BRENTWOOD — Students from four Baptist Collegiate Ministry programs across the state spent a portion of their Christmas/winter break serving needy people in Guatemala and Mexico.
BCM students from East Tennessee State University, Johnson City; Lincoln Memorial University, Harrogate; and Walters State Community College, Morristown, served in Guatemala.
The LMU team arrived on Dec. 28 and worked exclusively in the area of Rincon de Pacaya, living at a rural facility called Camp Calvary. The team worked alongside a church group, mostly installing cook stoves. “These stoves meaningfully change the lives of rural villagers making their homes safer and cleaner,” observed Damon Billings, BCM director at LMU and Walters State.
LMU and the Walters State team (which arrived Jan. 1) also worked together to build a porch on what will become a rural medical clinic at Camp Calvary.
After the LMU team departed and the East Tennessee State team arrived on Jan. 2, the two teams distributed backpacks, fed children in rural areas, and shared the gospel. The BCM team from ETSU was led by BCM director Eric Hogstrom and his wife Druanne.
“During the course of the week we packed and passed out around 500 backpacks full of school supplies that literally will be the difference between allowing kids to attend school or not,” Billings said.
In the town of San Miguel, BCM students were able to have a worship service with children in the village, singing songs, sharing testimonies, and presenting the plan of salvation. The gospel was shared in Guatemala City and in other rural villages in the country, Billings said. He noted that 71 children and adults indicated they made first time professions of faith in Christ during the week.
Billings noted that the team had an “extraordinary” week of missions and ministry.
He noted that one student from Walters State posted these comments on her Facebook page upon returning home:
“The Lord moved in so many ways these past eight days. I had never before shared the story of Jesus with someone who had never heard it before, or pray with so many eager to commit their lives to Christ, or given my testimony to a room full of strangers in a foreign country. The wonderful things I witnessed will not be forgotten.”
BCM director Stacy Murphree at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville led a team to Mexico during the Christmas break.
The team partnered with a ministry called Project Fortify which works along the border in Alamo, Texas, and Reynosa, Mexico, to strengthen local pastors and ministries in Reynosa.
The Austin Peay BCM has worked with this ministry each of the past four years, Murphree said.
The BCM students worked in an orphanage in Reynosa and did painting and work projects in addition to assisting with every day tasks at the orphanage such as preparing meals and helping with laundry. The team also worked with a mission church in a poor neighborhood where a national pastor serves. He also is trying to start some home Bible studies.
“On our last day we helped put on a block party for children and their family with music, Bible study, games, face painting, food, and more. We had anticipated about 30 children but more than 120 attended. It was incredible,” Murphree said.