Missions Conference’s first day elicits positive reactions

Speakers, students and organizations communicate about missions and spreading the Gospel


Amy McKeever, freshman communication disorders major and Stefanie Van Schooten, business administration freshman carry water jugs in order to spread awareness about the water crisis in Africa. Speakers, students and organizations communicate about missions and spreading the Gospel. | Molli Kaptein/THE CHIMES

Melissa Hedrick, Writer

The 86th annual Missions Conference, themed Greater: Compelled by the I Am, wrapped up its first day of activities with a goal of capturing student interest in participating in missions.

The first session was led by the speaker Henry Joseph, founder of Proclaim Ministries, who spoke about Moses’ encounter with God in Exodus 3.

“I felt compelled. I felt compelled to exercise my gift which is to proclaim the mysteries and depths and truths of God. That’s what I do,” Joseph said in regards to why he chose to participate in this year’s Mission Conference.

Later in the day, executive director of LifeWay Research and head pastor at Grace Church in Hendersonville, Tenn., Ed Stetzer, expressed a deep sense of community he has observed on Biola’s campus during his visit.

“It’s a little tricky because you can tell you’re a community and I’m not in it. And so to see your community is a nice, beautiful thing. You don’t just go to school together, you actually all live together and to see the community is both heartening, but also you get to see the opportunity that is there for developing and discipleship and missions and things of that sort,” Stetzer said.


While most students seem to enjoy the sessions so far, several expressed a lack of organization concerning the conference’s schedule. Last year’s Echo Conference featured an app with an easily accessible conference schedule for students. This year, however, an app was created, but was not approved for publication by Apple in time for the conference.

Several students explained that they have been unable to find the topics and locations for the seminars.

“The one thing I have notice is that it is a lot less organized [than previous year]; it’s hard to know when things are, but, so far, the actual sessions are great,” said Daniel Coulter, a junior sociology major.


So far, Biola students have felt excited about the conference and the variety of opportunities that it has presented them with. One such opportunity is for students to host missionaries from other countries in their dorms on campus. Residents of a floor in Hope South are hosting a missionary from Slovakia.

“I like that interaction with people from different countries staying with us and having that cultural aspect of where they’ve been and trying to incorporate how we are living now,” said undeclared freshman Julian Chavez, a resident of Hope.


Freshmen students attending Missions Conference for the first time have also expressed their appreciation for the traditional flag ceremony and alumni band For All Seasons, whose self-titled album debuted at number one on the iTunes Christian/Gospel charts in July 2014.

“The worship band that was playing was really cool, and I also liked the way they opened it up with the people running through with flags,” said Scott Katto, freshman business major.


Along with options to hear different speakers, the conference helps students connect with different missionary organizations both locally and internationally. A few examples of groups that had booths set up throughout the day are Youth with a Mission and Go Ye Fellowship.

Youth with a Mission is one of the largest international missions organizations in the world. They focus on discipleship training to prepare Christians to go out into the world through their outreach programs.

“DTS [Discipleship Training School] is a really good time and space to get away and learn to hear the voice of God and hear what he might be saying for your life, for your passion, and helping people find God’s specific call that he has made each person gifted and passionate about, giving them the tools and the space to pursue that,” said YWAM representative Bethany Cetti.

Go Ye Fellowship is another organization that oversaw a booth on campus that handles administrative needs of various organizations with specific ideas for missions programs.

“In a nutshell, our organization is just for those that are already directed by God to do a particular work in a particular country and we are coming along side assisting them,” said representative Kristy Marrufo.


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