Georgia college students see fruit from spring break mission trips


This spring, as many college students around the country turned their thoughts to beaches and parties, some had other things on their minds. Groups of students from colleges and universities across Georgia used the pause in the school year to go and tell others about Jesus.

Georgia Baptist Collegiate Ministry students and leaders traveled to other nations, states, and communities to share the good news.

Ken Jones, campus minister at Kennesaw State University, accompanied a team of students to Jamaica. “’One Love, Jesus!’ was their cry,” he said.

Students preached and testified in four Baptist churches, and Jones recalled that he himself preached his first sermon in Jamaica on a summer mission trip in 1974. The team also taught in the public schools, and served the Grange Hill community, sharing the love of Jesus everywhere they went.

Anna Poole described her interaction with Shanti, a 15-year-old high school student she met at a family festival. “She was the only girl in a group of teenagers I got the chance to share the Gospel with,” Poole said. Shanti came back the next day for a youth event, and after hearing a gospel presentation she approached Anna. “I couldn’t have been happier when Shanti found me and said she knew Jesus had saved her!”

Jones also celebrated the eternal impact as the message of Christ was shared. “Just as every tree in Jamaica bears fruit or flowers, so did God’s work through them bear beautiful fruit,” Jones said. “Five Jamaican young people gave their lives to Christ and a new youth group was started!”

University of North Georgia students made their way west to Flagstaff, Arizona, to work alongside five area churches. Campus minister Keith Wade said the team helped the churches with projects around their church or in the community.

When the team partnered with a church on the Navajo Indian Reservation to do a youth night, Lucas White was able to share his testimony and the gospel. “Most of the time,” he explained, “the work we did was stuff that we may never see the fruit of, but is work that will help equip the churches to be a welcome place for all and to continue to outreach to their community and make disciples.”

At least four teams from Georgia universities traveled to the Crescent City, to partner with churches in New Orleans in their efforts to reach the city for Christ. Twenty-seven students from Georgia College and State University accompanied campus minister David Kirkland. The team served Vintage Church with its “Fill the Fridge” ministry, feeding over 200 people and distributing groceries to many in the surrounding neighborhood. Students also walked the French Quarter, sharing the gospel, which Kirkland said resulted in at least one salvation decision.

Georgia State University students were able to assist St. Bernard Baptist Church, a church replant that re-launched on Easter Sunday. Campus minister Austin Reaves said the team also shared the gospel in various parts of the city and worked with a homeless organization and community garden to clean and serve the community. 

Students from Georgia Southwestern partnered with NOLA Baptist Church and pastor Kyle Jagers. Campus minister Adam Shutters says the church is “shining the light of the gospel and serving the community they are in, in what is called Uptown in New Orleans.” The BCM team helped the church with renovations of a 140-year-old building that will be its new home.

“The mission trip was an eye-opening experience and a huge encouragement,” says Trent Mays, GSW BCM president. “Even three states away, the gospel is still being shared and in the face of adversity, the congregations of NOLA Baptist still hold to the faith.”

Meanwhile, Georgia Southern students spent their week assisting NAMB with its homeless ministry by providing water and snacks around the French Quarter and other areas of New Orleans, while hearing their stories and sharing the love of Christ.

Emily Aldrich, associate campus minister, says the team also “served sailors at the International Port Ministry along with other local ministries within a variety of opportunities such as gardening, car washing, and working at a thrift store.” She reports that students had more than 50 gospel conversations during the trip.

Some BCM teams stayed closer to home, sharing and serving in Georgia.

More than thirty students from Valdosta State University joined with the Golden Isles Baptist Network to serve that Baptist association and its churches. David Williams, campus minister, said, “My heart is to see local churches thriving and we got to help be an encouragement to many this week. We did all kinds of work from painting, landscaping, building, putting on a roof on a church shed, campus outreach, the list is long!”

For VSU sophomore Haley Key, it was her first mission trip. “This has been the most joyful week of my life. I have never felt so truly embraced and motivated by a group of fellow believers” she wrote when she returned. “The work was sometimes hot, messy, and daunting, but we got it done with smiles on our faces and then asked for the next task. I feel like I am coming home from this trip with a stronger faith and stronger relationships with believers.”

Key was particularly excited to witness two people profess faith in Jesus Christ. In fact, Williams reported that two students came to Christ, as well as nine other people with whom they shared the gospel. Additionally, Williams said, the trip served to unify the students. “We left a group, but came back a family!”

A combined team of over 50 students from Georgia Tech and the University of West Georgia visited Brunswick and Savannah. Georgia Tech campus minister Eric Swenson reported two salvations on the trip as students partnered with Cross Community Church in Savannah by prayer-walking the neighborhoods surrounding them and going door to door sharing the gospel and letting people know about the church. Kevin Connell, pastor of the church, told Swenson what students hit in a single day would have taken him over a year to get to.

The students also came alongside two local churches, First Baptist Brunswick and Northside Baptist (Brunswick), and the College of Coastal Georgia's BCM to put on a college and young adult worship night. “We saw over 100 people in attendance that were able to get connected to both of those churches!” Swenson said.