The Bridge MOVal and The Bridge Culver-Stockton Team Up for Mississippi Trip

MBCollegiate Ministry: The Bridge Collegiate (Missouri Valley College)

Campus Missionary: Marita Avilez

Mission Trip Dates: March 2-8, 2024

Destination: Olive Branch, Mississippi

Partner Organizations: The Bridge Collegiate at Culver-Stockton

# Students on Trip: 11

# Nonstudents on Trip: 7

Organization(s) Served: New Prospect Baptist Church

What did your group do during the mission trip?

During the day, we broke up into groups to do service projects: one group stayed at the camp ground where we stayed for the week to pick up sticks, paint a building, blow leaves, repair a roof, etc. One or 2 other groups went to houses of widows from the church. At the houses, we did a lot of yard work, washed a camper, moved heavy objects.

On Sunday, we attended New Prospect Baptist Church and helped serve the meal for their singles ministry.

On Wednesday, we did service projects at the church during the day and that evening helped with their youth group and Team Kids programs.

In the evenings, we had a group lead worship for our team and a guest speaker. He talked about finding God’s purpose for your life. Then we had a team debrief where we shared highs and lows from the day and ended with info for the next day.

Any noteworthy decisions (salvations, baptisms, life transformation, etc.)?

During the trip we didn’t witness any salvations. However, the week after the trip, Carlos (an MVC student who went on the trip) asked to meet with me. He shared that he grew up in Catholic home and knew a lot about religion: do this, don’t do that. He had really been struggling since coming to college and being away from his family and church. He would do things he knew he shouldn’t do and felt bad about it but kept doing them anyway.

He said that one night on the mission trip a group of our students were on the van jamming to Christian

music, singing their hearts out. That really moved him and he realized that they loved Jesus and had a relationship with Him. He realized he wanted that too and began a personal relationship with Jesus that night.

He shared that he has been filled with so much joy since then and really wants to live for God. His desires have changed, and he wants to grow. We started meeting weekly for discipleship; he stared reading his Bible daily and talking with his roommate about Jesus. Carlos was already planning on transferring to a different school for next year, but he says he now sees why God brought him to MVC this year.

What was one challenge your group experienced?

It rained one day so we weren’t able to get as much work done outside. But we switched gears quickly and helped a lady who had some indoor projects. We finished rather quickly but it was still raining so we spent some time just talking with her and she enjoyed it. It helped our group focus more on the people than the task.

What was one way you saw your group grow through this trip?

After the mission trip, Tracey (an MVC student who went on the trip) said that she would like to do discipleship and we started meeting weekly.

Also, saw the relationships between our students improve. Several students who already knew each other grew closer together. We had several newer students on the trip, and it was great to see them getting to know the others and connecting.

It was also fun to have the Culver Stockton crew with us. Malia is one of our former students, so we enjoyed getting caught up with her as well as supporting her in her efforts with The Bridge at Culver Stockton. She brought two students with her so it was great for them, as well as Josh, to catch the vision of what their group could grow into and things they could in the future. Our group always loves meeting other college students, so they enjoyed hanging out and working together for the week.

How did you see God working on your trip?

On our way to Olive Branch, we saw two MVC sisters pass our van. Izzy is friends with the two girls, and they have come to the ministry some. She texted them and told them that she saw them.

About an hour later, one of the girls called her upset, sharing that they had stopped at a gas station in Memphis and locked their keys in the car. A man “trying to help” broke the window out of their car and then told them they owed him money for helping and in the process stole all the money from her Cash App. They said they didn’t have any money for gas and were scared.

Izzy told me about the conversation and asked what we could do. We offered to help pay for their gas. They said their parents were coming to pick them up but wouldn’t arrive for 3 hours. We told them that we were about 30 minutes away from them and that they should come hang out with us until their parents arrived.

We were headed to Starbucks, so we had them meet us there, bought them drinks, and hugged and comforted them. Then they followed us back to the campground and hung out with us until their parents arrived to help drive them home. It was a crazy situation but I’m glad we were able to help out in some way. Izzy had been trying to reach out to these girls and get them connected, and I feel like God used this situation to help with that.

Anything else you want us to know about your trip?

One afternoon on the trip after we finished our projects, we stopped at a coffee shop and played pickleball next door. While we were there, I saw 3 ladies gathered around their car that had flat tire. I observed that they didn’t really know what to do and might need some help. I mentioned it to Clayton and asked if he knew how to change a tire. He said that he did and asked them if he could help. They gratefully accepted his offer and he proceeded to change the tire for them.

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