT is for students in 7-12th grade (6th grade if they are included in your student ministry). The next student missions weekend is scheduled for April 12-14 in Marianna. For more information, go to www.absc.org/connect.   

If you are a student leader and would like to see what CONNECT is all about before committing your group to participate, you are invited to join us for a day and check it out for yourself. Contact Travis McCormick at tmccormick@absc.org if you are interested.  

If you would like a longer and more intensive missions discipleship experience for your students, make plans to be a part of Engage Missions Camp at Camp Paron on June 17-21.

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