JACKSON, Tenn. – March 28, 2003 – Within a 25 mile radius of Irving, Texas, there are two seminaries and three Christian universities. Yet, there are children living there who have no knowledge of Jesus.
“They’ve never heard the name of God before,” said senior Connie Cooper, describing some of the children she and a team from Union University met on a Global Opportunity (GO) trip to Irving. The 15 member group spent spring break volunteering at J. O. Davis Elementary School during the day and leading a backyard bible club in the afternoon.
The children who attended the club learned scripture verses and Christian songs, like “My God Is So Big.” According to sophomore Rachel Jones, the response was enthusiastic. “The children constantly come up to us at school and sing the songs or quote memory verses,” she said.
The GO team will only be with the children for a week, but they hope the gospel message they brought will have a lasting impact. “Ten years down the road, they will have that verse,” said Allison Lashley, a sophomore.
The children who attend J. O. Davis are ethnically diverse, and Lashley was able to provide a special treat for those of Hispanic origin because she speaks fluent Spanish. “Their faces light up when they hear someone speaking their language,” she said.
The team was able to minister to the faculty at J. O. Davis as well. “Even though it is just for a week, the teachers are grateful that we are lightening their load,” said sophomore Megan Long. The team’s presence also provides an active witness to some of the teachers who may not be Christians, she said.
In addition to working with the children, the group took time to serve food to the some of the area’s homeless population, working with the SEAL (Service, Encouragement And Love) Team from First Baptist Irving and the Dallas Life Foundation.
The team was surprised by the diversity among the homeless. “There are people with college degrees living on the streets,” said Alissa Arnold, director of wellness services at Union and co-leader of GO Irving.
Working with the homeless and working with children provide different challenges, but according to the GO Irving team, the message is the same. “We are trying to let them know that they are loved and have value,” Long said.
“Everybody has a story,” said Cooper. “Each person deserves the same amount of love.”
By Chris Allen
Director of News and Media Relations