Starting the week after graduation, 45 teams were sent out in four waves to areas of the world ranging from the United Kingdom to Southeast Asia to cities in the United States.
Based on student interests and particular areas of ministry, each team had a specific focus including women’s outreach, children, education, healthcare, sports, construction and many more.
“Our goal is to try to find what students are passionate about and match them up with the project that we are doing,” said Office of Mobilization coordinator Aura Opris.
“We try to not put an emphasis on location, but more of an emphasis on task (and) what they’re doing with people,” she continued. “Ultimately, everything that we do, our goal is to meet some kind of physical need.”
A comprehensive discipleship program began months before any teams left California Baptist University.
“We are really serious about it being a discipleship program, so sometimes that means having some tough conversations about what’s going on in your life, and that’s not always comfortable,” Opris said.
“A lot of the things we do take people out of their comfort zones through the training and the various things that we do here, but then also for the three weeks there,” she continued.
Teams had at least one meeting a week during the spring semester and an intensive training weekend to educate participants on cultural customs, biblical principles and how to let the Lord work through them.
“During our training, they introduced us to what prayer walking is,” said senior graphic design major Niza Pattimukay.
“You use all of your senses, and you ask the Holy Spirit, ‘Where do you want me to walk?’ You’re constantly looking and see where there’s opportunity to love other people.”
The time spent on location gave students the opportunity to see different cultures and it exposed them to how people interact in different settings.
For Pattimukay, witnessing a touching worship and prayer session with minimal English translation at a church in South Asia was something she would never forget.
“It was so beautiful because you could see a glimpse of heaven, knowing that every tribe, every language, every nation could come together and worship the Lord in song and prayer,” Pattimukay said.
“We don’t (speak the same language), but we know there’s one God that we worship and pray to,” she continued.
Months of preparation and training culminated in one trip, but Opris explained that the things learned apply to not only their one experience, but the rest of their lives.
“It’s just the beginning because they come back,” Opris said. “They see, ‘Oh, I can do this at home. I can do this at CBU. I can do it in Riverside. The nations are here.’”
ISP, USP and SOS trips at CBU equip students with the ability to make connections with people from different walks in life by helping them breaks the barriers that separate people with different cultural backgrounds.