Bluefield College Students Share the Love of Christ with Students in China
Seven Bluefield College students recently returned from a Spring Break trip to China, but the venture abroad was not your typical chance for rest and relaxation. The BC student s were on a mission to "model Christ" and to share with students from the Communist country "what it means to be a Christian."
May 1, 2009
For 10 days, the Bluefield College team interacted primarily with students from the Jiangsu Institute in Nanjing, China, and other residents in Nanjing and Beijing. Their purpose was clear, but the process was not so obvious.
"Since China is a Communist country, you cannot go there with the intention of evangelizing," said BC campus minister David Taylor, an advisor on the tour. "You simply try to model Christ or to be Christ to the students you come into contact with and share with them what it means to be a Christian."
The BC students worked within Jiangsu classes, where they presented material about life as a college student in the United States and, if the opportunity arose, ideas and messages about faith and family.
"If we had the chance, we shared some tidbits about our faith," said Nathan Cronk, a senior from Floyd, Virginia, majoring in exercise and sport science, "but nothing hardcore -- just plant a seed here and there and get them thinking.
Seth Jones, a senior from Hebron, Maryland, majoring in biology, spoke about the same challenge. He said that although the team was not able to directly minister to the Chinese students, they were able to show pictures from home, which included images of churches, family, and Christmas.
"The entire time with the students was filled with excitement and wonderful interaction," said Jones. "I had what was possibly the best time in my life, and I miss it very much."
The students exchanged e-mail addresses with their Chinese counterparts with the hope of building on their relationships and continuing to witness. The trip, according to President David Olive, may also lead to an academic exchange program between Jiangsu Institute and Bluefield College.
"Our students were a wonderful representation of the college," the president said about the mission trip. "Hopefully we'll have several Jiangsu students and a professor here next semester and more Bluefield College students in China next spring."
Joining Dr. Olive, Taylor, Cronk and Jones on the China mission trip were students Evan Sherman of Newport, Pennsylvania, Christian Ruark of Parsonsburg, Maryland, Emily Wingfield of Gloucester, Virginia, Nicki Childress of Glen Allen, Virginia, and Courtney Willard of Archdale, North Carolina, as well as Professor Scott Shauf and Dr. Olive's wife, Kathryn.
The Bluefield College spring 2009 project in China is just one of many ways the school strives to fulfill its mission of being a Christ-centered college in service to God and the global community. Last spring, BC students traveled on mission to South Africa. In the spring of 2007, students served on mission at Graffiti Church in New York City. Other missions abroad have included trips to China in the summer of 2006, Brazil in the spring of 2006, and Europe in the summer of 2005.