Students reach out in Atlanta: BCM mission trip unites different backgrounds

Students+reach+out+in+Atlanta%3A+BCM+mission+trip+unites+different+backgrounds

Photo by: Contributed Photo

Members of BCM engage in a game of "Parachute" during a block party with children in Atlanta.

Nisheeka Simmons, Staff Writer

Twenty-three students discovered the power of communication while traveling with Francis Marion University’s (FMU) Baptist Collegiate Ministries (BCM) to Atlanta from March 14-19.

Justin Baird, senior mass communication major and BCM semester missionary, assisted in the preparation for the trip to Atlanta. Baird said that the group worked in conjunction with a church planter who had just recently moved to the area from Tennessee. He and his wife worked together to begin Endeavor Church Atlanta.

“They are diving into the community that God has given them which is primarily Hispanic or Latino,” Baird said. “The two areas they work with are an apartment complex and a mobile home park, which is half Guatemalan and half Mexican. It’s funny because he does not speak any Spanish, but his wife is from Mexico, and she does all the Spanish speaking.”

Baird said that working in the neighborhoods made the group very aware of the language barrier because only one of the students is fluent in the Spanish language. He said that of the people they met in the mobile home park, those who spoke English spoke very little of it.

Baird also said that due to the multiethnic manner of the community and church, the students who traveled with BCM also got to witness bilingual worship.

According to Baird, the students spent time in middle and upper class neighborhoods conducting door-to-door surveys that inquired about the needs of the community and how a church could possibly meet those needs.

He said that they used those opportunities to tell families about Endeavor Church and to explain to them what the goals of the church were. Baird said that on that Saturday, the group hosted two block parties, which they had advertised with flyers that morning.

“We started a game of basketball and hit the volleyball around and played with a giant parachute,” he said. “We performed skits, music and speaking on the back of a trailer. It was just a really fun, laidback thing to do to raise awareness in the community.”

Farrel Godwin, sophomore elementary education major, was one of the 25 participants that went on the mission trip during spring break. Godwin said that she was a member of the group that did church planting.

“We walked around neighborhoods, knocked on people’s doors and invited them to church,” Godwin said. “I was really tested on this trip because I got taken so far out of my comfort zone. It was scary for me because this was the first mission trip I had ever been on.”

According to Baird, there used to be about 130 churches that were thriving in the Atlanta area, but now there are only 32.

He said that while the BCM group was there, they witnessed eight people’s acceptance of Christ. He said that Endeavor Church has not officially launched yet, but will probably have launched by late summer or early fall.

“There is still a lot of leadership to be brought into the church,” Baird said. “Things like music and children’s ministry, and even funds to get the church off the ground are still required.”