by Norm Miller
CLEVELAND, Ga. (TMNews)—Demonstrating continuing commitment to God’s Great Commission, Truett-McConnell College commissioned more than 80 students, staff and faculty for local and global missions emphases in 2014 during a March 6 chapel service.
Traversing Georgia, the U.S. and the world, missions teams will work in hospitals, multi-family housing complexes, cultural centers, college campuses, youth camps, and on the streets, fulfilling the college’s mission statement: “Truett McConnell University equips students to fulfill the Great Commission by fostering a Christian worldview through a Biblically-centered education in a family friendly environment.”
“Truett-McConnell students have a unique passion for sharing their faith with the nations,” Dr. Ed Pruitt told TMNews. “Whether ministering in Cleveland, Atlanta, Pittsburgh or around the globe, our students traverse all types of barriers to share the gospel,” added Pruitt, associate professor of Christian Studies and Missions at Truett-McConnell.
Countries on TM’s missions agenda for 2014 include Argentina, Belize, Canada, Honduras, Hungary, India, Kenya, Rwanda, Thailand, East Asia, and the United States.
India and Kenya
Two missions teams already had departed for India and Kenya just prior to the March 6 chapel commissioning service that was preached by Dr. Keith Eitel, dean of the Roy Fish School of Evangelism and Missions, professor of missions and director of the world missions center at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas.
“Our India team will be sharing the gospel in cafes, coffee shops, local parks, and on a university campus,” Pruitt said. “We will also give away blankets and food to the homeless,” said Pruitt, adding that, “more than 20 persons have been saved during our previous trips to India.”
“Our students will gain nursing experience through treating patients and assisting CURE hospital staff in a variety of medical situations,” said Dr. Van Sanders, a 10-year veteran of career missionary service in Kenya, and associate professor of missions and evangelism for Truett-McConnell.
Truett-McConnell’s assistant professors of nursing, Deborah Alvater and Lisa LaPree, also lead the students in Kenya.
The students will “share the gospel through practicing Christ-centered nursing, and will evangelize and disciple others cross-culturally,” Sanders said. “They also will gain awareness of issues involved in practicing medicine in a majority world culture.”
A team of 40 students, faculty, and staff are slated for a mission trip to Rwanda this summer, where they will minister at Crimson Academy, which is operated by Dr. Philip Haynes, the husband of Truett-McConnell’s associate professor of behavioral sciences, Dr. Holly Haynes, who is a Harvard graduate.
Divided into three teams, each will focus on a different ministry.
Working with local churches that partnership with the academy, one team will engage in church planting and evangelism in villages surrounding the academy.
Another team will focus on outreach to orphanages, hospitals and street people.
The third team will minister to academy students using sports clinics and other activities.
“All three teams will share the gospel and disciple those who already know the Lord,” said Dr. Holly Haynes. “There will be considerable flexibility in this location, so we anticipate involving all Truett-McConnell students in all three emphases of the teams. Some students may also participate in construction projects for the academy.”
“Teachers and pastors associated with Crimson Academy are readily preparing for our visit and are eager to work with our contingency from Truett-McConnell,” Haynes added.
Hungary and Thailand
In Hungary, students will assist IMB missionaries Paul and Tena Brock through English classes, using the first four miracles of Jesus Christ as recorded in the Gospel of John.
“We are thrilled to have Truett-McConnell students back with us for another time of ministry together,” Paul Brock told TMNews. “This group will bring a lot of energy and a strong commitment to Christ in their work. We want Hungarian young people to meet these kinds of American believers.”
Previous such ministry in Hungary produced more than 30 converts to Christ.
Then same team of students will minister cross-culturally in Thailand, where they will engage in personal evangelism and street witnessing. They will work with IMB missionaries and apply what they have learned at Truett-McConnell through practical mission field applications, said Pruitt, who will be leading the Hungary/Thailand team.
“I believe that God has entrusted a generation of passionate missionaries to our college, and it is our responsibility before the Lord to properly prepare them to effectively serve him in the world these students will face,” Pruitt said.
Truett-McConnell College president, Dr. Emir Caner, expressed the urgency and necessity of world missions and evangelism by quoting for the students Baptist forebear and Anabaptist evangelist and martyr, George Blaurock, who said: “But when the Lord comes in glory and judgment, then they will want to repent. It is then too late to require forgiveness.”
“Students, you’re going to places where people have never heard the gospel, and eternity is in the balance,” said Caner. “I can’t tell you how thankful we are, as faculty and staff, to have a student body who are willing to go across the world and across the street to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.”