At Impact, collegians serve churches in Yuma, Mexico
By Amelia Dellaripa, Photos by Christian Challenge | Nov 16, 2022
Every two years, Christian Challenge Arizona hosts a statewide missions experience called Impact. The purpose of Impact is to inspire college students to catch a vision for God’s heart for all peoples, here and abroad, by studying God’s Word and providing opportunities to serve locally and across the world. The students do this by joining local churches on mission in their context.
“Joyful,” was the word Arizona Christian University student Mikaela Orr used to describe the weekend mission trip. “It brings a lot of joy to us, as well as to the people who we serve,” she said.
The mission of Christian Challenge, the collegiate ministry of the Arizona Southern Baptist Mission Network, is to engage college students with the Gospel, develop disciples of Jesus Christ and mobilize servant leaders for the church.
For Impact 2022, students traveled to Yuma to serve churches in Yuma Southern Baptist Association and in parts of Mexico. Throughout the weekend, students were inspired by God’s heart for the lost and were encouraged by studying God’s Word and taking advantage of local and global service opportunities.
Before the 142 registered students and staff had the opportunity to get their hands dirty, Matthew Spandler-Davison, executive director and co-founder of 20 Schemes, delivered a powerful sermon to reset everyone’s heart posture.
Using Gideon from Judges 6 as an example, Spandler-Davison illustrated that we are just like him: weak and afraid. But, despite these worldly labels, God called Gideon “a mighty man of valor.” (Judges 6:12)
“God addresses us by what He will do with us, not by what we are,” Spandler-Davison said. He further emphasized his point when he added, “[God] doesn’t need us, but God, in his grace and mercy, choses to use us and transform us by his Word.”
From this message, the mindset Challenge students and staff had going into the weekend was this: Because of our broken nature, nothing we do can impress God, so all acts of service are, ultimately, acts of worship.
Students and staff were able to serve seven churches in Yuma and three churches in San Luis, Mexico. Tasks varied greatly and included childcare, landscaping, a fall festival and even construction.
“The guy we helped didn’t even have money for meals,” Jonas Carman, Arizona State University student, said about the man he and his team served at Nueva Jerusalem in Mexico.
“His roof had holes in it, so he was getting rained on. … He could barely walk … and doesn’t know if he has any family.”
Carman and his team of students felt moved to donate all the food they brought to this man, who ultimately gave his life to Christ.
“This missions experience … [teaches students] that there are people just like them on all these different campuses throughout our state to create unity, but most importantly, to give us opportunity to share the Gospel through the associations and local churches,” Lainee Pegelow, Christian Challenge communications specialist and missions coordinator, said.
As the weekend concluded, Pegelow encouraged students that no matter what assignment they had, everything they did was valuable. From conversations with little kids about their Halloween costumes, clearing out and organizing supply closets, making sandwiches and door-to-door evangelism conversations, students were ambassadors of Christ.
Spandler-Davison talked about this in his second sermon. He convicted students by calling out the worldly security, comfort, prosperity and reputation that many are not willing to sacrifice in exchange for being bold for God.
Pegelow and Spandler-Davison understand that all believers are called to missions in Matthew 28, and that believers can be the hands and feet of God’s plan no matter where they are.
“We don’t need a sign to serve, we just need courage and faith,” Spandler-Davison said.
With this call to action as the final message for the weekend, students left southern Arizona and Mexico with motivation and memories that will fuel the desire to share the Good News with their respective campuses and communities.
Amelia Dellaripa, a student at Arizona State University Downtown Campus, attends Mercy Hill Church in Phoenix.