Alabama Baptist students spend summer serving, sharing Christ

The day Rachel Pate met Greta, everything had gone wrong.

It was Pate’s second summer serving in Mexico City, and she and her teammates were trying to invite university students to their English conversation circle.

“Last year that worked really well, but this year they told us we couldn’t pass out flyers on campus,” said Pate, a student missionary from Auburn University at Montgomery who is studying Spanish. “That made it a lot tougher to get people to come.”

Then one of her teammates got sick and another teammate had to take the sick one back home.

And on top of that, it looked like it was going to rain.

“We were sitting there praying it wouldn’t rain, because everything else had gone wrong, and when it rains there, the streets flood and no one wants to go places,” Pate said.

And then Greta arrived.

“When she first got there, she asked us why we were doing this,” Pate said. “I told her we were there to serve people and help local churches with their ministry.”

Greta shrugged and sat down.

And immediately, it started pouring.

“No one else came, and because it was just the two of us and a missionary who lives in Mexico City, we got to talk a lot,” Pate said.

Their English groups are topical, and that day the topic was the word “priorities.” When Pate shared with Greta that Jesus was her priority, Greta “believed me,” Pate said. “She already knew that I had come all the way there because of God and the way I believe He loves people.”

And as they talked, Greta told Pate that she would like to know God too, she just didn’t know how. They talked about prayer. Pate told her that God not only hears her prayers — He answers them.

In fact, she told Greta that her very presence was an answer to prayer — Pate’s name was on the summer missions prayer calendar that day.

‘An answer to prayer’

“I told her that everything had gone wrong that day because there were so many people praying for me all over Alabama. I told her that they were praying that I would have conversations that were God-ordained and that were unmistakable displays of God’s sovereignty,” said Pate, a member of First Baptist Church, Tallassee. “I told her that she was an answer to prayer for hundreds of people she had never met.”

And Greta believed her.

The two ended up meeting every Thursday morning to study the Bible for the rest of the summer. And now Greta is being discipled by Bella, a young woman whom Pate led to faith last summer while she was there serving.

“Even though the day felt like a total wreck, it ended up with me sitting one-on-one with a girl who desperately needed the love of Jesus,” Pate said. “It was a life-changing experience, and I wouldn’t trade my time in Mexico City for anything.”

Chris Mills, student missions strategist for the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, said it was amazing to see what God did through Pate’s obedience.

“She relied heavily on the Lord for strength and for guidance,” he said. “Rachel is a beautiful picture of taking her talents and training and applying it for God’s glory in a strategic way.”

Mills said he saw God write story after story like that for the 94 students who went out as missionaries this summer.

The students, drawn from Baptist Campus Ministries at 18 Alabama colleges and universities, spread to locations across 16 countries and 12 states.

Encouraging stories

And because of their ministries, at least 310 more people know Jesus Christ as their Savior, Mills said.

“The stories that have come across my desk this summer have been so encouraging to me,” he said. “The last few years, I have begun to see more and more students look at missions not just as a life-changing experience that happens for a few months but as an experience that they can build on. I believe this group of students are going to come back to their campuses recharged, reenergized and refocused to make a kingdom impact by taking what they’ve learned and put it into practice in Alabama.”

For more information about summer missions or student ministry, visit onemissionstudents.org.

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