By Kimberlee Hauss
When Jesus empowered his disciples with the Holy Spirit, he commanded they take the Gospel to Jerusalem, but also to the ends of the Earth.
Global Opportunities Week at Union University, held Sept. 13 – 17, gives students the “opportunity to obey the commandment of going,” said Bruce Ashburn, senior Christian studies major. Ashburn has participated in two Global Outreach trips to Central Asia and the Middle East, and served on the GO Week leadership team.
The annual event hosts guest speakers and missionaries on campus throughout the week to share the importance of serving in the community and going on mission trips across the country and around the world. This year’s schedule includes chapel services, breakout sessions, a Community Volunteer Fair and an Exhibition Fair.
The week will also unveil the dates and locations of the GO trips offered during winter term, spring break and summer break. The leadership team chose the theme: “You will be my witnesses” from Acts 1:8 to communicate that “everything will come back to the responsibility of the individual to fulfill the great commission,” said David Carothers, assistant director of student mobilization.
The ultimate purpose of the week is “that God is glorified,” continued Carothers, “and secondly, that all of us would obey God’s call to make disciples of all nations and see God’s heart for the nations.”
The week includes opportunities both in the community and abroad. The Community Volunteer Fair informs students of how they can get involved in Jackson and the Madison County area. This fulfills the “Jerusalem” aspect of Acts 1:8. Ashburn said students can then continue obeying the verse by getting involved with GO Trips offered in the United States and on other continents.
Union sends teams to cities as close as Memphis, and to lands as far away as the Middle East so the university can reach not only “Jerusalem,” but also “Judea,” “Samaria” and the ends of the Earth.
Campus ministries strategically chooses each location based on the people the team will be serving alongside.
“We always want to do trips with people we have an established relationship with,” Carothers said. “Our goal is not to offer new and exciting trips, but hopefully to come alongside people who we trust and have a relationship with and become part of their mission and vision and help them fulfill that.”
Because of this mindset, most of the trips are located in the same countries as previous ones. The team may work with different people, but will be in the same area as last year. However, three groups will be charting new territory in Paris, France; Tampa, Fl.; and Brazil.
Many of the trips work with college students on college campuses, while others are more evangelistic in nature, or focus on relationship building and community development. Last year, around 200 people, including the leaders, took part in GO trips.
Although participating in a trip costs money, Ashburn said that should not discourage anyone from going.
“Learn how to ask churches to fund you,” Ashburn said.
He believes this gives people in the church who may not be able to go themselves, a chance to be a part of overseas missions.
“Also realize that God is all-powerful. He will provide if he wants you to go.”
Applications for the focus trips, which are longer in duration and take place in the summer, are due Friday, Sept. 24, to campus ministries. All other GO trip applications are due Wednesday, Sept. 29.