This summer, First Baptist is sending two students on mission trips across the globe: Lucas Hunter and Katie Green. Both went on the New York mission trip and are University of Tennessee students who heard about First Baptist through the Baptist Collegiate Ministry on campus.
“My situation at First Baptist is an end result of what the BCM does to get students to local churches,” said Lucas. “It’s sort of a middleman.”
Every year, the BCM does a progressive dinner where local churches provide a different part of a meal. Generally, First Baptist serves dessert. Many of our college students have found their way here through this event.
Once here, our college students are also vocal in sharing the gospel and inviting others to First Baptist. This has led to a flourishing college ministry over the past few years.
“Jordan Humler always talked about how much he loved First Baptist,” said Katie. “Mason Thornton brought me to
As a Teaching Church focused on community and mission, we hope to empower people of all ages to make disciples and find their place in Christ. Lucas and Katie have both been impacted by church members and staff who have invested in them from the beginning.
“People have really poured into me, encouraged me, and shaped me,” said Lucas. “At First
“I feel invested in and cared for,” says Katie. “No other place has encouraged me to pursue mission like here. No other place has offered to send me out.”
Thanks to the generosity of our church members, both are being sent out to impact the nations. On June 1, in partnership with Nehemiah Teams, Lucas will leave for the Philippines to work at a summer-long basketball camp. He heard about the trip through a special BCM service dedicated to
“All sorts of Christian organizations and camps came and spoke to us,” he said. “At one point, they mentioned a basketball camp for men, and everyone in the room turned and looked at me.”
Lucas is known for his love of sports, and all the affirmation he received from his peers and mentors motivated him to apply for the trip.
“I feel like I’m called to mission work in some capacity,” he said, “And I couldn’t think of a reason to stay and turn this trip down. I don’t have a house or kids. I don’t have anything that tethers me to Tennessee or the U.S. So I’m going. Because I know I can, I know I should, and it’s the right thing to do.”
Katie will be leaving for Guatemala on June 17 for a week, on a trip that has been a long time in the making. She first visited Guatemala when she was 13 through Focus on the Family. Every year since then, she traveled to a different Central or South American country. Through the years she has kindled not only a love of the
“I don’t know how to describe it,” she said. “When I’m there I know this is what I’m supposed to be doing. It’s just a feeling.”
Katie will be serving with Agua Viva Children’s Home in Guatemala. She’ll be evangelizing through VBS and serving the home through work projects and tending their small farm.
When asked what she expects out the trip, she laughed, “With mission trips, I’ve learned you can’t have a set plan. It changes, and you end up doing things you didn’t expect. I honestly just hope to serve however God wants and see what direction he takes me.”
We are glad to see young people like Lucas and Katie following God without restraint. Katie is a rising senior who will graduate next spring with a double major in Spanish and Linguistics and a minor in English as a Second Language. She already teaches ESL to Spanish and Ethiopian refugees at Centro Hispano here in Knoxville, and she hopes to one day teach ESL full time wherever God sends her.
Lucas is also a rising senior who will graduate with a journalism degree next spring. He is completing his senior communication internship here at First Baptist in the fall, and he’ll be working with our Communication and Media Coordinator, Rachel Bell, to apply his schooling through writing, design, film, and photography.
Thanks to all who have poured into these students. Keep a lookout for mission reports from both of their trips in the coming months.