Mission Xposure 2021 Re-Imagined
The annual Mission Xposure (MX) trips are a vital experiential component of a student’s time at SBC. It is a way in which students can consistently integrate what they are learning at a practical, ministry level.
In February of a typical year, students would have branched out to partner with ministries in Winnipeg (MX1), Northern Manitoba (MX2), and in international locations (MX3). However, in a year of restricted travel and altered plans due to COVID, MissionX has also provided opportunity to be creative in how ministry and outreach can be done.
This year’s MX3 team of 11 students planned to travel to Turkey with Professor Arlene Friesen and her husband Jacob. The pandemic forced the cancellation of these plans, but not the cancellation of ministry. The intent for this trip was to introduce students to those parts of the world unreached with the good news of Christ and the Kingdom.
Most of our students had never met a Muslim before this class. Most Muslims in a country like Turkey have never met a Christian. Embassy, an online ministry of relationship building and seed-planting, is changing that for our students. Throughout this year, the MX3 team have been developing relationships with Muslims in closed countries, including Turkey, who are interested in friendships and practising English with native speakers. Some of these social media relationships have led to great faith conversations.
The second aspect of MX3 this year relates to prayer. Professor Arlene and Jacob have twice attended a prayer conference in Turkey called Groundwork: praying for the Muslim world with over 600 workers and children. These conferences inspired in them a conviction that prayer is the work of ministry; it ought not to be our last resort. “This pandemic is giving us a chance to act on that conviction! Students are engaging in weekly prayer groups, connecting with workers and believers from Muslim background in Turkey,” notes Professor Arlene. “From April 18-22, we plan to hold an intensive prayer retreat as a class.” Finally, students are raising funds to support a biblical training initiative of the Turkish church, a year-long discipleship in community program. If you would like to support an MX3 student, you can do so through the SBC website’s “One Time Donation” form at SBCollege.ca/Donate.
“Traveling to Turkey and spending three weeks experiencing culture, ministry, and relationships would have been amazing,” says Professor Arlene. She continues, “But looking back, we see that our Option C for MX3 has turned out to be an unexpected blessing, with months of relationship-building and growth in prayer as the outcome. Some of these relationships will continue, God willing, even into the Kingdom to come.”
2021 marks the 25th time SBC students would have travelled north for MX. Although COVID has not permitted students to physically go that direction, the desire was still there to make adjustments so that students’ hearts could still go to the various communities. For the first half of the Winter Semester, classes helped introduce students to the history of Canada’s indigenous people. The course assignments opened a window through which they could see into the lives of these people. Learning a few Cree hymns provided a wonderful opportunity to worship God in their language.
The second half of the semester has focused on preparing for the “visit.” Students were placed into teams of four and assigned to a community, as in previous years. Phone calls, texts or Facebook Messenger chats have built relationships with believers in each community. Weekly prayer times focused on the needs they expressed by these contacts in each community. Students have been recording services including music, testimonies, and scripture to send to the believers in their community.
Students have also been working to support the ministry of Midway Bible Camp based out of Thompson and run by the mission that hosts SBC’s MX teams each year. From April 18-22, SBC students will record children’s ministry videos at Winkler Bible Camp. Midway plans to share these with former campers to encourage them.
“We are thankful that the purposes of MissionX can continue. It has been so encouraging to see the students’ hearts make the trip north again, as they sought to reach out and love their new northern friends,” says Professor Gord Penner, leader of MX2.
In an unusual year of distance and caution due to COVID, many of SBC’s first year students are eager to experience ministry in Winnipeg’s core area. What is God doing in the middle of a pandemic?
“I am so excited for MX1. I’m glad to get to serve the people in the inner-city of Winnipeg. I finally get to serve others! I get to serve others in a mission setting,” says first-year student, Nolan.
They have already spent an ample amount of time together in their small groups over the past few months, praying for the ministries they will visit, and encouraging one another through the challenges they are facing.
Students, lead by Professor Carl Loewen, will visit ministries like Inner City Youth Alive, Salvation Army, Union Gospel Mission, Living Bible Explorers, and Siloam Mission over the coming weekend. Ministry opportunities will include helping with drop ins, youth events, soup kitchens, sorting donated clothing, and serving with music.
Most of our ministry partners from previous years have been gracious and ready to help mentor and encourage a new group of students.
“I am excited to see how God is at work in Winnipeg and how He will be at work in our lives, showing us how we can be servants and show Christ’s love to those around us! I also look forward to gaining a bigger perspective as we learn what each ministry does and how they are at work in the community,” says fellow first-year student, Kalia.