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Carson-Newman Spring Breakers: Despite darkness, God still moving

A team from Carson-Newman University takes a moment for a photo while on a mission trip to Honolulu, Hawaii. The team was one of three groups from the University who volunteered to serve on mission trips during Spring Break.

Carson-Newman University student Lexi Ray had one request upon returning from her Spring Break trip in early March. “Pray for this world and everyone in it.”

Ray, a senior photography major from Woodruff, South Carolina, was one of more than 30 members of the Carson-Newman University (C-N) community who spent Spring Break serving others on mission trips. Serving from coast to coast, three teams of C-N volunteers traveled to Los Angeles, California; Washington, D.C.; and Honolulu, Hawaii.

Ray was on the team that traveled to Los Angeles as part of GenSend, a program developed through the Southern Baptist Convention’s North American Mission Board to develop, support and deploy the next generation of everyday missionaries.

Ray said the team had the opportunity to spread the gospel to the homeless population and engage in evangelism throughout the city.

“The church we worked with was able to make a connection with a low-income government housing facility,” she recalled. “We got to go hand out food. Later the facility called asking the church to do an Easter event.” The episode was but one of many similar stories that students recounted when they returned home.

Reflecting on the trip, Ray shared how the team witnessed the struggles many people are facing. “We saw a lot of hurt and darkness over there. There were streets that are full of homeless people. Drugs are very evident there. We saw prostitution. We saw hunger and thirst. “But,” she noted. “God is still moving and conquering. Praise God.”

The other two Carson-Newman teams also took part in mission opportunities. From working with Baptist Collegiate Ministries at the University of Hawaii to ministering to D.C.’s low-income housing community, students learned how service can make an impactful difference in the lives of others.

“Our prayer is that these mission experiences benefit our ministry partners and help students see mission work as a daily expression of who we are in Jesus,” said Dr. Jonathan Akin, Carson-Newman’s vice president for Church Relations and Campus Ministries. “Each location exposed them to various ministries and people groups nationwide. Students hopefully returned with a new sense of calling to minister to the needs of people here locally and know how to share the Good News effectively.”

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