REV7:9 challenges students to go to the nations

Photo essay by Lainee Pegelow | Nov 20, 2023

“After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the lamb.” Revelation 7:9

“The greatest problem the world has is lostness, and Arizona Baptists have a role to play in seeing the gospel transform lives around the world. The solution is the gospel with missionary presence,” said Nate Parrow, International Mission Board church and next gen mobilization strategist for the western region, at REV7:9.

REV7:9 was a one-day gathering on Nov. 4 at Foothills Baptist Church in Ahwatukee. This IMB event, held in partnership with the Arizona Mission Network of Southern Baptists and Christian Challenge, allowed young adults to seek God’s heart for the nations through His Word, prayer and musical worship.

“Young adults have a role in the task of taking the gospel everywhere and to everyone.,” Parrow said.

Keynote speaker Chip Luter, senior associate pastor at Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, brought a challenge from God’s Word. “We haven’t seen Revelation 7:9-10 happen in person, it’s a promise to come,” he said. “While we wait for that day, what is our part in this prophecy?” Luter challenged the group to consider three factors to obedience: having right relationship with Christ, a right reverence to Him and a right reality.

Throughout the afternoon, several breakout sessions were held providing opportunities for those in attendance to connect with IMB missionaries and support personnel. All of these sessions were designed to help bring light to the fact that there are so many talented, skilled and faithful servants in Arizona churches and that God deeply desires to see them on mission to the nations.

Students experience firsthand what it would be like to sit in a living room in Sub-Saharan Africa enjoying chai and cookies, building relationships and sharing the gospel. The IMB director of student programs in Sub-Saharan Africa shared her experiences and heart for the nations.

During this session, students worked together in small groups to come up with their own plans to live on purpose for the gospel. They discussed how to put into practice living on mission and using the resources God has given them to further His kingdom.

CJ McClure, an NAU student, shared that he and a friend do a weekly wrestling podcast. His takeaway from this breakout was that he planned to share his testimony in the next episode. Another student from the Phoenix area shared, “I have a car; I can offer rides to international students and build relationships by just giving rides.”

In addition to the formal schedule, participants had opportunities to meet with current and former missionaries, being inspired and having vision cast for what it would look like if they gave their yes!

Steve Dokka, Christian Challenge missionary for the Central Arizona College campuses said, “REV7:9 was a great blessing to the CAC Challenge crew. We got clarity on ways we can live on mission, and we are praying about our next steps. The entire event was organized well.”

“I am grateful for the information that REV 7:9 provided for both myself and my students,” said Mariah Tellechea, Christian Challenge apprentice at Glendale Community College. “The event showcased many different ways in which we can go serve but also emphasized the ‘why’ as believers we do go. Being able to meet some real missionaries was great; it helped us visualize the fact that it’s real people going and serving.”

In the days following the event, several students expressed a desire to serve God in the nations. The IMB team is following up with those who feel called to serve either short term or long term.

“Pray to the Lord of the Harvest, for the work is plentiful but the workers are few.”

Lainee Pegelow, a freelance writer and photographer, is communications specialist, missions coordinator and a campus missionary for Christian Challenge AZ. She is a member of Challenge Church, Flagstaff.

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