by Claire Gronseth
During missions week (Oct. 17-21), senior kinesiology pre-therapy major Sam Tindall led an alternative chapel on missions. Students had the opportunity to text in questions about missions to a panel of students who have all been involved in missions either locally, globally or both. While a lot of thought-provoking questions were addressed, many questions were left unanswered in the 40-minute time block. Tindall decided to find a way to continue the importance of missions, life inside a missionary family, potential obstacles within missions and what missions actually is.
Looking back, Tindall remembers God calling him into missions through human trafficking and working in areas of injustice. Tindall sees that short-term mission trips are sometimes looked at as ineffective, but he disagrees. He said: “Short-term trips need a goal and, optimally, a way to continue service to that area once you return home. For example, I believe using skills such as filmmaking, building, teaching, medical care, etc. all lead to long-term change for those in that area. I will never discredit short-term trips. Even the simplest trip can encourage the long-term missionaries and/or confirm for a person that they are called to lifelong missions work or ministry.”
As Christians, God may call his followers into a potentially dangerous situation, and being courageous for Christ versus using smarts can sometimes be hard to decipher. Tindall offers wisdom from past experiences, saying: “First off, we are given authority by the Holy Spirit. While working in brothels in Thailand, our leader instructed us to never go into a new area without first praying and receiving confirmation from the Spirit. Second, listening to those in authority and/or local people who knew far more about the situation than a foreigner like myself.”
“[God] longs for the relationship we have with him to be restored.” -Sydney Narloch
Junior mechanical engineering and applied mathematics major Sydney Narloch recently returned from Youth With A Mission (YWAM) this past spring semester. Missions can put someone in a place of vulnerability, and Narloch believes there’s a lot to encounter through foreign missions. She said: “Missions work in foreign countries is a huge way I learned greater dependency on the Lord. When you’re in another country, you set your life aside for the Lord to use you. Now being back in ‘normal life,’ he longs for us to live in that same way. As we do, we see him bring reconciliation and freedom to people here, too! Knowing God more is how we can know the mission he has for us, our college campuses, our jobs and our families. It’s really simple! He longs for the relationship we have with him to be restored!”
Sophomore graphic design and biblical and theological studies major Tyson Phipps shares a bit of his experience as someone who was raised in a missionary family. Phipps said, “For me, I would live in Turkey for four years, then the United States for one year and then back again. Thus it felt quite normal to me. I was always excited to make the 24-hour trip when it arrived, and I loved engaging in new things. Changing cultures was never really hard, because from a young age I experienced both cultures.”
So, what exactly is missions? There are a multitude of definitions and opinions that seem to encompass the term. Tindall gives his interpretation of Matthew 25:31-46, saying: “In the parable of the sheep and the goats, I think Jesus lays a pretty solid groundwork of what he expects: very practical acts of service and faith. Look at how he conducted himself. I believe that our mission is to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to earth. We should prayerfully share the Gospel with all and be willing to meet their physical, psychological and spiritual needs.”