Why I Believe in IMPACT Trips
By Amanda Veenstra - March 31, 2015
Posted in Student Ministry, High School Ministry
Honduras, Peru, Ecuador, The Amazon Jungle, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Haiti, Kenya – over the years Individuals Making People Aware of Christ’s Teaching (IMPACT) have been traveling to nations all over the world! It’s a high value of NMC Student Ministries to see students be spiritual reproducers – individuals who are taking the message of what Christ has done in their own lives and investing that into the lives of others. As part of that mission, IMPACT allows students to take on Christ’s great co-mission to “Go and make disciples of all nations…” (Matthew 28:19).
At first glance, IMPACT may seem like just an opportunity for students to travel to the nations and, as you saw from the list above, it is what we do. But what I love about IMPACT is the reverse Matthew 28:19 affect, where students who have felt the call to “go and make disciples”, go and find themselves being made into disciples – coming face-to-face with their own brokenness, seeing God’s heart for the nations, and leaving empowered to live missionally & engage with God’s disciple-making call wherever they go.
I believe in IMPACT as an agent of allowing students to come face-to-face with their own brokenness.
Coming face-to-face with our own brokenness doesn’t really sound like that great of a draw or promotion piece! But when I consider all those who have walked through an IMPACT experience over the years, I’m reminded of faces, stories, moments of brokenness that brought with it a changed perspective which resulted in changed lives!
It was during the 6-month training process for a trip to the Dominican Republic that a student shared specifically how they wanted to take Jesus love to those people who have nothing at all. I remember a conversation with that same student as we wrapped up our 10-day trip. Broken and through tears they shared how overwhelmed and challenged they were by the love that had been poured out on them during the week from those who literally had nothing (material stuff) in comparison. This student went on to share their realization of misplaced trust in the things they had instead of trusting in & finding joy in the Giver of all we need. It’s been nearly 10 years since that trip and this student’s life has never looked the same – radically changed by the perspective gained.
I believe in IMPACT as an opportunity to see God’s heart for the nations.
It’s what we do, we travel outside the U.S. and with that comes a whole new viewpoint of God’s masterpiece called Creation! When I think of how God has captured hearts for the foreign mission field, there are so many names that come to mind. Kayla Koontz, part of an IMPACT team to Mexico and another to Kenya, now serving in Mae Sot, Thailand along the Thai/Burma border with Outpour Ministries. Lindsay Ziegler, sophomore at Bethel College who got a whole new perspective of God on an IMPACT trip to Mexico, the Dominican Republic, & then again in Kenya, currently finishing out a 3-month semester abroad serving alongside Kayla in Thailand. Jessica Tuttle, NMC alum who traveled with IMPACT to Honduras, gained a passion for the mission field and has been traveling for nearly 9-months on The World Race with Adventures in Missions, serving 3 months in Guatemala, then Thailand, & now finishing up in Zambia. And the list goes on – students seeking out short-term missions and those in the process toward long-term – many of who recount IMPACT as a starting point for launching them into a fight, a love, and a hope for the nations.
I believe in IMPACT as an experience that empowers students to live missionally and engage with God’s disciple-making call wherever they go.
A changed perspective creates opportunity for a changed life. That’s what IMPACT does – it gives students a different vantage point. They get a new perspective of God, a new perspective on humanity, and a new perspective on how to use their humanity to live fully and missionally for God.
Just as incredible to me as the stories of those who have felt the call of God to the foreign mission field are the stories of those who have embraced the day-to-day disciple-making call right where they are.
Kory Lantz, Student Min alum, Bethel grad, and a familiar name around NMC, is one such story of a student who gained a whole new perspective on the foreign mission field that took his life in a different direction. As a part of an IMPACT team to Peru, Kory’s life continued to transform even as he came back home. He began to see people differently, more deeply. And what started as a Friday night ministry to some homeless guys down the street from Bethel, turned into a passion for the Keller Park neighborhood and the families who live there. Soon, Kory and his wife Alison, felt God’s call to not only embrace the neighborhood of Keller Park but to move in. They now lead Transformation Ministries and are walking alongside students & families daily showing them the heart of Jesus. More specifically, they and several others have been walking closely with a small group of students in a discipleship-focused mentor program called Iron Sharpens Iron (ISI).
Now, Kory & Alison Lantz, alongside High School Pastor Tim & Kelbi Veenstra, will be leading a crew of 18 students (11 from NMC, 7 from ISI) on the IMPACT Spring Break Team headed to the Dominican Republic this Friday! This team is full of incredible potential, not just in its make-up of students, but potential for incredible life-change to happen!
And we would like to invite you to join us in praying for just that! We invite you to pray with us for these students & their leaders. Pray they would come face-to-face with their own brokenness and learn a deeper trust in their Heavenly Father. Pray they would have eyes open to see God’s heart for the nations. And pray they would be empowered to live missionally and engage with God’s disciple-making call wherever they go!
You can follow along with this team’s journey next week on the blog or on our HSM Facebook Page.