This mission will also change the way we do mission conferences in the future
It’s a new year! Perhaps you have spent some time reflecting on 2011 and wondering what 2012 will hold. Some of you may be filled with hope, excited about future possibilities. Others may be apprehensive, wondering what trials may be just around the corner.
Whatever happens this year, it’s good to remember that we’re part of God’s great plan to redeem all of creation and to draw to himself a people from every tongue, tribe and nation.
IFES recognises that our God is a missionary God, and we eagerly join with him as we engage the university with the good news of Jesus. We long to see many more students this year become life-long disciples of Christ who are filled with missionary zeal as they serve the church and influence society.
We’ve recently heard about a group of students in UGBR Rwanda who have caught the vision for mission as they visited an isolated people group living in the mountains of South Sudan. Alice, recently appointed General Secretary of UGBR, told us how students have moved from being aware of mission to being missionaries.
‘Previously, we had conferences but no real opportunities to go to people who have not heard the good news… What touched me were the reactions of students who told us what God did and realised that the unreached peoples are a reality, that there are people who have never heard of Jesus.’
Mugabezaki Betty, a student with UGBR, shared her response to the trip: ‘This was my first time to see people who don’t know Jesus Christ at all. They asked us whether Jesus Christ was a brother of their chief.
‘We were amazed to see people who are still worshiping idols, and also witch doctors. But many of these people got saved and most of people understood who the true God is and that Jesus Christ is his son.’
Ruhinda Bosco, another student who visited the Issore region, learned key lessons about ‘the importance of putting faith into action‘ as well as ‘how God calls people to move out of comfort zone.’
Alice told us how this mission has also impacted the relationship between UGBR and the local church: ‘After their return, the students went into the churches and shared with the pastors. Some churches were not sure initially if they should support them, but seeing pictures, listening to stories they all want to support these missions!’
The trip has also been very effective in mobilising students. Alice continues, ‘Just after the team has returned, they had a prayer vigil. After the vigil, a student asked me, "When are you going back? Please put my name on the list!" It made me laugh but I gave thanks to God.
‘This mission will also change the way we do mission conferences in the future. Before we had not yet gone anywhere. Now we took a practical step, so it will influence the conferences we hold in the future.’
Give thanks with us that students in Rwanda have developed such a passion for mission. Join us in praise for all that they are learning in their trips to South Sudan, and pray for wisdom as they also seek to be missionaries at their universities. Pray that God will continue to stir up students throughout the country to put their faith into action.
And as we move through 2012, may God give us a vision for mission and a willingness to move outside our comfort zone as we live out our faith – to our neighbours, to our fellow students or work colleagues, to our family and friends.
May God empower you in his service this new year!