I (Wesley) looked in my rearview mirror at one of the sleep-deprived passengers in my backseat: “Ryder, how are you feeling about leaving for Asia this morning?” It was 4am.
“Great!” she said. “I can’t wait to start making friends and experience so many new things! … This is actually my first time on a plane.”
“What!?” I said with a surprised smile, “Your first time on a plane!? You sure like doing things big the first time, don’t you?”
And with that, Ryder and 18 of her teammates departed for Asia, to spend the next year of their lives befriending college students and sharing the Gospel. It’s a special privilege for me to take the new Campus Target team to the airport – despite the alarm going off at 2:45 in the morning. 🙂 There’s wonder in their eyes, mixed with apprehension and nervous energy about the year to come, and it makes me reflect on the long journey for them and us to get to this point: a year of challenging young adults through recruiting events, hundreds of followup calls until everyone made their decision, intense training at MiniCamp in April, a summer filled with many ups and downs as they raise support and prepare to leave, and finally two weeks of training in August that led to their early morning airport departure.
I can now say with great joy that there are 40 young people, both short and long-term workers, in Asia who will spend the next school year telling hundreds, and probably thousands, of college students about Jesus. They’ll baptize new believers in bathtubs, train disciples how to follow Jesus, and help new churches grow and multiply.
We’ve already heard reports of Asian students in three different cities who have given their lives to Jesus – within the team’s first week there! We expect God to do great things this year!