By Ellie Wendt
Photos by Kayla Becton
Impact, a Christian Challenge AZ missions weekend held Oct. 19-21 in Yuma County and Mexico, provided college students with an opportunity to serve and share the good news of the gospel.
Through Impact, college students are able to engage the gospel through missions as well as come together as a Challenge community.
Impact began 12 years ago and initially provided students the opportunity to serve in Phoenix and Tucson. However, as Christian Challenge expanded, so has its influence across the state of Arizona, and the opportunity to serve in Yuma was made available.
According to Lainee Pegelow, Christian Challenge communications specialist and campus missionary at Northern Arizona University, the process for selecting a mission field requires much prayer and building of relationships.
“We pray about where God would have us go, and we reach out and make connections,” Pegelow said.
A total of 127 college students attended Impact, with an additional 27 campus missionaries and church leaders. Sixteen campuses were represented, from universities to community college campuses.
Impact provides students the opportunity to step outside of their comfort zones, such as by serving in new and diverse communities, sharing the gospel for the first time or experiencing a cross-cultural encounter. These experiences provide students with a new perspective of what it means to be a servant of Christ and a chance to act on their faith publicly.
“It broadens our perspective; you see needs at a different level,” said Brad Schneeflock, Christian Challenge AZ state collegiate strategist. “Being able to engage people in another culture with the gospel can infuse a level of passion inside college students that they can take back to the campus.”
Christian Challenge contacted Don Vickers, director of evangelism/missions in Yuma Association, about the possibility of holding Impact in Yuma. He talked with area churches, as well as four across the border in Mexico, and opportunities were developed for students to serve in 13 mission projects.
Each project was initiated by a local church, which assessed the needs of the surrounding community and composed a set of projects with which students assisted. Projects included working with church plants, helping with events hosted by the churches in parks, and going door to door to share the gospel and invite people to attend church services.
Arizona State University sophomore Brittney Hintz served in San Luis, Ariz., where she and her team were invited into homes to pray with people and share the gospel.
“When you serve God, not only do you feel good, but being able to see God work is super moving and it really builds your faith in Him,” Hintz said.
Hintz was invited to pray with a man she described as bitter toward God and struggled to resolve the conflict he felt.
“For me, my prayers have kind of been suffering, and that was very moving to be able to pray with him as well as strengthen my own relationship with God and to see how God works in other people’s lives,” said Hintz.
Impact strengthened students’ faith through the opportunity to partner with Yuma churches to serve the community.