You’ve seen it on our website and read it in our brochures: “The Awe Star difference.” But what do we mean by that?
There are lots of student missions-sending organizations, and yes, we’re one of those. In the past year-plus, you may have noticed we’ve added a medical component to some of our trips. We’ve also become more family-focused, so if you’re interested in serving as a family, feel free to call our office and discuss that possibility.
But one of the main Awe Star differences has been there right from the beginning. In fact, it played a part in the founding of Awe Star more than 25 years ago.
Dr. Walker Moore was a youth pastor who had a problem bigger than the normal youth-pastor problems (Did I order enough pizza? Why does the middle-school boys’ Sunday school room smell so bad? What are those girls talking about?). He noticed that the problems his seniors had as they graduated were the same problems they had when they entered his youth program. Despite years of teaching, discipleship and ministry, their lives showed little change. And many of them, as they went away to college, also went away from church.
So Walker started to talk to his students, present and past. And he realized something: The one thing he did that had a real and lasting impact wasn’t youth camp. It wasn’t game night. It wasn’t even DiscipleNow or weekly small group. It was mission trips.
You see, Walker had begun taking students across the border to Mexico and allowing them to minister alongside Primera Iglesia Bautista Nuevo Laredo. These students had a firsthand look at the lostness of humanity from a completely different culture only miles away from their own. They stepped away from what can often be the selfishness of the teenage years and into a world where their service and sharing made a real difference. They took on adult tasks and adult responsibilities because Walker called them into their adulthood, refusing to take “teenagers” with adolescent-type behavior on his trips.
He expected the best. And he got it—in more ways than he anticipated. Not only did the students take the gospel to the people of Mexico, but the gospel got into their own hearts in a lasting way.
No, they didn’t all become pastors or missionaries. But many, so many, became fully devoted followers of Christ who lived the lifestyle of a missionary from that trip on.
Yes, some of those Awe Star alumni are famous now. Heather Mercer. Bart Millard. B.J. Higgins. Peggy Nunley—to name a few. But there are thousands more whose lives bear the impact of one or multiple Awe Star trips.
Is it time you or someone you know experienced the Awe Star difference? Pray and ask God how you should respond.
Maybe you need to submit an application (or urge someone else to do so).
Maybe you need to sponsor someone’s trip.
Maybe you need to become one of our giving partners.
Certainly you need to pray (see this post).
The Awe Star difference. It’s real. It's life-changing. And you can read more about it next week in part 2.