Good News across the globe: World Christian Week
By Joshua Ford
CIU Student Writer
During a global pandemic, Columbia International University took the time to celebrate something that has helped spread Good News across the globe for many years: World Christian Week.
Missionaries, who are CIU alumni, spoke during Chapel and mission groups set up stations in The Quad where they offered information about their organizations and how students could get involved in The Great Commission.
“It definitely got me more excited about the opportunities that we have,” said Ethan Robinson, a sophomore. “I just want to just get as much information as I can, and with World Christian Week, there are a lot of ways to get information.”
The three-day event started in Shortess Chapel as the worship team opened with the song, “I Will Follow,” which set up the stories for the speakers. Each of them followed God’s instructions leading them to mission work.
David and Caroline Thorsen are missionaries in Japan who were up at 1 a.m. Japan time to do a Zoom call for the Chapel audience. The region in which they live has over a million people, and they are the only two known missionaries there.
“I hope and pray more people would reach out because there’s almost no one here,” David said.
He added that there’s no Christian persecution in Japan, but it’s hard for citizens to commit to Christianity. David pointed out that Japan is considered the second largest unreached group in the world in terms of missions.
That night in The Quad, the world was celebrated with an international food cook-off and a pinata was smashed.
The second speaker was Annalisa Jackson, the associate director of the Mary Hoch Center for Reconciliation at George Mason University. She contributes to research and programs that support reconciliation and justice seeking processes around the globe. Jackson is also the executive director and co-founder of a peace organization for women peace builders called Unconventional.
Jackson’s desire to make a change in the world started at a CIU World Christian Week. She talked about her work in building better communities and how it involves getting out of your comfort zone in many ways.
“It’s really easy to ask what we’re doing about injustice. There’s a lot of learning that needs to happen,” Jackson said. “We don’t have to be an organization to ask questions about what Christians can do.”
She added that being at CIU was a starting point for asking big questions that were a part of her journey.
The last to speak in Chapel was the Christensen family who are this year’s CIU missionaries in residence. Sean and Heather Christensen have been associated with the missions organization World Team, serving along with their four children in Haiti since 2009. There, Sean trains church leaders at a Bible college and supervises a team of missionaries.
The family touched on some of the struggles of being on the mission field, but Sean emphasized, “It’s never boring. Every day is different. Flexibility is the name of the game.”
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