Unity of nations

The parade of nations demonstrates diversity with a representation of flags from various countries.


The SMU team India stands together between the flags of India and Ethiopia to honor the memory of their beloved team member and friend, Hasiet Joy Negash. The parade of nations demonstrates diversity with a representation of flags from various countries. | Kalli Thommen/THE CHIMES

Jenna Kubiak, Writer

The parade of nations opens up the first session of Missions Conference each year, filling Chase Gymnasium with students bearing a multitude of colorful flags representing various countries around the world. The parade visually displays diversity and emphasizes the idea of every nation uniting to serve Christ.

Display of diversity

Senior business management major and Missions Conference assistant Kim Schwaar says the parade symbolizes the Great Commission described in the Gospel.

“It takes place to display the diversity that Great Commission entails and the fact that when Jesus says to preach the gospel to every tribe and every nation that it includes every tribe and every nation — that every country in the world is included in the great commission and that there isn’t a people group that is excluded from the deservedness of hearing the word of God. Every country needs to hear the gospel and every country is included in the body of Christ,” said Schwaar.

Last Missions Conference, the parade featured both Russia and Ukraine, as well as North and South Korea holding hands when they entered the gym. The two countries will come out together and display the same unity. For this year’s Missions Conference, India and Ethiopia will be presented together as well.

“This year, India and Ethiopia will be presented right next to each other in honor of Joy’s death this past January,” said Schwaar.

Schwaar said having these countries come out at the same time ties into the idea of reconciliation that will be presented this year and symbolizes unity in the body of Christ.

“We’re looking for unity. One of the things we’re talking about this Missions Conference is the ministry of reconciliation,” said Schwaar. “We’re looking for a representation of unity in the body of Christ.”

Flag bearers represent

Schwaar said students can sign up to hold a flag for the parade during Missions Conference. In order to participate in the parade, the students must have a connection to the country they represent. Many times, the students who sign up are from their country, have parents from the country or have lived in the country. More countries will also be represented in this year’s parade than in previous years.

The idea of unity presented in the parade captured the interest of sophomore physical education major Branden Stewart, who will hold Canada’s flag.

“I thought it was super cool how there’s this many people represented at Biola. It’s really cool how there’s so many different flags and how we’re all unified at Biola, all here for the same reasons,” said Stewart.

Junior communication studies major Moses Sambo is from Nigeria and bears the country’s flag this year. Sambo became involved in the parade after he did not see the flag for his country represented last year.

“Last year, I was sitting there waiting for my country to come up, and nothing came up, so I asked and they said someone has to volunteer and no one did. I was like, I might as well wait until next year, because I’d like to see my country represented in a good light,” said Sambo.

After waiting until this year to sign up for the parade, Sambo looks forward to representing the country where he was raised.

“[I look forward to] being able to run through and showcase my country — it’s kind of exciting,” said Sambo.

Senior Christian ministries major Jacob Rancharan has Belizean heritage and holds the flag for Belize. Rancharan looks forward to representing his country in the parade and hopes it will create a desire for students to serve different countries in the mission field.

“I’m looking forward to having a representation of a country that is near and dear to my heart. Since it is Missions Conference, people can think of it as an opportunity to reach out to Belize in the mission field,” said Rancharan.

Senior sociology major Beverly Koloko was born in France and will hold the French flag. Koloko wanted to represent her country in the parade this year after seeing the parade at last year’s Missions Conference. Her love for different ethnicities and countries fostered a desire to participate in the event.

“I’m all about cultures and different languages and everything,” said Koloko. “The parade of nations is all about different cultures, countries, everyone coming together as one, and that’s basically what God’s children are all about.”

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