Bluefield University in the News

BC BRINGS MISSION FIELD TO STUDENTS 12-10

by | Dec 21, 2010

As part of its mission to be in service to God and the global community, Bluefield College sponsors a variety of mission opportunities for its students, including most recently to South Africa, China, Austria, and Peru.

But, when students can’t travel abroad or trips oversees just won’t fit into the schedule, the college brings the international mission field to its students on campus through its Missionary-in-Residence Program.

For years, Bluefield College has offered a Missionary-in-Residence (MIR) Program that brings missionaries from around the world to the BC campus so that they might share the international missions experience with the campus community while enjoying a much-deserved break from the field.

“We bring the mission experience to every aspect of our campus life so that students don’t have to travel abroad to learn about mission work,” said BC Campus Minister David Taylor. “It also helps our students realize how fortunate and how blessed they are, compared to other parts of the world.”

In fact, this fall semester the college hosted International Mission Board missionaries Jose Alberto Melo and his wife, Ilga, who along with their children Heidi (10) and Patrick (8) have been working as IMB missionaries in Lithuania for two years. The Melos used the semester furlough in Bluefield to share their passion about missions with the campus community.

“I have missionary blood and desire within me,” said Jose, who helps train church leaders and grow churches in Lithuania. “I am passionate about caring and training the people of the church.”

Jose attended college in Brazil before devoting his life to mission work. An international missionary for about 20 years now, he has worked in teaching, pastoral, and executive positions throughout his ministry. Currently working as an Urban Strategist in Lithuania, it is Jose’s job to know where in the city the Gospel needs to be shared and how to go about sharing it.

“I prayed for years to go to the field before God called me,” Jose said. “Wherever I go, I always have a chance to help communities.”

He has spent more than a decade on the mission field in Europe, cultivating church leaders, assisting in community development, and planting churches. During his sabbatical in Bluefield, he created music with students, traveled with and cheered on the soccer and volleyball teams, shared devotions and led studies, and helped with odd jobs around campus. Ilga, an avid violinist, provided private music lessons for students.

“They were always happy, helpful, and willing to teach,” said sophomore student Devon Mathews about the Melos.

An established pastor in both Brazil and Slovakia, Jose loves building relationships and teaching others about God’s word, and the extent of that ministry during his sabbatical stretched far beyond the Bluefield College campus. In fact, he and Ilga regularly attended First Baptist Church in Princeton, West Virginia, where Jose was invited to preach.

“It was a privilege to share God’s message of salvation,” he said about his preaching experience.
After completing their semester furlough at BC, the Melos returned to Bratislava, Slovakia, where they began another two-year stint on mission. Before going, Jose said he hopes to return to Bluefield on his next sabbatical for an even longer period of time.

“Bluefield is full of very sweet, polite, and friendly people,” he said. “Our time here has been refreshing. The staff, students, and community members have made this place feel like home.”

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