Record Number of Students Become 'Youth in Mission' During Summer Vacation

Thirty Southern Nazarene University students will dedicate their summer to the Youth In Mission program that provides “an opportunity for college students everywhere to be involved in an extreme encounter with God and others through a short-term mission experience.”

Thirty is the largest number of students from one school to ever participate in Youth In Mission at one time, SNU Vice-President of University Advancement Dr. David Alexander said: “Over the last five years we have had 500 students involved in some form of summer mission tour like Youth In Mission or musical missions tour, and camp work.”

Each summer Youth In Mission places over 100 college students from the United States and Canada in ministry around the world. Each student selected commits to a 12-week extensive “advance training” program during the spring, raises a ministry contribution to the program and serves for about seven weeks.

“Making the Youth In Mission opportunity highly visible is a key factor in our getting lots of applicants. We don’t wait for the YIM leaders from [Nazarene] Headquarters to arrive to start promoting Youth In Mission,” Professor of Missions and SNU’s Youth In Mission Advance Trainer, Dr. Howard Culbertson said.

The students will travel to places as far as Moscow, Russia and parts of Africa to cities as close as Los Angeles, California. “I wanted to do something different this summer, and I love working with youth and going on mission trips…I’m excited to see what God has in store for me,” sophomore Roxanne Gross said. A double major in math and physics, Gross will participate in a work and witness ministry in Long Beach, California.

All students participating in the Youth In Mission program must undergo 12 weeks of advanced training before being sent to their designated site. All YIM students will gather in June for a one-week training camp where they will be involved in ministry seminars, site-related training, team building, cross-cultural simulations, gift strengthening, spiritual growth and much more.

“Training has been such an awesome experience. I have been able to meet with four others who are going to Australia and they are amazing people. I am blessed to have such a group that is all about letting God move through them this summer,” junior Shauna Mullins, who will go ‘down under’ to Sydney, Australia, said.

Once to their designated sites, students will participate and even coordinate teams to do friendship evangelism, teaching English as a second language, urban ministry, youth camps, children’s ministry, youth ministry, and much more.

After the events of September 11, many students viewed their summer ministry in a new light. “I believe that the events that occurred on 9-11 have caused me to view life in a different way,” sophomore Theology and Ministry major, Alma Flores said. “I am more aware of how precious life is. We as Christians need to reach out to others and should do so more now than ever after these events.”

Many students stand firm in their call to missions despite 9-11. “I believe that God has been pushing me toward service. I feel that I should serve those around me and live out the love of God,” freshman Mathematics and Computer Science major, Andrew Morris said.

Raising individual funds is also a challenge for each of the students. Fundraisers range from slave auctions, car washes, and food festivals to voting on a hair cut. Senior Music and Theology major, Angie Alvarez, set up a booth where others placed a $1.00 vote on whether she should cut her waist-long hair or not.

Youth In Mission is affiliated with the Church of the Nazarene and actively recruits college-age students between the ages of 18-25. Attending a Nazarene college or university is not a pre-requisite to qualify to be on a YIM team. Recruitment is extended to graduate students.

For more information about Youth In Mission, contact the Youth In Mission office at 816-333-7000, by e-mail at YIM@nazarene.org, or visit http://youthinmission.org.