Baptist and Reflector
KNOXVILLE — At a time when many students were thinking about vacations, a large number of University of Tennessee Baptist Collegiate Ministries and Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ) students were planning how they could help Puerto Ricans recovering from two category 5 hurricanes.
Rodney Norvell, the BCM director at the University of Tennessee, began praying about how BCM could help those that were devastated by Hurricane Irma on Sept. 6 and hit again by Maria on Sept. 20, 2017.
“We could see on the news how slow the recovery effort was going,” Norvell said. “So, knowing that students can make a big difference in a short time, we wanted to help.”
Norvell, a member of First Baptist Church, Concord in Knoxville, found out that one of the mission staff members from his church, Allen Krueger, was going to be in Puerto Rico for the month of November, serving with disaster relief. Norvell asked Krueger if he would find a place for the BCM students to stay and locate a church that they could work with on spring break.
At the same time Brent Jordan, also a member at Concord and director for the University of Tennessee’s Cru Ministries, did the same thing.
In most cases, it is difficult for different campus ministries to partner together on mission trips — just due to the logistics of moving large groups around. But God used FBC Concord to pull the two groups together, and Paul Standifer, FBC Concord’s moderator, stepped in to coordinate the trip for BCM and Cru, along with six additional volunteers from FBC Concord. The group traveled together on the spring break mission trip from March 10-17.
Altogether God sent 52 people to serve with the churches of Iglesia Bautista Belen and Iglesia Biblica Metro in the area of Carolina. These two churches share the same facility with Pastor Rafael Rodriguez Lambooy leading the mother church of Belen and Andres Laracuente serving as a church planter with NAMB starting Metro in the same facility.
The students worked on several homes, the church, a couple of schools, and spent one day doing evangelism at the University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras campus. Through working at one of the schools, seven students came to Christ and relationships were forged for the churches to use volunteers at the schools.
God brought churches and student ministries together to impact the island of Puerto Rico using a sweet spirit of unity, friendship and kingdom growth during the trip, Norvell noted. B&R