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AU News

Students learned the value of serving a church’s community during Boston mission trip

February 22, 2018
Thirteen AU students and two staff members served people who were homeless, invited passersby to a church service and prayed in busy city spots during their Christmas break.

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Thirteen AU students and two staff members served people who were homeless, invited passersby to a church service and prayed in busy city spots during their Christmas break. Those were just three of the activities the students performed as part of a Dec. 12-15 mission trip to Boston.

“Ministry in Boston looks a lot different than ministry in South Carolina,” said Lexington, South Carolina-native Addison Hamrick, the Associate Director of Baptist Collegiate Ministries (BCM) at AU. He said only two percent of people in Boston are evangelical Christians.

Hamrick organized the trip after meeting the co-pastors of Redemption Hill Church at a conference.  Redemption Hill is a six-year-old church plant in Medford, Mass., a city about three miles northwest of Boston.

The AU students and staff distributed 1,200 business card-size invitations to Redemption Hill’s Christmas service. AU’s mission team divided into four groups at four subway stations to greet Monday commuters with the card, a granola bar and chewing gum. About two out of every ten commuters took the invitation, Hamrick said.

In addition to helping Redemption Hill promote its Christmas service, the day before, AU students helped the church prepare for its worship service: they set up—and broke down—equipment that must be stored each week because the congregation shares space with its landlord, a theater that hosts shows during the week. The AU mission team also served a local Boys & Girls Club that also uses the theater’s building: the AU students prepped a wall so Boys & Girls Club teens could paint a mural on it. The group also assembled and organized closets for the Boys & Girls Club.

During the rest of the week AU students ministered in different parts of Boston.  After aiding Redemption Hill over the weekend and Monday, on Tuesday they prayed and greeted passersby in three locations, including a transit station and at Northeastern University, whose campus runs along a major street in Boston. On Wednesday, they distributed cookies at a school, a police station and train station with Mosaic Boston church. That night they helped the church minister to people who were homeless: they served food, distributed clothes, coats and bags of personal care products, and sang Christmas carols with them. On Thursday, the AU students explored the city before leaving Friday morning.

Bailey Tyler, a junior musical theatre major, said serving in Boston taught her that she can employ similar evangelistic techniques in South Carolina.

“Ministry can be anywhere done anytime just though life,” Tyler said. “It’s important to realize you can talk to random people on the street at home too.”

While the AU group rode a bus, the students repeatedly saw a man named Kenny, who rode the bus on the way to visit his wife in a nursing home. They learned that Kenny had been an army parachuter and that his wife has Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). The group invited Kenny to the Christmas service at Redemption Hill, Hamrick said.

Students also were moved by the Christians they met in Boston who had compelling testimonies.

Shian Spaulding, a senior special education major, spoke with one believer she met at a subway station for 45 minutes. He described how he lost all of his friends two years ago after he became a Christian and broke his more than 20-year struggle with mental illness and drug addiction.

Spaulding said the mission trip also helped her realize the urgency of sharing the Gospel because two weeks before the trip, her grandfather—who lived less than a two hours’ drive from Boston—died without a relationship with Christ.  

Spaulding, who also participated in one of AU’s Spring Break mission trips in Panama City, Florida, encourages other AU students to go on at least one mission trip, even if it’s just to experience the joy of doing ministry with other AU students.

On March 10-16, AU students will participate in a Spring Break mission trip to Panama City Beach, Florida. And on March 23 through March 25, 22 students will minister in Jenkins, Kentucky, assisting a ministry that serves families with young children. In May, 11 AU students will go on a mission trip to London.

Hamrick, a 2016 AU graduate, said the Boston mission trip taught him the importance of a church knowing the needs of its community. The church should be a beacon and facilitate a needed improvement or restoration in its community, he said.

And when people see the church’s investment, Hamrick said, they give the church’s message more weight.

Check out this video from the mission trip:


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