More and more students are choosing to take a year to pursue other interests – travel, experiencing new cultures, gaining life experience, volunteering – before starting college.
Nehemiah Teams offers summer missions opportunities for students to serve among unreached people groups, and this fall a new initiative called NT365, an IMB gap year, will be launched for high school and college graduates ages 18-23.
NT365 is designed to help students discover God’s purpose for their lives and discern their role in fulfilling the Great Commission.
Jess and Wendy Jennings founded Nehemiah Teams in 2004 while they were living in Southeast Asia. The Jenningses are now the student strategists for the Southeast Asian peoples region.
Jess Jennings said NT365 will utilize programs already in place to offer an opportunity for high school or college graduates to be involved in cross-cultural missions.
As part of this new IMB gap year, students will attend Advance Operations Training (AOT) which is designed to disciple, develop and commission students to serve.
The Jenningses have been conducting this three-month training in the Philippines since 2012. They have trained 72 young adults: 65 Filipinos, one Indonesian, three Nepalese and three Americans.
Tennessee Baptists Jeff and Kim Cruse were with Nehemiah Teams while serving as IMB missionaries in the Philippines for 22-plus years. Kim Cruse now serves on the staff of Tennessee Woman’s Missionary Union while Jeff still serves as a volunteer Nehemiah Team mobilizer.
“For many students, this will be the right program at the right time. Throughout our 15 years of working with Nehemiah Teams, I have seen God use it to change the trajectory of a young person’s life,” Jeff Cruse said.
Kim agreed: “Many students enter college not having any idea of how to effectively utilize their skills in missions, or even that they need to!,” she said.
“So they change majors multiple times, which wastes time and money. Why not use that year to give them real life, hands-on experience? It is not only developing them, but is also instrumental in someone hearing the gospel for the first time. It’s almost a guarantee that the student will return home with a significantly increased maturity level and clarity on how they can be engaged in using their skills to reach the unreached,” she said.
The Cruses saw God “do amazing things in the Philippines and throughout Southeast Asia. … The mentorship and hands-on immersion is so transformational. I highly recommend it,” Jeff said.
For more information on the program, visit www.imb.org/opportunities/nt365-gap-year-in-southeast-asia-2/. B&R — Article includes reporting by B&R staff.