October 8 was a very important day for Lipscomb Missions: the day of the annual Missions Fair. It began with our staff facilitating The Gathering (chapel) for the entire university with an emphasis on missions. The video above provides a small snapshot of this time.
On Tuesday night, Lipscomb students poured into the student center by the hundreds to get a look at the wide range of mission trips available for spring and summer 2014. Team booths wrapped around nearly every inch of free space as team leaders offered basic information about their trips to curious passers by. Some students went with little idea of whether they wanted to participate in a trip or not; others made beelines for the specific teams they had in mind.
Junior Sam Lister, who will serve as a student leader for the East TN (Habitat for Humanity) trip, was excited to tell people about the experience she had last year. “I loved it because it gave me an opportunity to be of service to those in my community. We very literally serve our neighbors,” Lister shares. Being a part of the missions fair is a great way for team leaders to interact with potential team members. Smiling at each passing student, she enthusiastically suggested that they sign up for the trip that she has grown greatly passionate for.
Jared Young, sophomore music major, had a fairly specific idea of what he was looking for in a trip. “I am interested in going on a medical mission trip and serving internationally,” he explains, “I was really encouraged by the large turnout to the fair and by the positive energy everyone had about their trips.” Students had the opportunity to mingle with one another as they explored the options for serving in a context that will undoubtedly push them out of their comfort zones. The student center was buzzing with the excitement of students and team leaders alike, and it obviously had an effect on those visiting the information booths as Young expresses, “It made me really excited about the prospect of going on a trip.”
For others, the Missions Fair was the first time they really got an opportunity to see exactly what Lipscomb Missions offers. Local, domestic or international? Spring break or summer? Many questions may enter the minds of those students less familiar with missions opportunities. Callen Cave, a sophomore biology major, knew a trip was in her future but was unsure of how to proceed. “I definitely want to go on a trip this year,” she says, “There are so many options. Especially in the more hands-on medical field that I could be interested in.” She too found the atmosphere to be exciting as well as inviting as she got to speak with several team members and leaders. When asked what trips she felt drawn to after making her rounds in the student center she was quick to respond, saying, “I am really leaning toward Peru or Guatemala!”
By the end of the night, students who attended the fair knew a lot more about the trip opportunities than they did before. Since the Missions Fair, the past three weeks have been filled with one-hour informational sessions hosted by all the mission teams. It is here that students have a chance to learn more about the purpose and ministry of those trips along with next steps in how they can commit and get involved. Commitment Week is set to launch November 11-15 when hundreds of people will register online and pay their trip deposits for 2014. Whether one came to the Missions Fair with an objective or passed through on the way to the dining hall for their evening meal, one could not help but feel the excitement in the air as Lipscomb Missions gears up for the upcoming season.