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Three spring break college mission trips this past March were rooted in God’s plans prior to 2018.

Conway Campus Minister Ryan Scantling started taking students to Canada for spring break mission trips as far back as 2012, when he was a youth college intern at First Baptist Church in Dardanelle, Arkansas. Those trips helped launch a church called City Light Church. (“It’s been fun to see them grow these last three years,” he said.)

This past March, Scantling took a team of 18: two staff members, 12 from his school and four from three other colleges back to Winnipeg, Manitoba. Scantling said in the 7 years he’s been going, he estimates they’ve taken well over 100 students. The team shared 128 full gospel presentations over four days at the University of Manitoba, which has over 30,000 students.

While attending a local church on this trip, Ryan talked to a student from the Ivory Coast named Elias. “Elias came to faith last year when we shared the gospel,” he said. “He introduced me to three students he’s introduced to Jesus!”

Next year Ryan wants to take 40 people, but they have a prayer request for a van. “The van broke down the day we got back from Canada,” he said.

Two years ago, Baptist Campus Minister (BCM) at the University of Arkansas at Monticello Jeremy Woodall took a “vision trip” to Texas where a  woman affected by the hurricane pleaded, “Send more help!”

Woodall and co-leader BCM minister at Henderson State University Jared Farley took a total of 42 people to Pasadena, Texas this year, including one student who had lived through three different hurricanes in Florida. The trip was sponsored by the Arkansas Baptist State Convention and by the Arkansas Disaster Relief Team.

“It’s a different type of trip because you’re not a typical mission trip–to evangelize,” said Woodall, who explained that most people were at work when they rebuilt homes. “A lot of it is service.” Students did whatever manual labor was needed to rebuild the community like hanging drywall or cutting down cane in backyards.  “We wanted to let them know we love you because God loves you,” he said. “We went in the name of the Lord.”

For a year, Arkansas State University (ASU) 2016 graduate Jordin Crow has been serving in Southwest Oregon supporting a local church and trying to start a campus ministry. It’s that established connection in the area which brought Jerome Stockert and his team of four to what he called a discovery/vision spring break trip. He wants these students to “sell” the idea to other students at ASU for future ministry there.

“We did a variety of things,” Stockert said. They worked on a farm which is a vital entry point to reaching the community and campus, stuffed 2,000 Easter eggs for a community outreach and taught the Bible at an after-school elementary program.

Stockert’s former 2016-2017 intern Crow is now appointed through the North American Mission Board as an assistant church planter under the direction of Shawn Snyder and Dwayne Johnson, church planters at Living Hope in Medford, Oregon. Crow served in Oregon while he was a student on spring break at ASU.

“Spring break mission trips provide the best avenue to equip and train the next generation of church leaders,” said Lynn Loyd, missions consultant for the College + Young Leaders Team. “These short-term trips continue to be the number one long-term missionary recruiting tool.”  Loyd said in 2016-2017, 1,279 Arkansas college students served on BCM/church mission trips. They went to 25 different states, 44 countries and served on five continents.

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