For many, Christmas is a time of family and friends spending time together eating, talking, laughing, and making memories.
Most college students look forward to a long Christmas break filled with sleeping late, home-cooked meals, reconnecting with local friends, and enjoying being home with family.
This Christmas, 10 students from universities across Alabama will spend their Christmas in foreign countries, thousands of miles from family and friends (and home-cooked meals).
One sophomore at the University of South Alabama, explains: “I serve because God loves me, and I desire to love Him. The Bible states that those who love Him will do His work. Christmas is a hard time to be away from home, but God promises that if we do His will, He will be with us and give us the abilities needed to follow His path.”
Another University of South sophomore, adds: “I’m serving this Christmas out of obedience. Sure, it’s hard to be gone over Christmas, but I’ve asked myself what could I be missing out on by not going or what could someone else overseas be missing because I didn’t go.”
A junior at the University of South Alabama shared this: “Last Christmas, this trip revolutionized the way I viewed ministry: ordinary people working ordinary jobs, building genuine relationships to share the love of God. I realized that’s the picture of ministry Jesus depicted for every Christian to live out. I’m thankful to have carried that mindset back with me and look forward to returning this Christmas to where it all began.”
I often tell college students that their college years are one of the greatest times in their life to go and serve.
Most college students don’t have a full-time job with limited vacation days or a spouse or children. What they do have is an excitement and willingness to go around the world and share the Good News and experience the joy of knowing Christ and seeing others come to Him.
I’ve never regretted serving on a mission team or sharing my faith, but I have regretted the years I made excuses for why I couldn’t (or wouldn’t) serve or share.
Last year was the first time I wasn’t home with family celebrating Christmas, but I did get to celebrate the birth of Christ with fellow believers worshipping the same Lord but in a different language.
Why would I go last Christmas and again this Christmas and travel thousands of miles from home?
Because there are people who need to hear the Good News that God offers them as they live in a culture that is very performance driven.
Yet they can never study enough or do enough to be worthy. They need to experience the peace and joy that God has provided for them through an everlasting relationship with Jesus.
I’m praying that God will use this trip to impact the lives of these 10 university students in such a way that it will be a spiritual marker in their lives and a motivator to continue to pray, give and serve.