PBA brought the love of Jesus to the nations over the summer through students choosing to live intentionally and share God’s love in Greece, Peru, South Africa, Guyana, Finland, Estonia, Switzerland and Germany.
Students gathered in the DeSantis Family Chapel earlier this month for Stories from the Field. They heard how God is working through the nations and to consider serving on a trip. All five teams that shared their stories agreed that God always shows up in unexpected ways. Students drew encouragement from the Great Commission that Jesus gave to His followers in Matthew 28. The Great Commission is God’s command to His followers to go and make disciples in all nations.
The Greece team volunteered in a recreational center, worked with refugees, painted school buildings and taught English to children. The team emphasized sharing God’s love through their actions. Teaching the Word of God through actions was a new concept of evangelism for them, and it changed their perspective on missions and service. Julia Meuser touched on her struggles leading up to the Greece trip. She told students even if they feel like they don’t have enough faith or aren’t ready, to “just go” on a trip because there is no telling what amazing things God will do.
In Peru, students were challenged mentally and physically as they hiked through the mountains. The students laughed about the hardships of hiking through the mountains, such as pain, blisters and fatigue, and the physical toll it took on their bodies, but they all passionately spoke of the blessings those challenges brought.
Students experienced life transformation by handing out Bibles to people who were getting them in their native language for the first time. They said giving Bibles to others taught them not to take their own Bibles for granted and to appreciate the blessing of having easy, daily access to God’s word. These students were inspired by the trip knowing that by giving people access to the verses that had transformed their lives, they were making a lifelong impact. Dylan Cunard said the trip “changed his life” and encouraged other students to sign up for the trip.
The PBA team who went to South Africa formed valuable relationships with eight South African young adults they served alongside. The team participated in outreach activities, completed various service projects for the community and gave food to children living in devastating conditions. Noelle Eberly, a sophomore student on the South Africa team, shared her dislike for washing the dishes. She said that one night as her team was eating dinner together, she could not stop thinking about all the dishes they would have to clean after. However, her team had a fun night worshiping God and praising His name while they washed the dishes. She said that time spent singing and laughing together is one of her favorite moments from the trip, and she noticed God using seemingly inconsequential moments in daily routines for His glory.
Students on the Guyana team held Vacation Bible School and church services for people in the villages. They traveled by boat to more remote villages.The Guyana team traveled to villages by boat, hosting Vacation Bible School and church services for people in the villages. Because students traveled on a boat to several more remote villages, they observed the beauty of God in His creation, such as the stars in the night sky. They also spent time serving in a safe house for young girls. Students shared about how their time in Guyana helped them see the church as a community that unites people.
Students on the team that went to Finland, Estonia, Switzerland and Germany, expressed the need for adaptability and a willingness to serve God wherever they went. Caden Martenson, a senior, described one of their days in a small German town, where the field coordinator gave the students a checklist of tasks to complete, including doing an act of kindness or buying ice cream for a stranger. The group said completing the checklist created opportunities for lasting conversations and relationships, despite language barriers.
God worked through the nations and the lives of PBA students as they loved God and loved others.
Photo 1: A PBA students speaks with a Peruvian man in the mountains. The PBA team handed out Bibles in the Quechua language.
Photo 2: Students on the Guyana team held Vacation Bible School and church services for people in the villages. They traveled by boat to more remote villages.