In 2016, Bachelor of Music student Scott Stice spent his summer serving alongside missionaries in Canada. Although it had been a fruitful trip, he assumed that would be the last time he served in Canada, as he intended to focus his future ministry work on opportunities in the United States. But during the semester following that trip, Stice realized that the Spirit was calling him to return to Canada and be a part of what God was doing there.

Two years later, Stice returned to Canada for a third time, joining six other students who chose to spend their remaining summer days in Vancouver. Students partnered with the North American Mission Board through its GenSend program, a collegiate program in which students learn about missions in practice as they support church plants connecting with their community through various events, service projects, and evangelism.

Although the fruit of ministry and evangelism is evident in Canada, Stice says Vancouver can be a challenging area to engage people on the topic of religion. The city has a diverse representation of backgrounds and religions, but most reject the perception of someone imposing his own beliefs on others.

This spiritual climate often proved challenging, Stice says, but they continually witnessed how God works in even the most difficult communities. “We can rest in the fact that God is powerful,” Stice says. “We don’t know what the effects will be in 10 years of what we’ve done this summer. But so long as we are obedient to what He has called us to do, then we can rest in that.”

Much of the team’s primary work entailed simply serving wherever there was a need, such as sweeping the floors of a low-income home for senior adults. However, bachelor’s student Jacob Yarborough says he learned a lot about how to be intentional in developing relationships with people and sharing the Gospel.

“God showed me that the things that may seem small in the moment can lead to a huge impact in the ministry,” Yarborough says.

In a local park one day, the team met a retired man and, after a brief conversation, made plans to meet later for further discussion about religion. They spent the following four hours enjoying a meal together, sharing life stories and discussing difficult questions about Christianity and the Bible. The man did not ultimately accept Christ that day, but each student noted that he left the conversation with answers to many of his questions and a new perspective on the God of the Bible. 

Reflecting on the many conversations with people like this man, bachelor’s student Jonathan Sorne says mission trips often challenge students to follow God in obedience and trust in His timing.

“In the end, I rest in the fact that we did what we could do and the people we met were there for a reason,” Sorne says. “That we did address some of their concerns about Christianity, that we tilled the soil, and that, hopefully, God will send more people there to share the Gospel and plant a seed in that good soil. 

“We did our part; God opened those doors for us to volunteer for a reason and for a purpose.”