There is power in the blood
SEMO BSU students take Gospel to Memphis, see lives changed
November 18, 2003
MEMPHIS – Fourteen students with the Southeast Missouri State University Baptist Student Union went on its first fall break mission trip to Memphis where they recently spent four days sharing their faith and assisting ministries in the Shelby Baptist Association.
By the time the students had completed their stay, 47 people had prayed to receive Jesus as their personal savior, according to Bob Houchins, BSU campus minister who led the group on their trip.
The group spent two days doing hands on projects such as laying sod and removing trees knocked down by a storm at Cordova Baptist Retreat Center . The students also spent a day at International Baptist Church , an inner city ministry working with the homeless of Memphis . Students hung dry wall, built shelves and stocked and organized a food pantry.
“On one evening several from our team assisted in a ministry to children at the Baptist Children’s Home," Houchins said. “They did a variety of games and activities designed to build relationships and show them the love of Christ.
“During our final two days our focus shifted from physical labor to laboring in the fields through personal evangelism. The group assisted Impact Ministries with their food distribution program. A vital part of that ministry is personal evangelism done during interviews conducted prior to the person receiving food. While 150 families were receiving food that morning 33 people made decisions to receive Christ for the first time."
Seven students from the BSU lead people pray to receive Christ, including Beth Lewis and Jennifer Westhoff.
“For both students this was the first time either had been used by God to personally lead someone to Christ," Houchins said. “This was an especially powerful experience for Beth as she was hesitant about coming on the trip to minister in the inner city. Her last-minute decision to come proved to be the step of faith that opened the door for God to work in her and through her to add to His Kingdom."
During one afternoon the group assisted Bellevue Baptist Church with a block party in the town of Terrell , Ark. The block party was part of a strategy designed to encourage an African-American church through a one-day evangelistic effort. More than 150 attended the block party with at least five people professing faith in Christ.
“One of our students shared the Gospel with three girls, who after hearing the message of God’s love, prayed to receive Christ," Houchins said.
The group attended the Sunday morning worship service at the massive Bellevue Baptist Church , pastored by noted preacher and author Adrian Rogers.
“For some the experience was overwhelming as nearly 7,000 filled the auditorium for worship," Houchins said. “One student commented afterwards that there were more people there in that auditorium than there were in his entire county back home.
“After worship the group headed down town to assist in leading an out door service at Court Square. More than 175 homeless gathered to listen as students lead in worship and the Gospel was proclaimed. Nine people made personal decisions for Christ."
Students were encouraged to go out in pairs to talk with people and share their faith prior to the start of the service.
“When Patrick Hayes and Janet Johnson walked up and began talking with a young man named James, he listened intently as they told the story of God’s love and walked through a Gospel presentation using a marked New Testament," Houchins said. “When they asked him if he was ready to ask Jesus into his heart James said yes. After praying to receive Christ the smile on his face and the marked change in his demeanor were the first signs of the beginning of new life."
Houchins noted that Fall break is often a time for students to relax before facing the grueling demands of the last half of the semester, but this Fall break experience was anything but relaxing.
“Hard work and flexibility with changing environments left most of us drained physically. But all came away from the experience rejoicing spiritually as we had the privilege of participating in Kingdom work and being used by God," he said.