From this place: seniors move toward future in missions

Seniors share post-graduation plans in the mission field.

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From this place: seniors move toward future in missions

Senior Jason Lee. | Rachel Adams/THE CHIMES

Senior Jason Lee. | Rachel Adams/THE CHIMES

Senior Jason Lee. | Rachel Adams/THE CHIMES

Senior Jason Lee. | Rachel Adams/THE CHIMES

Nicole Foy, Writer

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“Let it be our hope and prayer that from this place shall radiate streams of influence, which will be a great blessing not only to the multitudes around us, but also to the darkest places of the earth.”

These words were founder Lyman Stewart’s consecration and dedication over every student to walk off Biola’s campus and into the lives of the unreached and those untouched by the healing hope of the gospel. Were Stewart alive today, it is safe to assume he would be greatly encouraged by the number of Biola students who have taken his words to heart and the gospel to the streets — those paved and those yet to be traveled.

Jason Lee, missionary mobilizer in Indonesia

Jason Lee, a senior journalism major, believes that he is called to the spiritually dark places of the world as both a missionary and a prayer warrior — most specifically the unreached people groups of southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia.

Lee originally resisted the idea of a future in missions, as he believed he was called to be a pastor. However, after leading a short term mission trip to Indonesia through the Student Missionary Union, he was struck by the desperate need for the gospel and lack of missionaries to spread it.

“The Lord showed me that the harvest is really plentiful; there are people hungry for the gospel, the truth and for answers,” Lee said. “So part of my passion and vision is that I want to be able to mobilize people.”

After graduation and three weeks of missions training in Korea, Lee will travel first to the island of Sumatra for 10 days. Then, he and two Biola students will meet in southeast Sulawesi to work with two other missionaries, spending time with Muslim leaders and families in an area with no known pastors, missionaries or churches.

“I really feel like the Lord has called me to be a Joshua, to be the one who conquers the land and takes back what the enemy has stolen,” Lee said. “It happens through prayer — I really and truly believe it.”

Annette Moreno, social justice in Bangladesh

While Lee feels called to combat spiritual darkness in Indonesia, Annette Moreno, a senior intercultural studies major, desires to bring justice to the garment industry of Bangladesh, where 1,127 factory workers were killed in the recent Rana Plaza disaster.

After graduation, Moreno will attend the University of San Diego to obtain a master’s degree in peace and social justice. Once she receives her degree, Moreno hopes to work as a scholar practitioner in Bangladesh, rescuing the abused and exploited women and children that comprise the workforce of the second largest manufacturer in the world.

“They make clothes for Calvin Klein, Target and Walmart, but nobody knows that there are workers being exploited and that there is actually human slavery happening in that nation,” Moreno said. “I just have a huge heart to rescue these women.”

Moreno’s dream is to work with either International Justice Mission or the United Nations, organizations that actively pursue sustainable legal reformation in countries with corrupt or faulty governments like Bangladesh.

“I would love to put them in safe homes and provide them with health care, education, just safety and rehabilitation from all of the treatment they have gone through,” Moreno said.

This holistic and justice-driven approach to missions is just as important as the actual proclamation of the gospel, according to Moreno.

“I just knew that I could not be a bystander, I could not just hear bad news and do nothing about it, I had to act,” Moreno said.

Aurora Reavis, teaching and orphan care in Russia

Travelling to a strange country to preach the gospel is nothing new to Aurora Reavis, a senior intercultural studies major with an emphasis in elementary education. In fact, the only thing different about Reavis’ trip to Russia this year is that she isn’t travelling alone, and she is a little bit more familiar with the language.

This summer, Reavis will travel to Smolensk, Russia with a team through Outreach Missions for All People. Reavis and her five team members will partner with Russian Outreach Center, an organization that ministers to local youth, orphans and recently graduated orphans. The team will also hold an English camp in Igorevskaya for the youth, the majority of which will be orphans.

“I have a really big heart for orphans, especially Russian orphans because 84 percent are abandoned. They have parents, but they are social orphans, unwanted or taken from their parents. About 5 percent of the population is living in orphanages, so that is a really big need,” Reavis said.

Reavis believes she can be most effective by taking annual short-term trips to build ongoing relationships, especially because of the Russian people’s history of hurt and betrayal.

“I am asking for prayer that walls and barriers between the Russians we encounter and us as outsiders, that those wouldn’t be in the way,” said Reavis. “Just that living water would flow out of us and that it would bring life to dead things.”