Missions Festival teaches (and demonstrates) what it means to be ‘on mission’

Missions Festival teaches (and demonstrates) what it means to be ‘on mission’

If there’s one lesson anyone can learn about missions, it is this: God calls us all to be “on mission” in all areas of our lives. When we live for his glory, it gives us a great desire to reach all people groups — those around us, and those in a country far across the globe.

That was the theme for the Missions Festival this year called On Mission, held from February 22-24 on campus. About 250 students went through a globe-trekking simulation to experience brokenness in our world; another 250 attended chapel and break-out seminars and keynote speakers like David and Aleah Nishizaki, who serve with Envision Mexico (part of the Christian & Ministry Alliance church).

“This year’s themes in the rooms included a broken home, human trafficking scenario, refugee situation, and a funeral that was disrupted,” says Liz Blancke, the Director of International Service Learning at Crown who coordinated the event. “We also have a debrief room at the end to help students process what they experienced as well as a room for our DS teams to fundraise.”

The festival was sponsored by the Global Impact Team along with the International Workers in Residence, Tony and Raeni Roos. DUSC, Diverse and Unified Souls for Christ (DUSC), a multi-cultural club on campus, added a culture fair this year that provided space for students sharing food and culture.

An exciting trend has to do with how the event has expanded and evolved over the years — it is now almost entirely planned by the students themselves. “I’m always impacted by the creativity and work the students put into globe-trekking,” says Blancke. “The students do research and really try to simulate an authentic story. I’m impacted by the impact they make on bringing our students aware of God’s work here and abroad and how they can join in to His work.”

One missionary named Shelly, who asked us not to use her last name, gave a seminar about how Jesus is calling us to serve him, no matter where you are in life or what your eventual destination might be. “Nothing magical happens on an airplane,” she says.

For those who sense a calling to missions, the time to become missional is right now — not once you are out on the field and have a support team or have funds in a bank account.

“One thing I’ve heard a few times in my life that I agree with is, ‘Jesus doesn’t call us to a place, He calls us to Himself’,” she says. “Continue to stay close to the heart of Jesus and he’ll lead you step by step to where and to whom He wants you to be.”

For next year, Blancke says she’d like to see the culture fair expand to include an even more diverse set of cultures and students. She mentioned the idea of inviting student leaders from other Christian colleges to globetrekking so they can experience this unique offering we have at Crown.

At present, there are 23 international students on an F-1 visa attending Crown. The countries represented include: DR Congo, Ecuador, South Korea, Wales (UK), Burma, Ethiopia, Canada, India, Colombia, and a student who grew up in both Malaysia and Thailand. The college also has 18 students from missionary families from the Philippines, Cambodia, South Africa/Benin, Indonesia, China, Taiwan, Germany, Malaysia, Senegal, Venezuela, Uruguay.

Photo Credit: Dusten Grant and Josiah Bondy