Students across North America are experiencing all that
summer missions has to offer
By Erica Long
Kristy Nathan stepped out
into the sunlight to the sound of hammering mixed with laughter. Students
scurried about the freshly painted house as morning light spilled through the
trees. New lumber for the front porch was stacked in the corner of the yard
beside a pile of plywood. The house repair was underway. A new porch was in
process, and for Kristy, a new life in Christ was ahead.
A crew of a dozen or so students from several churches started work
on Kristy’s house earlier in the week. An illness had kept Kristy cooped up
inside for three days. She’d finally felt well enough to go out and greet her
welcome and much-needed guests.
Kristy lives on the Catawba Indian Reservation in Rock Hill, South
Carolina. Her home was in need of repair, but she couldn’t afford to do the
work herself, so World Changers stepped in.
The hands and feet of Jesus
This summer nearly 200 students ranging from middle school to college age
gathered in Rock Hill for a World Changers project. World Changers is a
week-long camp that gives students the opportunity to do hands-on missions.
World Changers works with the city to provide free labor for repairing houses
in low-income neighborhoods.
Mike Wallace, missions development director for the York Baptist Association
in South Carolina, has served as project coordinator for World Changers in Rock
Hill for nine years.
“Our students get the chance to learn what it means to be the hands and feet
of Jesus,” says Wallace. “I’ve learned that students want to serve the Lord.
They can do amazing things when they’re given the opportunity.”
Students and their adult leaders arrived on Saturday and were split into
work crews. They spent the weekend training and preparing for the week ahead. A
typical World Changers workday begins at 7 a.m. and lasts until 4 p.m. Students
do manual labor including roofing, painting, light construction, and yard-work.
Every day ends with a time of worship and church devotions.
“This is a training time for you,” Alex Gonzales, the World Changers
speaker, told students during the Sunday evening worship service. Gonzales
challenged them to surrender to Jesus’ lordship in preparation to serve the
“This is the goal of World Changers,” Wallace says. “To instruct the
students on how to serve and give them a chance to apply what they learn.”
“I was so excited to get
started,” says Courtney Garner, a first-time participant from Alabama. “Meeting
the people around you is so much fun. You get a lot of opportunities to share
your faith without fear.”
Members of the crew working on Kristy’s house were excited to tell her the
reason they were there—to share the love of Christ. Kristy spent all day with
the crew and then attended the Thursday night worship service with them.
During the invitation she prayed with one of the crew members and gave her
life to Christ. “She was elated,” Wallace says. “Just absolutely ecstatic.”
Long after World Changers has left the Catawba Reservation, new roofs,
freshly painted houses, and a changed life will stand as beacons of God’s
Students on mission
Many will agree that today’s youth are more into
orthopraxy (correct activity) than orthodoxy (believing the right things). A
mission trip can bring these together. While on mission, students glimpse the
wonder of the gospel first-hand—like in the life of Kristy. For information
about World Changers and other student mission trips, visit
Erica Long is a writer living in Rock Hill, South
World Changers – World Changers seeks to provide a dynamic,
week-long missions experience for Christian youth and adults with opportunities
to meet the physical and spiritual needs of others.
A Southern Baptist Convention entity supported by the Cooperative Program and theAnnie Armstrong Easter Offering® ©Copyright 2013 North American Mission Board, SBC