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Sending more students overseas is goal of Southwestern, IMB rep

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–With the goal of sending every Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary student on an overseas mission trip, Dub Jackson, a former career missionary to Japan, has taken up residence in Fort Worth, Texas, to work with the seminary’s World Missions Center.
“You can’t have a world vision until after you’ve seen the world,” said Jackson, who is the Southeast Asia and Pacific crusade coordinator for the International Mission Board’s partnership evangelism program.
Southwestern’s World Missions Center director Bob Garrett agreed.
“In an increasingly globalized environment, we would be naive to think we can minister monoculturally,” Garrett said. “An imperative of the challenge of the next generation is to understand that the gospel must cross all cultural boundaries to meet the needs of every person on the earth.”
Although someday short-term overseas mission trips might be required for Southwestern students, now Jackson’s focus is on encouraging as many students as possible to participate in upcoming crusades that begin as soon as next summer with a trip to Hong Kong.
When 150 people accompany Jackson on the Hong Kong crusade July 30 to Aug. 9, Garrett hopes at least 50 Southwestern students will be part of the team. Crusades also are planned for Taiwan in November 1999, Japan in June 2000, Korea later that year and Taiwan again in 2001. The Korea and 2001 Taiwan trips will involve 500 people each.
One of the major obstacles for students is finances. Jackson, who went on a trip to Japan while he was a Southwestern student, knows what God can do to obstacles. In 1950, he and seven other people were at a local church when they accepted an invitation to minister in Japan.
“We had six weeks to raise $1,600, and we didn’t even have cab fare home that night,” he said.
God provided and allowed the group to be part of a crusade that resulted in 2,200 Japanese people becoming Christians, he added.
“Everyone can go,” Jackson said.
The IMB already has allotted $3 million to help people participate in the upcoming crusades, and Southwestern also is raising funds. The goal is to provide one-third of the cost of the first crusade in which a person participates.
Emphasizing God never lacks resources to accomplish his will, Garrett said the seminary also can “help students learn to access funds they never thought were available to them.”
He said students will be surprised at how many people believe in them and would like to support them.
“One of the most important benefits is when people experience affirmation of their ministry from friends and family who pray for them and contribute financially,” Garrett said.
Garrett would like every seminary student to prayerfully plan to take a ministry trip to a cross-cultural setting whether in one of the upcoming crusades or some other overseas mission trip.
“I think every pastor and every minister on the staff of a church should plan to be engaged in an international mission trip every year or at least every other year,” Garrett said.
Partnership Evangelism is based on Jackson’s concept of partnering American churches with overseas countries, and in doing so, mobilizing the laity to be involved directly in reaching the world for Christ. Garrett said it is an opportunity for God to work through “plain, ordinary folk sharing the simple fact that Jesus Christ changed their lives.”
When Christians, many unaccustomed or inexperienced in witnessing, share their faith with a stranger, not knowing his or her needs, through an interpreter, they are able to see a demonstration of God’s power, Garrett said.
“Only God could take these stumbling words and turn them into his truth,” he said.
In the 1970s, under Southern Baptists’ Bold Mission Thrust initiative, the Southern Baptist Convention set goals to help make the gospel available to the entire world by the year 2000. One of the goals was to have 10,000 Southern Baptists volunteer to go on mission trips. Garrett said in 1997 alone, through programs like Partnership Evangelism, and ministries of churches and individuals, 17,000 mission volunteers registered with the IMB while many others did not register and were not included in the count.
“We’re on the crest of a wave; people want to do it,” Garrett said. “It is not planned. It is God’s Spirit creating a willingness on the part of Baptists to make their presence personally felt around the world.”
At Southwestern, Jackson will work under the World Mission Center and his wife, Doris, will serve as the PrayerLink coordinator. Having the Jacksons on campus will give students an opportunity to get to know them and be “infected” by their attitude, Garrett said.
“I think Dub is a man with a clear vision of how sad it is for people to be lost and how urgent it is for us to do something about it,” Garrett said. “He and his wife have the attitude, ‘Lord, whatever it takes, we’re willing to do it.’
“Dub and Doris say with their lives: There’s no telling what God can do if we’ll let him.”

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  • Matt Sanders