Michelle, an international relations student at Liberty University, wasn’t sure what she’d do after graduation. But she did know she heard God’s call to serve during spring break, and she obeyed. Rather than spend the week taking a breather from her studies, she opted to travel to Málaga, Spain for a short-term experience through the G5 Project, part of Christar’s Málaga Valley Initiative. This partnership between Christar and Liberty is designed to give students a taste of how God could use their gifts and skills for His glory among the least-reached.
Over the course of a week, Michelle and the dozens of other students on this trip had opportunities to serve through several local NGOs, interact with refugees and use the skills they’re learning through their studies to minister in numerous ways. For example, communications students put their training to work as they assisted local organizations in improving their communications strategies, and theater students put on several performances that conveyed spiritual truth.
These aren’t just opportunities to serve for a few days and experience another country. Each G5 trip is designed to give students gain a firsthand understanding that their careers are pathways with eternal ramifications, ones through which they can participate in ministry among the least-reached—often in places that cannot be reached using a traditional missionary model.
God used Michelle’s time in Málaga both to guide her regarding her future plans and to give her increased boldness in sharing the gospel. “I used to be afraid when it came to talking about my faith with others, mainly because I was afraid of rejection,” Michelle recalls. “But when I went to Spain, I felt something inside me, a burden to tell people about Jesus and about how much He loves them.” Throughout the course of the week, the Lord impressed the word “fearless” upon her heart, using the words of Joshua 1:8-9 to encourage her to “Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
God met her newfound courage and desire with opportunity: Before she headed back to the U.S., Michelle was able to share the gospel with three people, and she’s carried this boldness with her since she’s returned. From now on, she says, “I have to be fearless when it comes to sharing my faith and loving others.”
Michelle has also returned to school with a new appreciation of her testimony and an understanding of how God could use her minor in French to enable her to reach out to the many refugees who speak this language. And, most significant of all, she’s begun to sense the Lord’s leading regarding her post-graduation plans.
“I totally see God starting to reveal Himself and His perfect plans for my life, including my future career,” she shares. “But God is a faithful God and in this trip He has revealed His perfect plan for me. … I hope to get to work with refugees in the future, to serve them and love them the same way Jesus loves them. And also, I hope to tell them that there is still hope in this world and that hope is found in Jesus Christ.”
Michelle is one of over 100 students who’ve taken weeklong exposure trips to Málaga as part of the G5 Project, and numerous others are completing internships and study abroad opportunities. It’s our prayer that each one will come away with a clear understanding that God can use their gifts and skills for His glory in least-reached communities.
We’re investing in G5 because we’ve continually seen the Lord call young people to long-term ministry through short-term experiences: Approximately two-thirds of long-term Christar workers are on the field today because they were presented with the opportunity to serve God cross-culturally through a short-term trip early in their career development. We’re trusting Him that many of the students participating in G5 trips will one day look back on their experiences in Spain as times when He prompted them to use their careers for eternal purposes.
Michelle sums up the message we pray students will take away from their G5 experiences: “God has given to each one of us special and unique skills, gifts and talents to serve in His Kingdom.” When asked what she wants other students to know about how God could use their skills and gifts after graduation, she shares, “My best advice is that they don’t have to think about it twice. They should go. … I have discovered that there is no greater joy than to serve and love other people around the world, the same way Jesus loves us. … He will use your unique skills and gifts in such an amazing and mysterious way.”
The trips offered through the Málaga Valley Initiative—and the opportunities they provide students to discover how the Lord could work through their careers—are only possible if funds are available. Through your donations to the Málaga Valley Initiative, the next generation of Christian workers is learning, firsthand, how God can use their professions to build His kingdom in least-reached communities.
How can I get involved?
- Pray for students and faculty who will participate in the remaining G5 trips this year.
- Pray that more students will take advantage of internship opportunities in Spain.
- Ask that interns will see God use them to bring people to Himself.
- Pray for clear direction for students as they determine God’s direction for their future ministries.