Missions Fair provides students with unique ways to serve around the world

Students visit with representatives from Young Life during the Global Outreach-sponsored Missions Fair on Monday at Prescott Field.

Photos by Ralph Freso / Slideshow

Grand Canyon University’s annual Missions Fair on Monday was the biggest ever, with the highest number of organizations in attendance since it started several years ago.

With 36 different ministries on Prescott Field, students swarmed organizations' display tables, eager to discover the ways they can get involved with Spiritual Life and serve as missionaries, from one week to three months, in different parts of the world.

“Our GCU statement emphasizes developing students to become global citizen leaders. The Missions Fair is one way to do that. It’s a way to show opportunities for people to serve," said Njenga Maina, Global Outreach Manager, of the two-day fair, which continues from 8:30-10 p.m. today on the lawn adjacent to GCU Ballpark.

By interacting with various ministries, students learn about different cultures that have yet to hear about God. It challenges them to step out in faith and be sent out to do God’s work.

Musana Community Development Organization representative Samantha Bennett speaks with junior Danielle D’Addabbo as she signs up to receive more information about the group during Global Outreach's Missions Fair.

One of the organizations that provides this experience is Musana. It is based in Uganda, and its primary mission is to develop communities with sustainability that will help lift people out of poverty and restore hope for better living. Samantha Bennett, a GCU alumna, got to be a part of this experience last June.

After graduating in April, Bennett was excited to come back to GCU campus for the first time to share her heart behind missions and the work she has witnessed God do on the field.

“My senior year, I attended Chapel before the Missions Fair, and they had one of the organization’s leaders speak. If I had never gone to that Chapel, I never would have attended the fair. I had no intention of going on a mission trip, but I found myself leaving the fair with a handful of brochures,” said Bennett.

She spent time praying and asking God for opportunities to serve with Musana after having a change of heart from her conversation with the organization’s representatives.

Students visit the Musana Community Development Organization table at the fair.

“Uganda needs sustainable models so they can uplift their entire community. It’s gone from a children’s home to a community-in-development organization, a holistic model that is Christ-centered and has education, health care and women empowerment,” said Erin Moser, Development Director for Musana.

With the organization continuously growing, its attendance has risen from 80 to 6,000 students.

“It is completely locally led. When we send teams, it’s to come and walk alongside them. We don’t want to take away jobs but disciple and provide help,” said Susie Knight, community engagement coordinator for Musana. “Our gift is our presence.”

The Missions Fair not only informs students of various trips they could go on, but it also teaches them the impact they could have as stewards of God. It encourages them to be more involved in ministry.

“We have had kids come to Musana from GCU and now they are here and spreading the word,” said Moser.

Senior Global Outreach student leader Mercy Andersen at Monday's Missions Fair.

It’s not just seasoned missionaries and church leaders that can encourage others in such a ministry. Students are leading students too.

“Seeing all these organizations and their true heart posture behind being missionaries after being on the field for years shows true faithfulness,” said Mercy Andersen, Global Outreach student leader. “My view on missions was tainted from various experiences. I questioned a lot how to have a reformed view, one that is positive and real. Being here has helped gain a better understanding. It warms my heart to see a Christ-like view on mission work.”

Monday’s Chapel message left students thinking about the impact they could have on the community around them and the rest of the world if they opened themselves to what God wants to do. Living Streams Pastor David Stockton emphasized the importance of coming out of hiding as Christians and embracing one of the greatest calls, which is being a witness of light.

Students visit with representatives during the Missions Fair.

“Aside from mission trips, we see this fair raising interest in students to become more involved in spiritual life here on campus. It creates an opportunity for us, as staff, to disciple students in what God is calling them to do,” said Maina.

Organizations were impressed by students’ interest and hopeful that even if they are not able to join them on their mission trips, they can share the word and encourage others in missions. 

For GCU students attending the Missions Fair, inquiring about communities in need and seeking ways to get involved were the start of learning how to be that witness of light.

GCU staff writer Izabela Fogarasi can be reached at [email protected]

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Related content:

GCU News: Follow God's path, Pastor David Stockton stresses during Chapel

GCU News: Lopes take road less traveled on mission trips

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