After just a few days in Dakar, Senegal, “you feel it,” said Thomas Crane. “There’s a great sense of oppression, lostness, spiritual warfare and despair.”
Crane recently traveled to Dakar, a city where 98 percent of its 3 million population is Muslim, in preparation for a 10-day summer missions trip he will lead with International World Changers (IWC).
IWC is a ministry of the International Mission Board (IMB) of the Southern Baptist Convention. This year it will send hundreds of high school, college and seminary students to serve on nearly 29 summer mission projects as requested by IMB missionaries.
Crane, an intern with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s Office of Public Relations and student at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, will serve as a ministry coordinator alongside project coordinator Cindy Nooe. She has served as a journeyman with the IMB in Zambia and last year led the IWC trip to Barbados.
nearly 29 summer mission projects as requested by International Mission Board missionaries.
This year individuals from North Carolina represent a large percentage of IWC coordinators. Crane and Nooe, members of Summit Church in Durham, are two of 11 North Carolinians leading IWC projects.
Nooe’s goal is for students to understand that “God’s heart is for all people, not people just like them.”
The Senegal team will work among the Wolof tribe and the Talibe children. The Talibe children are street children who live under Muslim leaders known as marabouts. They teach them the Koran in the evening and during the day send them out into the streets to beg for money. Some Talibe are severely beaten by the marabout if they do not meet a certain daily quota on the street.
Students who travel to Senegal this summer will distribute medications for ringworm and scabies to these children. They will play soccer with them in the sandy, dirty streets. They will wash their hair with shampoo. They will love them.
The Senegal team will also help refurbish a basketball court and take two hours of language and culture immersion training every day so that they may be better equipped to engage in the Wolof culture.
The team will go through different neighborhoods distributing gospel-related literature.
Crane hopes the students will see just how lost the world is and have their hearts broken for missions, but more than that, he hopes they will understand there is hope for Africa — a hope found only in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
About 1.8 billion people around the world literally have no access to the gospel. They could leave their house and walk for days, weeks and months and never find a church, a Christian or even a Bible. IWC is helping make the name of Jesus Christ famous among the nations. One of the goals of IWC is “promoting a lifestyle of missions awareness and involvement to students and their leaders in churches, youth groups and campus ministries.”
North Carolina Baptists are invited to minister with IWC and “be part of bringing men and women, boys and girls from every nation, every tribe and every tongue to the knowledge of Jesus Christ.”
Crane said he prays that as students are exposed to the “lostness of the world” they would come to see that they can have a part in “God’s grand mission to redeem the nations back to himself.”
Visit Dakar project for more information.
In addition to the Senegal trip other projects being led by North Carolinians include:
- East Asia (June 15-26) — Cris Alley is the church planter and now pastor at New River Community Church. Alley and Pao Ly, who also attends New River Community, will lead students as they share their testimonies at universities in East Asia and seek to share the gospel with college students. The team will serve among people who are atheists but who are spiritually hungry, seeking to understand the truth. Ly is a second-generation American who has a heart for the world and eager to lead others to be on mission. Alley has nine years of experience in East Asia with the IMB. Both look forward to watching as students on the trip are discipled and learn more about missions.
- Thessaloniki, Greece (July 4-12) — Students traveling to Thessaloniki will lead English as a Second Language classes, prayer walk and help out a local festival by face painting and playing games with children. They will also serve Somali refugees by assisting in construction projects to help improve their living quarters. Dave Miller, student pastor at Richland Creek Community Church and a trip coordinator, “wants students to see that God is a global God” and hopes they will “get a taste of missions which God can use to call them into a lifetime of service to the nations.” Harold Lessner is also a member of Richland Creek and a trip coordinator.
- Tokyo, Japan (July 4-16) — Jeff Moore and Kyle Patton are Carolinians who will lead a team to serve among the 33 million people in Tokyo. Less than one percent of the city’s population is evangelical. For nearly 10 years Moore led mission outreaches to places such as Greece and South Africa. In Tokyo students will get to know high school and college students by inviting them to dinner and leading games and balloon art in parks, all for the purpose of having opportunity to share the gospel.
- Lima, Peru (June 12-19; 20-27) — Kathy King attends Summit Church in Durham and works at the local YMCA’s after-school program. King, coordinator for this IWC trip, served as a journeyman in Spain for two years and as an IWC coordinator for mission trips to Ecuador and the Czech Republic.
- Krakow, Poland (July 18-25) — IWC students will host Bible studies and games as they sponsor a family camp for the Roma people. The weeklong camp will be the closest thing to a vacation for most of the Roma people, who are from rural communities and typically very poor. For some, this will be the only time they sleep in a bed. Despised and treated as outcasts, the Roma people, also known as Gypsies, are viewed by the Polish as the lowest class among the country’s population. The high employment rate forces many of them into crime. “Even though the world treats them as second class citizens, God loves them and as Christians we want to show them the love of Christ as we live with them,” said Kevin Minix, Poland trip coordinator. Minix is minister of education and youth at Haymore Memorial Baptist Church in Mount Airy.
- Braila, Romania (July 25-Aug. 10) — Project coordinator Meghan Wood of Raleigh will serve with students as they build relationships with the Roma people in rural villages. They will share the gospel through children and youth ministries in areas where a ministry plant has not been started.