Riverside – Hundreds of eager students at California Baptist University filled Magnolia Church pews in Riverside on Nov. 30 for Team Reveal – a time when the Office of Spiritual Life reveals which volunteer teams the students will serve on.
“Our training is not in focusing to get you overseas, our training and focus is to get you ready for something that needs to be happening here and now,” Jeff Lewis, director of mobilization, told the students. “It is not about what we are doing this summer, but what we are doing for the rest of our lives and live in the context of the rest of our lives in the calling of Christ upon us.”
This upcoming summer will mark the 22nd year of global outreach by students, staff and faculty members at CBU. In 2018, nearly 300 students and team leaders will comprise 34 engagement and immersion teams for International Service Projects (ISP). Engagement teams will serve an average of three weeks, and the immersion groups will serve five to 10 weeks. Students will depart for 25 countries to offer various forms of service.
The theme for 2018 ISP is “Advance,” with the theme scripture passage from Philippians 1:12-13.
Lewis said when deciding on the theme, he felt led to a continual need to emphasize the gospel in service.
“We used a verse that relates to the advancement of the gospel,” Lewis explained. “We can focus on gospel development and the idea that as a follower of Christ, we’re to be strategic participants in the advancement of the gospel.”
For Jeremy Duket, a sociology sophomore, the 2018 ISP trip will be his first. He was motivated to participate in an ISP by a discipleship class that inspired him to pursue mission trips, Duket recalled.
Elyse DeFoe, a graduate assistant in Spiritual Life, will lead a team to Southeast Asia. DeFoe, who has served previously on ISP teams to Southeast Asia and Africa, enjoys the transformational experience the trips offer.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing the students grow and see them encounter other cultures and to have their eyes opened, to see them be burdened with a heart for the nations,” DeFoe said.