By Anna Skudarnova
(Cleveland)- When Montana Campbell and Celeste Anderson traveled to the Czech Republic on a mission trip with Truett McConnell University (TMU) last February, they had no idea it would lead them to spending an entire semester on mission in London, England.
During the trip, Rachel Durham, Campus Mobilizer for TMU’s World Missions Center, encouraged the two sophomores to consider spending an entire semester overseas through the International Mission Board’s (IMB) Hands On program. At first, Campbell and Anderson were fearful of leaving family and friends for four months. However, they decided to trust in God through the process of raising funds and saying goodbye to family.
Upon their arrival to London in August 2020, Campbell and Anderson met their ten-person mission team, who quickly became family. The team spent the first two weeks training while in quarantine, due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Daily Life in London
Early each morning, Campbell and Anderson gathered with their mission team for a brief meeting to prepare for the day. Then, the team would ride the Tube, a rapid transit system, into the heart of London to evangelize in the parks. In pairs, the team approached people in the park and asked them if they could have a conversation about spiritual things or if they could pray for them.
Campbell and Anderson spent hours in the parks of London each day, striking up conversation with strangers about the Lord. The team targeted parks that were close to universities where students and staff would often spend their lunch breaks.
“We walked over ten miles each day,” said Anderson.
Campbell added, “Some days, when it was pouring down rain, we were still out there, in our umbrellas and rain jackets. Those were our hard days.”
The team often set up a coffee cart in the parks and served free coffee to passers-by who were willing to answer a question the team wrote on a white board. Questions such as “What motivates you?” often led to hours of gospel-centered conversations.
In order to continue their degree course work while on the field, Campbell, an education major, and Anderson, a psychology major, decided to take their school with them by completing classes online. However, they were also determined to keep the mission of evangelizing as a priority during their time overseas, so they often completed schoolwork late at night or during the team’s weekly day off.
Faithfulness in Quarantine
Due to the pandemic, Campbell and Anderson spent several weeks in quarantine, unable to evangelize in the parks. While at first this was discouraging, the pair used the time in quarantine to read the Bible, continue in their class studies, and grow closer to their team.
Campbell said, “The time in quarantine taught me that a mission trip isn’t always about fruitfulness, it’s also about your faithfulness to the Lord.”
A New Perspective
After their semester overseas, both Campbell and Anderson felt a new boldness to share the gospel. Additionally, both experienced the power of prayer and fasting and the closeness to the Lord that these practices bring. Many times, during their days of evangelizing, the girls felt the Lord speaking to them through the little things—through promptings to speak to someone and praying for specific needs.
Campbell and Anderson encourage students who are interested in spending a semester overseas with the Hands-On program to trust in the Lord through every step of the process.
Campbell said, “Don’t be afraid to go. If the Lord called you to go, you need to put everything down, don’t worry about school—You just have to get up and go.”
Students can visit the World Missions Center at TMU if they would like more information about Hands On.
Anna is a current English major at TMU and a student worker for TMU’s Marketing and Communications.