Summer Missionary 2023

Jackson Wright

Where do you currently attend school? Saint Charles Community College in Troy, MO
Where are you serving this summer, and who is your mentor?
Redemption Ranch in Winfield, MO, with Jason Zellmer
How did you first encounter Jesus Christ, and how has His lordship continued to change your life?
Growing up in a Christian household I had heard about God my whole life from parents, grandparents and Sunday school. I loved God but was still too young to fully comprehend what it meant to give my life to Him. It wasn’t until I was about 5 years old when I realized I needed saving. Around this time I was diagnosed with Tourette syndrome, and it was very hard for 5-year-old me to understand . I remember my parents sitting me down one night and explaining what Tourette’s was. I was scared and confused. My parents told me to trust God with it, and it was in that moment I decided I needed to put my faith in God and trust Him. I gave my life to Him that night, and it was the greatest decision I ever made. Looking back, it is so amazing how He used something that was such a big struggle for me at the time, to help bring me to Him. Later on when I entered middle schoo,l I had a hard time finding a place where I belonged. It wasn’t until I began going to my church’s youth group and was surrounded by Christian peers that I felt at home. It was during this time that I really began to make my faith my own and as I matured. Form attending youth group, to going to camps and missions trips, to serving in my community. Over the 7 years of middle school and high schoo,l I really grew in my faith and got to know Christ better. That time in my life was transformational for me and it is why I feel called to someday be a youth pastor. Until then, I am very excited to see how God will use me this summer, and am excited to help share His glory with kids who are at such an important age in their lives.
What does the church mean to you?
I was homeschooled since 4th grade and moved from Manchester to Troy the summer before I entered middle school. Having just moved to a new city, and being about to start one of the hardest grades of school, I was very nervous. It was very hard for me to make friends given that I didn’t go to public school and didn’t know anyone in the new city. I was very depressed and lonely but continued to pray and trust God with it. Eventually I began going to my youth group and instantly loved it. I signed up for summer camp the next day, tried not to miss any youth events, and eventually met some of my best friends and influential leaders in my life. For the first time I was able to really grow in the Lord with other Christians who were going through similar struggles as me. I think it is so important for us as Christians to be the body and connect with our brothers and sisters in Christ, and grow with them. It was also during this time that I was able to see the impact and reach a church can have in the community. Service projects, VBS, missions trips. Through the church God provided so many amazing opportunities for me to reach out and share His glory with others.
As a student, how have you shared – and are currently sharing – your faith with others?
As a student it was very easy to share God with others. Youth groups are such an easy and approachable thing to invite people too. All throughout school I was inviting people to come and have fun and praise Jesus. Now that I am older and am around not just people my ages, but people of all ages whether that be at work or just out, it has become a lot harder. I try to be as open about my faith and as loving as possible at work. By being polite and demonstrating God’s character, I have been able to have many conversations about God with my co workers. I would say that hardest area for me to share my faith is when I am with my friends. It is crazy how much easier it is to share your faith with a complete stranger than with someone you know very well. Seeing my friends participate in the things the world has to offer is very heartbreaking and can be discouraging. It is hard to say what they’re doing is wrong in a way that is loving and does not come off as judgmental, as I myself am also a sinner. Although I am still trying to figure out what the best way to share my faith with them is, I have found that not joining in sinful things with them and praying for them has been a great way to help show God’s love as it causes them to ask questions about why I choose not to participate in certain things.
What do you feel is your vocational call (future career), and how do you anticipate sharing your faith through that call?
I feel very strongly that God is calling me so be in some sort of ministry when I am older. I am very passionate about it and would love to someday be a youth or children’s pastor. I really want to connect with the kids at that age and let God use me so that He can have a profound impact on those kids. Just as God used my youth pastor to really teach me and help me grow in the Lord, I pray that I would be able to share my faith in a similar way.
Why do you want to be a summer missionary?
I believe no matter what you’re doing in life, if you have accepted Christ as your Savior, you should strive to live on mission. You don’t have to be on a missions trip to evangelize to someone. Any interaction you have with someone whether short or long, we should try and demonstrate God’s love in some way. I do not follow this perfectly and many times fall short, but I constantly pray for God’s strength to live more like Him. I really want to be a summer missionary because of the amazing way God can use me. I have been on 3 missions trips to inner city Memphis to help under privileged kids learn about God. When I was there, we ran a VBS for the kids and it was so cool to see God work in their lives! I hope to serve God this summer by serving as a missionary in my own community and am excited to see how God will use me to share His love with people so close to home!