By Sarah Landry, UMass Lowell
It wasn't until I built meaningful relationships working alongside others on our ministry's annual Spring Break Missions trip that I recognized the joy and blessing of fully immersing my life in God's mission and Christian community, and the entire direction of my life and faith was forever changed. I saw a central truth of Scripture lived out in a fresh way:
The true power of the Christian life is found in its redeemed community of believers living in light of God’s grace together while walking in the Spirit.
Fast forward nine years, and God is still moving through short-term missions trips in significant ways. I currently make disciples for Christ among students on the campus of University of Massachusetts at Lowell. One of my students, Candice, shared a similar story to mine a few Tuesdays past at our large group gathering. Candice was loosely connected to our ministry until going on her first mission trip, our Spring Break trip, last year. It was there, serving on outreach teams, gardening, and packing boxes that she built strong friendships with other girls on our team that greatly affected her faith and walk with the Lord this last year. Ashley, one of these new friends, helped her have the wisdom and courage to make a tough personal decision, and this obedience led to exponential growth in Candice's life in this last year, as she has now joined our student leadership team and invests the gospel of Jesus Christ in her peers. Ashley herself has a similar story, coming to faith only a year and a half ago through our ministry and experiencing God radically change her faith and life after going on mission with us through Christmas in Asia.
These stories of life change are the beauty of life-on-life discipleship, the fruit of the gospel advancing, and the heart of campus ministry - lives who are transformed by the good news of Jesus Christ, who joyfully give their time, resources, and gifts to pass on that good news to others.