DALLAS (BP)–When more than 2,500 college students attended DestiNATIONS, a mission conference in Dallas, lessons taught during the conference were not only heard, but also practiced.
Taking to the streets of the Dallas and Fort Worth areas, students participated in block parties, trash clean up, surveys and cookouts.
“It’s something that has to be done, and somebody has to do it,” said David Ross of Corpus Christie, Texas. Ross, who came with a group from North Oklahoma College in Tonkawa, joined in an effort to clean up apartment complexes in Irving. “Jesus is all about serving people and serving communities.”
Students handed out flyers in apartment complexes on Friday advertising the block parties that were to take place Saturday. Often the students had opportunities to share the gospel with those living in the apartments.
“They may think they have nothing, but if they don’t have Jesus they really have nothing,” said North Oklahoma College student Clint Hancock of Perkins, Okla. “I’m just trying to better the community and to bring some [people] to God.”
Saturday brought clear weather and exciting block parties. Children and parents flocked to the bounce tents, face painting, snacks and crafts which students helped run in local apartment areas.
“I’m here to tell kids about Jesus and to tell them He loves them, to let them know they’re not alone,” said Holly Bays who came with a group from Northwestern Louisiana University.”
Oak View Baptist Church in Irving, a Dallas suburb, sponsored several of the block parties. Heather Corley, who works with the mission efforts of Oak View Church, said the main obstacle in sharing the gospel at the apartments is reaching the parents.
“Parents just send their children to the activities,” she said. “But the response among the children is great.”
June Dillon, a grandparent of one of the children who participated in a party, said, “I think this is great. There are too many children with not enough to do.”
Some apartment residents said they hope the church-sponsored activities will continue and that other groups will begin similar projects.
“The community ought to work together to do something for the kids,” said Steven Strathdee, a friend of an apartment resident.
Many students who participated in the block parties are seeking future opportunities to do mission work.
Scott Seymoure, a student at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, is planning to work with the North American Mission Board this coming summer.
“I came [to DestiNATIONS] to have a chance to get my mind ready for this summer,” he said. “Missions is one of the things God told us to do. If it’s important to God, it should be on our priority list.”
Aaron Travis, another student at Lamar University, said he came to DestiNATIONS to seek God’s guidance in where to serve.
“Missions is our call,” he said. “Our primary purpose is to worship God. The next important thing is to go and make disciples.”
DestiNATIONS, meeting in Dallas, Jan. 4-7, 2001, was a Southern Baptist missions conference jointly sponsored by the state Baptist conventions, LifeWay Christian Resources, the International and North American mission boards and Woman’s Missionary Union.
(BP) photos posted in the BP Photo Library at www.bpnews.net. Photo titles: ASHLEY RAVIS and MICAH MACE.