Kentucky Woman’s Missionary Union
First in a series of Eliza Broadus Offering impact stories.
One day in the summer of 2012, Eduardo walked through his apartment complex in despair. His twin brother had just committed suicide, and his mother left him a bottle of pills and a note encouraging him to do the same thing.
Eduardo considered it, because his stepfather cruelly abused him. But that day he met guys from the Kentucky Baptist Collegiate MinistryExperience 1:8 team embedded with First Baptist Church, Shelbyville. Instead of suicide, through the witness and friendship of collegiate summer missionaries, he met Jesus.
The 1:8 students virtually adopted Eduardo and discipled him the rest of the summer. They helped Eduardo understand that his Heavenly Father had a purpose for his life and wanted him to live with victory over his fears and feelings of rejection. Open Door of Hope Men’s Shelter (an EBO recipient), Shelbyville Baptist Church, and the Experience 1:8 team worked together to help Eduardo in his tumultuous transition from broken to born again.
All over Kentucky, children, international college students, people living in low-income housing, fair workers, and camp-goers have been influenced by the enthusiasm and clear passion 1:8 team members have for Jesus Christ. Every summer through the ministry of 1:8 teams, salvation and life change results in many lives.
To be selected to serve on an Experience 1:8 team, students apply to serve in the fall semester. They receive training paid for in part by EBO funding through the spring semester and land on the field to serve for eight weeks in the summer.
Each Experience 1:8 team is provided a local missions opportunity and an international experience. Students have partnered with Kentucky WMU to lead summer camps and with local churches for area ministries. WMU staff and church members have the opportunity to work alongside the college students and mutually beneficial, lifelong friendships naturally happen.
“The beauty of Experience 1:8 is that it gives the opportunity for students to do one-on-one sharing of the gospel and to receive one-on-one mentoring from campus ministers and church leaders,” said Brian Combs, Collegiate Evangelism Strategist for the Kentucky Baptist Convention. “We prioritize helping students develop a biblical foundation of missions in an environment appropriate for effective spiritual and personal development. This positions students to learn what it means to be an active Christ-follower and to help more people encounter Jesus.”
“A holistic discipleship emphasis,” Combs explained, “provides each team with study plans that touch on everything from conflict resolution, how to plan ministry events, how to share your faith, to how to make good choices now that will lead to the best future later.
“Thank you, Kentucky Baptists, for continuing to support college students. Because of your gifts to Eliza Broadus Offering, college students are learning that they have power to serve. And given that 67 percent of our BCM students end up in leadership positions within the local church, your investment in college students is an investment in the local church that changes lives for eternity. That makes EBO a worthy investment,” Combs said.
Combs also is excited about expanding Experience 1:8 through Mission 1:8. “Starting this year, we are challenging former 1:8ers to step up to Mission 1:8 (M18). Each Kentucky BCM will have at least one or two M18 collegiate mobilizers that will assist in recruiting, developing and leading mission teams in Kentucky, the U.S., and around the world. M18 will increase the number of college students mobilized by more than six times to close to 200.”
Prayer request :College campuses today are some of the darkest places in the world. The party culture and rejection of God that is deliberately taught in classrooms bring doubt and destruction to huge numbers of young people. Kentucky Baptist Collegiate Ministries reach into this darkness and literally rescue lives, then teach them how to give their lives away in Christ’s name through missions experiences.
Pray that God will draw college students to His Son, Jesus Christ, as they start their fall semesters. Pray that God will guard, guide, and strengthen Christian college students. Pray that through the witness of Baptist Collegiate Ministries, many lives on campuses and in communities will be utterly transformed.