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Dozens make missions commitments at Golden Gate student conference

MILL VALLEY, Calif. (BP)–Dozens of university students from across the western United States committed their summer, a couple of years or their lifetimes to cross-cultural ministry at the annual missions conference at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary Feb. 12-14.
More than 200 college students gathered at the Mill Valley, Calif., campus to hear mission strategists and global mobilizers challenge them to reach the nations for Christ.
“You are of the generation for which God will call some literally to give up their very lives for Jesus Christ,” said Thom Wolf, Golden Gate’s Baker James Cauthen professor of world missions.
Drawing from the conference’s theme, “www.gshoes.com,” speakers paid tribute to past and present Christians who sacrificially served God and encouraged the students to put on their “gospel shoes” and walk them to the ends of the earth without fear.
A segment called “Who Will Fill Their Shoes?” in the opening session paid tribute to men and women who sacrificed in service to God: Southern Baptist missions offering namesake Lottie Moon; Golden Gate senior professor of missions Francis DuBose, who works with inner-city projects in San Francisco; Southern Baptist representatives in Beirut, Lebanon, who were both beaten during the civil war and stayed in Beirut after most of their colleagues left; and Graham Steins, the World Vision missionary killed by Hindu nationalists along with his two sons in India in late January.
“The work is not safe, and Jesus is not safe,” said one worker based in East Asia. “Persecution is real, and it may hit you or me. But if you are a Christian, you’ve laid down your life already. Still, to be over there, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. We’re hanging on to the coattails of God watching him bring the nations to himself.”
Speakers for the weekend event included Wolf, Phil Busbee of Riverside Bible Fellowship in Riverside, Calif., and a number of missions strategists who cannot be identified for missions security reasons. Peppered throughout the conference, though, were testimonies from seminary students, missionaries and missions strategists who encouraged the audience to take the plunge and try out a mission trip.
“Every week during the whole two years I was in Kazakhstan, I saw two to three Kazakhs become believers,” said Shellie Morris*, a first-year Golden Gate student. “In 1990, there were no Kazakh believers, and now there are more than 5,000. In the villages I saw God move in a mighty way while distributing aid and Bibles and showing the ‘Jesus’ film [released by Campus Crusade for Christ]. We need more workers because more need to know. That’s what we’re about.”
Jill Campbell, a third-year student and former Southern Baptist journeyman to Jordan, led the congregation in prayer for her former home, currently dealing with the death of King Hussein. “I watched the funeral on CNN and saw people wailing, crying out to Allah and running along the street to catch another glimpse of the coffin,” she said. “King Hussein worked his whole life to promote peace, but his people don’t know the real Prince of Peace.”
Reece Sharps*, a second-year student, went to East Asia with her husband, Riley*, right after their honeymoon. “We were walking around a university when a student came up and asked if we were Christians. Her English name was Cece, after the Christian singer CeCe Winans, and she had just become a Christian. We developed a close relationship with her, and by the time we left she was off to a different region of her country to share the gospel. She was willing to risk everything to share it.”
One missions worker said in her country response was much slower. “Other countries beg for multinationals to help, but my country says they could handle it themselves,” she said. “Therefore, we have to be proactive learners there who offer nothing to teach, but soak up the culture and then share what Jesus Christ has done in their lives.”
Brian Pitre, a second-year student at Golden Gate, traveled to that same country last summer. “People in the States were telling me there was so much I can do here so why was I going?” he said. “But it doesn’t compare until you see the needs firsthand. God showed me individuals who even now I can remember their faces.”
*Name changed

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