Freed-Hardeman University students tend to take the Great Commission seriously—very seriously. Hundreds of them, in fact, spend their vacation time doing benevolent and evangelistic work. Led by faculty or staff members and overseen by local churches, they go, they teach and they serve.
Spring break saw more than 200 students not basking in the sun, but soaking up the rays of the Son’s light. They focused their efforts on domestic campaigns in Bowling Green, Ky.; Pompano Beach, Fla.; Vinland, Kan.; Janesville, Wis.; Madill, Okla.; Charleston, Mo.; and Mobile, Ala. They held Bible studies and gospel meetings, visited the eldery and conducted vacation Bible schools. Some went to the Caribbean and Central America, including Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, Bonaire and Panama.
With summer in full swing, approximately 150 students have their tickets punched for travel. Most are going abroad; however, two will go to Arizona to work with the Navajo, and five will work in the northeastern United States. Two groups plan to participate in campaigns associated with TORCH Missions in Honduras. They will be involved with construction, food distribution, medical clinics and children’s homes. Two other TORCH groups will go to Costa Rica and Panama. Former dorm supervisor Terry Reeves will direct all four of these campaigns.
Reeves said he “fell in love with short-term mission work” as a Freed-Hardeman student when he went to England and Scotland for six weeks with the late Norman Hogan, former head of the FHU history department. In fact, he changed his major to education so he could have his summers free for mission trips. Since that time, he has taken mission groups, from middle school children to adults, to many parts of the world.
For the past 21 years, Reeves has worked in Central and South America, taking teams to Brazil, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama.
Long a focus of benevolent and evangelistic work by Bible teachers Roy Sharp and Jesse Robertson, Haiti is the destination for two groups of workers. Both groups will do medical outreach as well as teach.
Sophomore Ashlee Cotton, from Henderson, made her first trip to Haiti when she was 14 years old and has been back three additional times. “The country and its people draw me in and helping and serving them fills my heart with joy,” she said. A nursing major who is also minoring in missions, Cotton hopes to combine the two and move to Haiti for an extended period of time after she graduates.
Other students are going to Buenos Aires, Argentina; Belize; El Salvador; Ensenada, Mexico; Porirua and Wellington, New Zealand; Nicaragua and Western Samoa.
Dr. Kevin Moore, former missionary to New Zealand who now teaches missions courses at FHU, said, “I am a keen advocate of short-term missions like these because souls are inevitably reached, new contacts are made, churches are strengthened and local evangelists are encouraged. Also, the campaigners themselves are spiritually energized, with the prospect of bringing their spiritual energy home to benefit the Lord’s work here and possibly go on to pursue a career in missions in the future.”
“Short-term missions have made a huge impact on my life,” Reeves said, “and I feel that given the opportunity, it would for others as well. To that end, I will always try to help people to go unto all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”