Urbana 18 connecting young people with ministries utilizing their gifts

By December 28, 2018

USA (MNN) — We’re going on day two of Urbana 18, a tri-annual student missions conference in St. Louis, Missouri. Mission Network News has a team on the ground, along with several of our ministry partners like Mission Aviation Fellowship!

Crissie Rask with Mission Aviation Fellowship says, “We love Urbana! It’s just such a biblically-focused, globally-focused missions endeavor. We love engaging with the young people that will be there. I think it will be about 11,000 students this year who already God has touched their hearts for what He is doing.”

From December 27-31, students at Urbana get a chance to explore God’s calling on their life and how they can get involved in the Great Commission. Attendees can participate in large group worship sessions, access over 200 dynamic Christian speakers, engage with Bible exposition and studies, prayer ministry, and hear testimonies from the global Church.

(Graphic courtesy of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship via Urbana.org)

This year, Rask explains, “The theme is Faithful Witness. What does God want you to do to be a faithful witness for Him? The book study, which is always so rich, is in Revelation.”

Missions organizations are also available in the Exhibit Hall to connect with students and answer their questions. “We want to engage with students and hear what God is doing in their lives, but also…we want to allow them to be challenged and say, ‘This might be an area where God could use you.’

“There are often several hundred mission organizations represented and it’s a wonderful fellowship there in the Exhibit Hall. We will often refer somebody to another group if they don’t fit with MAF’s exact profile.”

(Photo courtesy of Mission Aviation Fellowship)

MAF specifically uses aviation in partnership with other organizations to reach people in the hardest-to-reach parts of the world. Their ministry flies anything from food and aid supplies to doctors, teachers, pastors, and medical evacuation patients. And everything they do is in the name of Jesus.

Rask says MAF is looking for young people to join their ministry who want to use their gifts and talents for God’s glory. Open positions range from pilots and aviation mechanics to teachers, IT technicians, and more.

“I think we have a unique niche in the world of missions in that we are quite specific in utilizing people with technical skills. That defines who would join MAF, but also it’s a little bit different in the sense [that] people with technical skills often don’t feel that God has gifted them in more word-oriented [skills] – although we do believe [sharing] the Word is a distinct part of disciple-making. But this is an avenue where God can use people with those technical giftings and place them…where they would have entree into the lives of international people that might not otherwise have a connection to the Gospel.”

As older generations pass on their legacy of faith and have paved the way for missions today, this generation of young men and women is taking up the banner to continue to spread the Gospel.

“I believe this generation is looking for something they can do with passion, and their hearts are for the Lord,” says Rask. “We are praying and we know other organizations particularly are praying and churches are praying that God would touch young people. We know it’s hard to make that decision and we go to some hard places, but we see young people absolutely willing to take that.”

The MAF team in Indonesia dedicating a new Kodiak. (Photo courtesy of David Holsten with Mission Aviation Fellowship)

MAF already has young individuals and families serving with them and making a difference for God’s Kingdom. Rask recently heard from two of MAF’s youngest field families who are back on furlough.

“Their stories of God’s faithfulness [are encouraging] in the midst of difficulties and their joy in being able to serve. In one case, in the Democratic Republic of Congo [our pilot was] able to fly doctors and medical personnel into an Ebola area and provide respite and be able to talk to people on the airplane on a long flight about how you know and worship a God that you can’t see.

“I love hearing that and the passion and the commitment and to have young people give personal testimony about how God is using them and growing them. They are building their ‘Ebenezers’ of what God is doing in the world and through them. I think it’s so inspiring to any of us to hear young people with that kind of commitment and passion.”

To keep up with what God is doing at Urbana, you can follow the conference page on Facebook here!

You can also learn more about serving with MAF here!

Meanwhile, please pray for the young men and women who are at Urbana right now, that God would provide guidance and wisdom as they find their place in His Great Commission. Ask the Lord to lead the right people to join MAF in reaching isolated people for His glory.

Rask adds, “Following Urbana is a missions conference [called] CROSS For The Nations and MAF will be there as well. It’s just another venue to allow young people to see and have a glimpse of the glory of God in the nations and what He is doing. It’s an honor for us to share that message and bring glory to Him.”




Header photo courtesy of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.

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