Every summer, the Mission Centers of Houston welcomes summer missionaries who come to Houston to serve the Near Northside community through the Mission Centers’ ministries. The summer missionary intern program started at the Mission Centers approximately 39 years ago under the leadership of Mildred McWhorter.
Summer missionaries participate and serve in every aspect of the centers' ministries. They help run the Kids, Youth, and Senior clubs; the Food Pantry and Clothing Closet; the Sewing Club; the Homebound and Homeless ministry; and the Ladies Bible Study during the week. They also help care for preschool-aged children during the Ladies Bible study. They mow lawns for the centers' neighbors, share about MCH at local churches on Sunday mornings, and help in Vacation Bible School. Finally, the missionaries will help lead the various youth groups who will come from all over the country to serve at MCH this summer.
During their first week, the missionaries go through several days of an intensive orientation program. They spend time in prayer and get to know the surrounding neighborhoods. They learn various evangelism, counseling, and discipleship techniques. They familiarize themselves with the centers' demographics, Mission Centers Doctrine, and are inspired to grow spiritually during their time as an intern. Summer missionaries also learn how to teach children and youth, ensure safe and secure procedures, and understand ministry to senior citizens, the homebound, and the homeless. They discuss Biblical conflict resolution. They also enjoy fun activities for team building and problem-solving.
Missionaries begin the week after orientation by observing the staff in ministry. They shadow the staff and by the end of the week, they get to lead the ministries. Starting the third week, the summer missionary interns will lead (under staff supervision) the different youth groups from around the country who come to MCH for their youth mission trips.
2019 Summer Missionaries
This summer, the Mission Centers welcomed 13 summer missionaries, who will serve at the Gano and Joy mission centers until the end of July. This year’s summer missionaries are college students who come from Georgia, Mississippi, Texas, Florida, Nigeria, and Honduras.
Student missionaries learn about summer missions opportunities through their state's Baptist Convention and Student Collegiate ministries. They peruse a list of all the opportunities, choose their top three, and are assigned to a location based on need.
Some students serve consecutive summers in the same location. MCH has one returning missionary from last summer. Some students, like Kene from Nigeria, listed Houston and MCH as their top choice. Other students, who hadn't listed Houston on their top three at all but were assigned here anyway, said, “Houston chose me.” Either way, they all have come with a spirit of obedience to the Lord’s calling and a willingness to serve however they can.
Most of the missionaries are sent by their collegiate ministries. The students volunteer their time, but their lodging, food, and ministry resources are provided for them.
Summer missionaries are a great asset to the Mission Centers. The staff is excited to mentor these young adults at such a pivotal time in their life. The missionaries give the Centers the opportunity to expand their ministries by providing extra leadership, support, and manpower. Summer is a good time to expand these ministries, especially to children and youth. School is out, so children and youth have more time at home and take advantage of the extra-curricular activities provided by the Mission Centers.
Supporting our Missionaries
Of course, there are challenges that come with hosting twelve missionaries. The biggest challenge is logistical—keeping track of all the summer activities and making sure everything is in place. Another challenge is ensuring enough people sign up to provide meals for the missionaries. The missionaries rely on the generosity of individuals and churches to bring breakfast, lunch, and dinner while they are in Houston. Currently, MCH is in great need of churches and/or individuals to provide meals for the missionaries.
If you would like to provide a meal—home cooked, takeout, or a donation—for these missionaries, you can sign up here.
Please pray for these missionaries—David, Sam, Canton, Jessy, Ana, Josh, Abigail, Aly, Dominique, John, Cris, LauraAnne, Parks, and Kene—and Mission Centers of Houston as they serve this summer. Pray that they will grow more and more like Jesus and that unity, kindness, and patience will prevail. Pray for safety and good health as they serve in all aspects of this summer ministry. Pray for boldness in sharing the truth of the gospel to their neighbors. And pray the Lord will provide all their needs, from meals to the finances needed to host the end-of-summer block parties.