On April 16, at Heritage Baptist Church in Montgomery, students were commissioned by the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions to serve as One Mission Student summer missionaries in various locations this summer.
They were challenged and equipped with tools to impact their place of service for the glory of God. Some will serve short term and others in long-term assignments.
It was great to be a part of the service which reminds students of the support they have from parents, fellow students, churches, campus ministers and others. They make a great sacrifice to follow the call of God.
The service reminded me of my commissioning service in the spring of 1979 at Shocco Springs. It was a time of excitement and the feeling of the unknown.
Yet I knew this was what God wanted me to do for the summer. It was my first experience as a summer missionary.
My mother was okay with this new adventure but very concerned about my safety. This was something new to the Alexander family because none of us had ever served in the program.
I knew that my family, fellow BSU students and campus minister (Jim Warren) at University of North Alabama would be praying especially for me and others serving.
I was commissioned to serve with a team of students in East St. Louis, Ill., working with the Metro-East Baptist Association. We worked in various churches, youth programs, camps, Vacation Bible Schools and other events during the summer.
Having grown spiritually from the experience, I continue to value the ten weeks of service. I learned the value of teamwork and developing relationships. Our houseparents, known as Pop and Granny, played a valuable part in shaping out lives during the summer.
I was so impacted by the summer experience that I returned the fall of 1979 to continue the work for two and one-half years. I met my wife and felt a call to seminary from my service in East St. Louis.
I am grateful for the summer missions program that continues to provide students places to respond to the call of God on their lives.
Thank you, Alabama Baptist churches, for your many years of support of this ministry through your Cooperative Program gifts.
State Missionary Willie Alexander serves in the Office of Collegiate & Student Ministries as campus minister at Alabama A&M and Calhoun Community College, Decatur.