Missions Week Celebrated

Events Scheduled Jan. 16 to 21

By: Emily Forshee

A map at the Atlas indicates current student missionary posts.

Since Walla Walla University’s first student missionary served 52 years ago, the university’s Student Missions program has grown to almost 100 students participating each year.

This week WWU is celebrating hosts a Missions Week to encourage students to become involved in service. Jeanne Vories, student missions director, says WWU has celebrated Missions Week as long as she can remember. “I began at WWU in 1988.  At that time John Cress was chaplain and the week was called “Servanthood Week,” says Vories.  About ten years later, the week became Missions Week. This year the Student Missions staff has organized a full schedule of activities to encourage and celebrate service.

This will be the fifth year Student Missions has hosted an International Lunch on Sabbath. Anyone with an interest in missions is invited, including returned student missionaries. The potluck is on Sabbath, Jan. 21, at 1:15 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall of the University Church. Student Missions staff provide the majority of the food, and faculty and staff pitch in as well. Every year, 200 to 300 students typically attend. The menu represents three different types of cuisine. Asian foods on the menu are from Japan, Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, and India. The Latin American food includes dishes from Mexico, El Salvador, Ecuador, and Costa Rica. The European dishes are from Italy, France, Greece, and the Middle East. “Our Missions Week guests also enjoy the opportunity to meet and talk to many mission-minded students in a more relaxed setting,” says Vories.

On Wednesday at 9:30 p.m., John Baxter of Adventist Frontier Missions will speak for Fireside Worship behind Sittner Hall.

Thursday evening, student missions staff will be in the dorm lobbies to talk with students from 7-9 p.m. 

Friday night vespers at 8 p.m. in the University Church will feature two returned student missionaries. Lisa McMillian will speak about her experiences in Bangladesh and Mathieu Williams will speak about his experiences at the Marshall Islands.

During the first part of the week, events included, “Around The World in 80 Minutes.” Hosted by Servants of the Master club, the event provided an opportunity to learn more about the different locations where students can serve as an student missionary. Two other events, “Wear An SM T-shirt Day” and “Wear an International Costume Day,” encouraged students to tell others about their experiences with missions.

These events connect students with past student missionaries and, most importantly, help them learn more about mission opportunities. Recruiters from around the globe visit the campus to recruit students. During the week, summer camp directors and recruiters visit the campus to look for summer camp staff.

Missions Week also provides the opportunity for past student missionaries to reconnect with friends. Vories advises students, “Go and talk to the guests at the booths in the cafeteria even if you are not able to go out this year. They can answer a lot of your questions and if nothing else, show you an area where you would rather not go when you are ready. There is certainly no pressure to go out this year. If someone is thinking about serving during the summer, summer camp is a wonderful opportunity. Summer camp staff and student missionaries have a lot in common—they all learn the joy that comes from service.”

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