Mission Centers of Houston welcomed 12 summer missionaries (affectionately referred to as ‘critters’) to Houston on May 29. These missionaries are college students who come from Georgia, Mississippi, and Texas, and are given the opportunity to serve MCH during the summer through their state’s Baptist Convention and Student Collegiate ministries. Though missionaries can apply for the summer internship directly through MCH, most come through collegiate ministries, which do most of the recruiting and pay for the students’ travel to Houston. The students volunteer their time, but their lodging, food, and ministry resources are provided for them.
The summer missionary intern program started at the Mission Centers at least 38 years ago through the leadership of Mildred McWhorter. Summer missionaries are involved in every aspect of the centers’ ministries. They help run the Kids’, Youth, and Senior clubs; the Food Pantry and Clothing Closet; Sewing Club; Homebound and Homeless ministry; Ladies Bible Study and preschool childcare during the study. They mow lawns for the centers’ neighbors, share about MCH at local churches on Sunday mornings, and help in Vacation Bible School. Finally, the missionaries will help lead the 220 youth group students from all over the country who are signed up to help at MCH this summer. Needless to say, these missionaries are in for a busy summer!
The missionaries went through a 4-day intensive orientation program when they first arrived. They spent time in prayer and getting to know the surrounding neighborhoods. They learned various evangelism, counseling, and discipleship techniques. They familiarized themselves with the centers’ demographics, Mission Centers Doctrine, and were inspired to grow spiritually during their time as an intern. Summer missionaries also learned how to teach children and youth, ensure safe and secure procedures, understand ministry to senior citizens, the homebound, and the homeless. They discussed Biblical conflict resolution. They also enjoyed fun activities for team building and problem-solving.
The missionaries were divided into teams for the Gano and Joy Mission Centers and began the week after orientation by observing the Center staff in ministry. They shadowed the staff and by the end of the week they were able to lead the ministries. Starting the third week, the summer missionary interns lead (under staff supervision) the different youth groups from around the country who come to MCH for their youth mission trips.
Summer missionaries are a great asset to the Mission Centers. The staff is excited to mentor these young adults at such a pivotal time in their life. The missionaries give the Centers the opportunity to expand their ministries just by providing extra leadership, support, and manpower. Summer is a good time to expand these ministries, especially to children and youth. School is out, so children and youth have more time at home and take advantage of the extra-curricular activities provided by the Mission Centers.
Of course, there are challenges that come with hosting twelve missionaries. The biggest challenge is logistical—keeping track of all the summer activities and making sure everything is in place. Another challenge is making sure enough people sign up to provide meals for the missionaries. The missionaries rely on the generosity of individuals and churches to bring breakfast, lunch, and dinner while they are in Houston. If you would like to provide a meal for these missionaries, you can sign up here.
Please pray for these missionaries and Mission Centers of Houston as they serve this summer. Pray that they will grow more and more like Jesus; that unity, kindness, and patience will prevail. Pray for safety and good health as they serve in all aspects of this summer ministry. Pray for boldness in sharing the truth of the gospel to their neighbors. And pray the Lord will provide all their needs, from meals to the finances needed to host the end-of-summer block parties.