What Do Trevecca, Olivet and Short Term Missions Have in Common?
They're Changing Hearts and Changing the World. We've been referring to the Short Term Team in Ibarra right now as the "May College Team." So, why "May," why "College"? and why does it even matter?
Why "May"? is pretty self-explanatory: it's May! But why the college team happens in May is another story. We schedule the May College Teams in conjunction with the graduation dates of the universities that are coming on the project. They have a few days after graduation, but not too much time, so the students can stay close to their university between graduation and the project.
Why "College"? Extreme has been partnering with Trevecca and Olivet Nazarene Universities for the past few years to bring teams down to help us plant churches in South America. What better addition to an already great Christian education than to go out into the world, bringing Christ?
We're thrilled about our partnership with these universities and are excited that the upcoming years of having more church planting teams on the ground will expand our opportunity to partner with our Nazarene universities to bring even more teams down.
Students that come on the project do not have to attend a Nazarene university to come, the only requirement is to be college-aged for these special projects, but the majority of the teams that come down are lead by a university representative who works with the students before and after the project to integrate their experience with their school's particular goals. Hannah Saxton, on the current project, is a college student from a different school who came to Love Extreme last year and was eager to come back to Ecuador and participate in how God's moving in our churches.
Like Hannah, many of the participants on this year's project have come on previous years' projects. It's really great to see how God works in the students' lives and brings them back to continue to partner with and support our church planters.
It's also an especially great time of mutual edification for our church planting missionaries and the college teams who come down. They are peers and both are encouraged and refreshed when they get to be co-workers in the ministry in South America.
In fact, sometimes the bond forged is strong and God speaks so clearly that our College Team members later apply to be 40/40 Church Planting Missionaries. Dani Neiderheiser, Trevecca University graduate, is an awesome example of this.
Chris Stringer, Short Term Missions Manager, says of Dani:
I have had the pleasure of working with Dani on two short-term projects, in the cities of Arequipa, Peru and Ambato/Ibarra Ecuador. His constant smile and good attitude are infectious. His humility and desire to serve in any way possible was evident. He was always looking for ways to dive right in, not afraid to get his hands dirty. It was obvious that the Lord worked in and through his life during both of those projects. In them, the Lord called him to something deeper and bigger than he could imagine. For Dani, that means being a 40/40 Church Planting Missionary with Extreme. I know that the future of the Cordoba, Argentina church plant is bright when people like Dani are willing to say “Here I am Lord, send me.”
Dani and his team, including Ashley Hoffner, fellow TNU graduate and Extreme Short Term Alumna, are arriving in Cordoba, Argentina, this week to begin their ministry. It's a really neat full-circle moment to think that two-years ago this month, Dani came to South America on his first Extreme Short Term project, last May he returned on his second, this May he's beginning a church plant that will receive a College Short Term team next May.
It's beautiful how God takes our small obediences and weaves them into a tapestry more beautiful than we could have imagined on our own. The threads brought in by our College Teams have far reaching, beautiful and eternal impact.