Back Student Summer Recap, Part 2: Vancouver, Canada Mission Journey
August 12th, 2011
For many Brentwood Baptist students, summer isn't just a time to unplug from the world and wait for a new school year. It's a time to serve and go. Every summer, the Student Ministry offers students a chance to participate in missions, discipleship, and leadership opportunities through four major events: Mission615, Summer Camp, Vancouver Mission Journey, and Chicago Mission Journey.
Below is the second of a four-part recap of the incredible things that happened among our students this summer:
For the second year in a row, 24 of our high school students traveled northwest to Vancouver to partner with The Point Church from June 11-18, a Brentwood Baptist partner led by Pastor Victor Thomas (son of John Thomas, founder of Living Hope, and another Hope for the World Missions Offering partner).
As their first project, the students led The Point's two Sunday worship services, both morning (family-focused) and evening (young adult and student-focused).
Amy-Jo Girardier, Girls Minister and Student Missions Coordinator, said, "This was the first time we helped lead the entire church service. Victor and Candace were expecting their first child that week, so Linc filled in and preached. The students created a the prayer experience to help encourage members and our student band helped lead worship."
Ministering primarily to the Simon Fraser University (SFU) students and surrounding community, the Brentwood Baptist team was welcomed back, building on the work that took place last year.
"The community is largely suspicious of organized religion," Amy-Jo said. "Over the years, Victor has tried to be intentional about building relationships and earning the right to share Christ with them. A lot of the things we did reinforced those already established relationships."
After leading The Point in worship, the students began the week by prayer walking. In addition, they prepared eco-friendly wildflower seed packets, labeled with the church address, and passed them out as invitations to those who happened upon nearby bus stops and other locations.
"We also baked cakes for the different departments and department heads at Simon Fraser," Amy-Jo said. "The students took them around and said, 'thank you,' for all they do in the community on behalf of The Point."
Last June, the students worked in the community garden near Simon Fraser—and, unfortunately, it wasn't touched until they walked through the gates one year later. Made up of 100 plots, the team mulched, cleaned, repaired, gardened, planted, and more.
"That project really got the name of The Point and Victor out to the community, especially the school," said Linc Taylor, Student Minister. "One lady lived an hour away and had a plot. Victor e-mailed those who had plots and told them we'd be there to help with it. This lady drove in and met one of our students, who had an opportunity to pray with her later in the week when she came back."
Toward the end of the week, the students left the SFU area and went to a darker location in Vancouver, a small area on Hastings Street known as being the poorest ZIP code in North America.
Amy-Jo said, "You walk into a sea of hundreds of men and women who are homeless, living on that street. They aren't hungry; they can get free food all over Vancouver. Their biggest need is socks and keeping their feet dry and clean. So we passed out nearly 200 pairs of socks all over East Hastings and prayed with people."
Michael Vicary, a Brentwood Baptist intern this summer, said, "Local authorities put the homeless in a run-down, unused area of downtown and basically allow them to do whatever they want as long as they stay in that area. As we walked through the streets, I felt more spiritually and emotionally overwhelmed than I had ever felt before. There were people drinking, openly using drugs, and even some women prostituting themselves. It was such a dark place, but it was exactly where Jesus would've gone."
This particular project made a huge impact on many of the students. Michael said, "It was amazing to watch students boldly go to a place that society had given up on. They handed out every pair of socks they had, but, more importantly, they talked to the homeless. They asked questions and were interested in their responses. They didn't judge the situations they were in, but loved as Jesus would. They even told them about God's great love for them. It was a beautiful picture of Christ's love for His people, and our students served boldly, without hindrance."
The students and leaders also traveled to a place called God Road, which was home to several different religious institutions. Amy-Jo said, "You had the Buddhist Temple right next to the mosque. They were all lined up down this street."
The team made appointments to go and visit several different religious establishments so they could hear what they believe. Their presentations spurred our students to ask bold, deep questions of the religious leaders about why they believed the way they did.
Linc Taylor said, "There was definitely a sadness among our group to hear what they believed. It led us to some good biblical discussions to process what they said against the gospel. We looked at the Bible, discussed the false teaching about each of them, and discussed apologetics."
As a wrap-up, the students and leaders hosted a community carnival alongside members of The Point. Nearly 100 people stopped by the Univer-City area, an area flourishing with young families. Some who came even remembered the group from last year, expressing their excitement about bringing everyone together and what this could mean for the future of their community.
At the end of the week, the students and leaders left having planted seeds of the gospel, watering them with Christ's love, all over the city of Vancouver.
Story by Kaylan Christopher, Staff Writer