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Crossings camp offers students international missions experience without leaving the U.S.


Crossings camps at Cedarmore and Jonathan Creek attract thousands of kids and students every summer, but another Crossings camp has the goal of providing an international missions experience without leaving the U.S. 

This will be the third year for "Crossings on Mission," a fourday summer opportunity for students in grades 7-12 that focuses on mission work with the North American Mission Board's church planters in Chicago. The activity is hosted by Trinity International University. Worship, apologetics training, Bible study and fellowship are all key elements of the July 14-18 camp. 

"There are 70 different languages spoken in Chicago," said Randall Breland, director of student programming for Crossings. "The nations are literally there — you don't have to go overseas to experience international missions. Chicago is in our back yard and the nations are right there. 

Each night has a time devoted to worship. 

"Generation Z (people born between 1995 and 2015) is a generation that wants to discuss their faith and have a safe place to ask hard questions," said Breland. "We do gospel training (3 Circles) and prepare them to share their faith. We want them to know why people can trust the Bible." 

"At 10:30 each morning, campers will go to various mission sites along with a church planter. People in those communities are reticent to go to church, but they will go to an event or an activity. We want to sow seeds in the communities to help our church planters gain credibility." 

This is the third year for the Crossings on Missions opportunity in Chicago. There have been 100 students on the trip in the past, but this year Breland said the group may number 200, adding that there is room for 500. "It's important to them to come as a church group. We want adults to disciple kids — that is essential." Campers participate with their own church group. 

Nick Dixon, pastor of student ministry at Twelve Oaks Baptist Church, said the Chicago trip last year was quite eye-opening for him and his students. "The amount of lost people is staggering — it really impacted us. We have lost people here in Kentucky, but there are millions in the Chicago area who have never heard the gospel explained correctly. 

"We were driving to one of our ministry spots that was only a few miles away, but it took forever to get there because of the traffic. As you looked at all the traffic, the idea that one out of every 10 cars you see is not a Christian really impacts you. It impacted me and our youth. We saw the need for more churches and the need to send more people," Dixon said. 

"We passed out information to people as they were leaving schools. At one school where we were handing out literature inviting students to an event, there was one boy who was rough and rude as I talked with him. But then one of his teachers started talking to him, too. The boy wanted to appear tough to his friends, but it seemed like he really wanted to listen, too." 

Breland encouraged youth leaders to register today so their students can experience "what it truly means to live life on mission." Individual registration is not allowed — chaperones are required. There must be one chaperone for every five students. For more information, go to www.gocrossings.org/ onmission.

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