is often said that mission trips can be life-changing – a gateway to a whole new world, and the beginning of a journey with God to impact the world.
CBM’s SENT program allows Canadian Baptists to answer the desire that God puts in their hearts to go out into the world – on a short-term basis. The global discipleship experience offers participants an overseas trip and opportunities to put their faith into action when they return home. Although trips usually run for about two weeks, a new version of the program called SENT Intensive provides participants with a more in-depth experience.
Last summer, the first team was assigned to the Philippines for an unprecedented three-month trip. Six young adults – Ethan Phillips, Andrew Conrad, Jane Nickerson, Rodney Steeves, Taylor MacDonald and Kathryn Scott – embarked on a cross-cultural sojourn designed to give them a full experience of living and serving in a culture different from their own.
Michael Waddell, CBM Field Staff based in the Philippines, helped launch the new program. “When we began to discuss and design SENT Intensive, from the onset, we knew we wanted participants to experience the highs and the lows of living and serving overseas. We intentionally didn’t fill their schedules with activities and events because we wanted them to have the opportunity – and the challenge – of ‘figuring out’ what cross-cultural life and ministry looked like for them.”
For three months, the group participated in various activities with local Christians. They joined the Capiz Baptist Youth Fellowship Union’s annual summer camp, which was held in the middle of a rice field with over 400 children and youth participants. They also met with leaders of the Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches. Through this experience, they learned about the various ministries of the denomination around the country, and they engaged in the convention’s camp and retreat ministry called Camp Higher Ground. The group also travelled to Baguio City, a mountainous area of the Philippines, to attend the Asia Pacific Baptist Youth Conference. At this event, they witnessed more than 1,000 youth and young adults coming together from across the region to learn more about discipleship.
“It was our sincere hope that this experience would be a transformative event in the lives of each participant, as well as those they build relationships with in the Philippines,” says Michael. “We wondered how they would live out their faith in a different culture and in a language different than their own. How would they learn from the faith practices of another culture? And, most importantly, how would God use their experiences to shape and transform their lives in the months and years ahead?”
Expressed in their own words, the following are reflections from a few SENT Intensive participants (click on the image to enlarge):