Editor’s note: Last names have been removed to protect the safety of the students and program.
Five Union students poured out their hearts in Friday’s GO Trip chapel panel and captivated the room with stories from their summer serving together in east Asia.
Senior business marketing major Stephen Neu facilitated the panel for the team. Josh, junior Christian ministry and missions major, shared about the roles in which they served throughout their summer. They served in two major capacities, as students and as support. This team partnered with a permanent team in east Asia, and throughout the summer, the GO Trip team was able to fellowship with these partners as well as provide help, such as babysitting for the families. Additionally, they spent much time on campus at the local university as Christian students.
“At the university, everyone you come into contact with has probably never heard the gospel, which provides great challenges,” Josh said. “Even as we spent the summer loving and serving the lost, we still left Asia feeling more loved and served.”
2017 Union University graduate Emily returned to campus to join the panel and share a fresh perspective about her experience going on a GO Trip after graduation. Emily explained that she didn’t necessarily choose east Asia; she just decided to go, and the Lord had greater plans she couldn’t foresee.
Emily shared with brave transparency about an issue she wrestled with during her time in east Asia. Early on, she found herself struggling to have a heart for east Asia, so she prayed for a heart to love the people well.
“Through praying for this, the Lord led me to greater dependence on him and love for his children,” Emily said. “By the time I returned home, I completely forgot I ever had to pray for a heart for the people because I left east Asia feeling like it was home.”
Next to share was sophomore Christian ministry and missions major Maddie. She opened up about a practical struggle they faced while overseas. Maddie explained that the language barrier was an obstacle that made it especially difficult to communicate about the gospel and spiritual matters that such conversation may entail. But the Lord provided.
Only a mere one percent of the people in the area they served are believers. Maddie shared that the team did not expect much help, yet God provided eager friends of the local church who partnered alongside the team to bring the gospel to the university. It was through the help from these eager friends of the local church that the team was able to tell one girl in particular the gospel for the first time in her life. She later accepted Christ and made the hope-filled declaration: “At last, I understand!”
Senior Christian studies major Andy shared from stage how the Lord used not only the stories of the Bible, but also the stories of their own lives to connect with people and spread the gospel. He shared two incredibly touching and powerful stories of how the Lord allowed him to meet people, share his story and see their hearts softened towards the gospel as a result.
To close out the panel, junior business management major Gillian spoke with contagious passion and conviction. She shared about the pain that she experienced leaving behind so much unfinished work in the country she had grown to love. Gillian also charged the audience with the challenge to be faithful in the pursuit of Christ. She shared that too many people hesitate to go because they don’t feel “called,” but she presented the point that we as children of God are all called to follow him, love the people around us and go wherever he leads, even if it’s just across the room.
“If we’re going to have a heart after our own Father’s heart, we will have a heart for all nations,” Gillian said. “The need is too great and the work is too urgent to do nothing. We must err on the side of action and proclaim the name of the Lord.”