Pursuit: Experiencing the Global Church
Pursuit Experiential Leadership team of students traveled to Brazil as part of their international mission experience component in the beginning of March. The group of six students and two leaders partnered with Quest, a camp organization located in the state of Santa Catarina run by Scott and Patsy Buhler.
Students were able to participate in various service projects from pulling weeds to running an English Retreat, something Pursuit Director Randy Krahn was particularly looking forward to being able to do. “It sort of felt like we were able to finish what we’d started,” Krahn stated. He reflected that, due to the loss of a student from a burst appendix a year ago, they naturally did not move forward with the English Retreat they had planned. “In many ways, the English Retreat [this year] was a great fulfillment of what we had been planning to do for so long.”
Connecting with the pastors from the church that stepped up to help the team in all ways possible last year was so important to Krahn and SBC President Rob Reimer, who joined the team on their trip this year. “They demonstrated to us in a very real and tangible way what love looks like, what the Body of Christ looks like, and what it looks like to be a light in the middle of a very dark time.”
Pursuit student Zoey Penner also looked back on her time in Brazil and noted the value of experiencing diversity in God’s creation saying that,
“Connecting with the people through their own language and through worship was so much fun. That’s something I’ll cherish forever, to know that there’s a greater community out there than what we have here in North America. It’s so beautiful to see how diverse God has made us.”
Kailee Thiessen, another Pursuit team member, expressed similar sentiments, “It opens your eyes to different perspectives of the Church.” She noted how the experience of worshipping together with a Brazilian church in Portuguese helped her gain a more global perspective of the Church in general. “Understanding that our church doesn’t all speak English, the Church of Christ speaks so many languages and all over the world people are worshipping Christ. We worship together and we serve the same God.”
Pursuit is a program designed to provide students with adventure and experience based learning. This tight-knit group of students study God’s Word, worship, and serve together while also participating in things like outdoor challenges and ministry tasks meant to build up skills in teamwork and leadership. Though their year concludes in an online format and having had to cancel their scheduled trip to serve with Mennonite Disaster Services (MDS), they learn to face new challenges as a team and exploring new avenues of worship expression together. Krahn says of the end of year, “Through our time together ‘Seeking First God’s Kingdom’ we’ve seen God prove himself faithful to us and I’m confident that this will continue to be our experience as we conclude our semester online.”