May 25, 2024

This past weekend was filled with learning and new friendships as California Baptist University hosted intensive training for students who plan to participate in United States Service Projects (USP) this summer.

Every year hundreds of students from CBU sign up to dedicate a portion of their summer to spreading the gospel. The projects offered through The Office of Mobilization are often international projects and in this case, United States service projects.

USP sends students all across the country to many different cities, one of them being New York, where junior theatre major Isaac Rojas plans to spend a portion of his summer. “When I found out there was a theatre team going to New York City I felt a tug on my heart telling me to apply. If I have learned anything from what God has taught me in the past, it’s that when God tells you to do something, you do it!” Rojas said.

Rojas and the other student participants participated in a full weekend of training.

“Intensive training,” seems like an appropriate name as, after team check-in last Friday night, the participants would spent over a solid 24 hours listening to field workers, bonding with fellow team members and learning how to share God’s love with people across the country.

USP teams are divided up by location. Students who will be traveling and working together at a destination were also grouped together during the intensive training weekend. It seemed as if one of the main goals of the weekend was to get students acquainted with their teammates.

Friday night served as a time for participants to play games, worship and have “team time” together as they prepared for the rest of the weekend.

After an eventful Friday night, the sleepy yet enthusiastic participants were up bright and early the next morning for team devotions and some bonding time.

Many team building activities like the human knot, telephone and relay races were done in order to help teams identify their strengths and weaknesses and break down walls between one another. Teams were allowed free time to eat, talk, and worship together as friendships were formed.

“I think this weekend prepared us for our USP trip because we were able to spend an extended time with our team, seeing each other’s gifts and talents, as well as understanding all of our personalities better. Quite honestly, the training helped us get to know one another much better,” participating senior Emily Green said.

Besides team oriented activities students were exposed to films depicting common problems in our country, such as drug use and child abuse, and were trained on how to share the gospel in these situations through the use of a two minute testimony, something that is expected to be of great use on

their USP trip and beyond.

“I was able to get a better grasp on the reality of what is going on in our country and what we need to do to help further the great commission,” Rojas said.

Saturday gave teams the opportunity to hear from two field workers from The Gallery Church in Baltimore speak about how God has called them to dedicate themselves to a life of ministry as they follow God’s plan for their lives, moving to unfamiliar locations and working through the challenges of church planting.

After some prayer walks, team time, and a closing session the students were able to end their time together in worship, praising the God they intend to go out and serve.

Similar to USP training, intensive training weekend for International Service Projects (ISP) participants held Feb. 3rd- 5th, allowing students to get basic training, form relationships and get acquainted with the culture they plan to enter this summer.

USP teams may not fly overseas like ISP teams but certainly neither is any greater or less than the other.

Both set out to fulfill our call to the great commission by making disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything we have been commanded by Jesus Christ our Lord.

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