Training at Biola
Every year has a highlight. It might be a wedding, graduation, a raise, having a kid, or even finding salvation in Jesus Christ. Youth Missions International has highlights every year as well and I want to write about my personal highlight this year at YMI. A month ago I was in southern California and not for the sunshine, although it was sunny, but rather I was there because we had been requested to come and train Biola University’s short term mission teams. This was the climax of months of communication and planning between me and the Student Missionary Union at Biola.
I have to be honest, I was very nervous about this weekend. Here I was, blessed with the opportunity to train a prestigious universities’ mission teams, probably the highest level of training we could ever do and I was trembling from head to toe. This training had been my pet project and I had been pushing it along since November. But as I felt the numbness of being nervous that I realized that it was not my pet project, but rather it was something God brought about. This filled my heart with joy and anticipation as the training day arrived.
The training started off with a bang. We processed 46 students through a mock customs exercise. Boy was that humorous, I heard everything from I am a CIA agent, to I am a missionary, to your country is open to hear the gospel so let me in. They were so confused after the exercise but it provided a good intro into the training. For the next 16 hours of training we covered the gospel and how to share it, how to be learners of culture, and how to work together as a team. All 6 teams were confronted with various challenges and stretched that helped prepare them for their trips.
I myself was stretched. Imagine you are at a meeting that has massive implications for the future of your work. You are presenting a product that you believe will prepare your customers with tools to succeed in their business ventures. But these customers all come from a prestigious group and they are all around your age as a 22 year old. That is roughly what I was dealing with this training. I could hear them thinking, “Who is this punk kid who thinks he is so high and mighty?” Yet, I knew I had valuable information that would impact the trip they took that summer and hopefully impact the rest of their lives. All I could do was pray that I would come across as knowledgeable yet humble in my teaching seasons that I did.
The result was amazing. The teams were stretched and bonded together. They were equipped for this summer and given a vision to live the gospel out intentionally every day. The SMU staff was so happy with the training that they said they could not go back to a program without training. My only response was to thank God for such a privilege as training the teams at Biola. Please pray for the teams as they go out this summer. Pray for our relationship with Biola to deepen as we seek to serve them better.