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November 14, 2014

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BCF hosts over 20 missions organization during the 2014 Missions Conference.

If “variety is the spice of life,” then this year’s Missions Conference at The Baptist College of Florida (BCF) in Graceville offered students and guests a particularly savory experience. “That’s what makes the Missions Conferences so special,” remarked BCF Missions Major Justin Toffolio. “Every year offers something different. You never know just what to expect.”

This year’s event, held October 20-22, featured key note speaker John Brady, Vice President of Global Strategy for the International Mission Board. Brady spoke each day in chapel, emphasizing the conference theme “A Heart for the Nations.” In addition to being new to his IMB position, Brady was new to The Baptist College of Florida as well. “I discovered a gem in the Florida panhandle,” Brady quipped. “BCF is a wonderful place. This is my first visit, but I can promise you that it won’t be my last,” he added.

Many of the more than twenty missions organizations present for the three-day event were also new to the campus. Well-known ministries like Child Evangelism Fellowship and Team Effort have been around for a while, but made their BCF Missions Conference debuts this year. Others, like Global Business Solutions Institute (a Pensacola-based missions funding program) and Mas Que (beginning a focused work in Peru) are relatively new organizations. The combination of “new and daring” with “tried and true” made for a lively, innovative, and informative missions fair. This was particularly evident during the Tuesday Night Missions Roundtable, when BCF Missions Professor Rich Elligson and several students posed insightful questions to the missionary representatives on issues ranging from contemporary field strategies, to mobilizing local churches, to managing life on the mission field. “I love the Roundtable,” remarked Global Outreach Mission representative Mel Heal. “The students love it. The guests love it. All of the give and take, the interaction, the discussion, the excitement. I look forward to it every year, and never leave disappointed.”

More variety came to this year’s conference through the construction of a World Missions Prayer Walk located in the BCF Wellness Center. Assembled by Dean of Students Roger Richards and students in the geography class, the prayer walk featured “fast facts” and prayer requests for the nine affinity groups targeted by the International Mission Board. According to Richards, “As our class has studied geography, we tried to focus on some of the challenges associated with taking the gospel to some of these hard to reach areas. It was an insightful exercise for all of the students involved.”

Another first for this year’s Missions Conference was marked by the missions representatives themselves. For the first time, four of the agency representatives were BCF graduates returning to recruit current students for specific missions involvement. Shannon Ramsey (‘01), Faith Johnson (‘11), Jolina Janus (‘14), and Katie Gosney (‘14) are all currently serving in various capacities on the field.

“This is a tremendous affirmation of BCF’s effectiveness in training and mobilizing young people to ‘Change the World Through the Unchanging Word®,’” Elligson declared. "It’s an encouragement for our faculty to see our graduates making a difference for the Kingdom, and it’s an encouragement for our students to see that they too have a part to play in God’s redemptive work around the world."

For Johnson, it was all about encouragement as well. “As a music major at BCF, I remember going to the Missions Conference in the Student Center and feeling a bit lost and not sure where I would fit in, but longing to know what options were out there,” she mused. “It was such a blessing to be able to be on the other side of the table sharing with students that you never know what God has in store, and providing them with opportunities to live out their passions and dreams for the greater global kingdom.”

Gosney agreed. “I loved being able to come back for the Missions Conference. I remember what it felt like as a student; eager to learn about all the different ministry opportunities, and yet feeling sometimes overwhelmed with all of the options,” she admitted. “I hope I was able to encourage some of the students in their journeys. I urged them to check out all the booths and to pray about where God would have them serve, trusting Him to show them the answer in His own timing,” she added.

“Besides that, I just like it here,” Gosney laughed. “The students, the missionaries, the amazing stories about what God is doing around the world. You just never know what’s going to happen next.”

To learn more about mission opportunities and degrees at The Baptist College of Florida, call 850.263.3261 ext. 460 or visit the website at www.baptistcollege.edu.

Press Photo

Keynote Speaker John Brady, Vice President of Global Strategy for the International Mission Board, reveals his new BCF shirt during the last day of chapel.