At Columbia, we send out a variety of short-term mission teams each year. Some of these teams draw exclusively from specific programs such as Quest, however other teams are open to the entire student body. In the past few years, we have sent teams to Costa Rica, Thailand, Mexico and Peru, while also partnering with Mennonite Disaster Service to provide assistance in Louisiana, Alabama and Texas.
Most often these trips take place immediately after Winter semester (depart in late April) for two-three weeks, or during the one-week Reading Week (late February). Our mission teams have been involved in a wide range of activities such as: youth ministry, drama, caring for children, construction, disaster relief, teaching English and street evangelism.
Our objectives in sending out these teams are geared toward Christ-like service in another setting, as well as providing significant learning experiences for our students. Even though these trips are relatively short in duration, we hope that students will gain exposure to the dynamics of cross-cultural mission, cultivate cross-cultural mission skills, contribute to the missional efforts of the church in their ministry setting, and clarify their own sense of call toward mission.
We have found that these mission trips change people’s lives – the lives of our students as well as the lives of those they go to serve. Experiencing first-hand the amazing things that God is doing in the world though his people challenges one to ask: “How does my life fit into the great story of God’s mission?”