By Avonlea Brown
This year, seven new locations joined the list of Global Outreach mission trips at Cedarville University, making a record number of options available to students. One of the recent additions is a student-led trip over Fall Break to Syracuse, New York.
Andrew Krom and Elijah Elmer, two MDiv majors, both grew up in Upstate New York and see a need for church planting in the area. As two people who felt called to domestic ministry, Krom and Elmer wanted to share the word about the lack of the gospel in Syracuse with their fellow students.
“I heard someone say that people who want to do missions who want to stay in the US go to the Northeast because that’s kind of the big area where the gospel is needed, and it’s a mission field,” Krom said. “It’s a beautiful place to live and a beautiful place to do ministry.”
When their mentors Dr. Jermey Kimble and Dr. Jon Wood came to them and proposed they lead a mission trip to Syracuse, they both eagerly agreed.
“We’re hoping, when we go there, to lead in serving,” Krom said. “And then also hopefully encourage the pastors and the churches there and also just continue to get students excited about Syracuse in the area even beyond this trip, because we want to end up there long term.”
The mission trip came about due to the efforts of two pastors from the Syracuse area, Mike Mazzye of Renovation Church and Bernie Elliot of Covenant Church, who visited Cedarville University several times to pitch the area to the Global Outreach team. Kimble and Wood eventually traveled to Syracuse over the summer to visit the churches and get a sense of their need for the gospel.
Syracuse, NY, contains multitudes of opportunities for students with varying degrees and backgrounds, making it an opportunistic place to start church planting.
“The vision is to have students graduate thinking intentionally about where they’re going to live on mission for the gospel, and I can’t think of very many better places,” Elmer said. “Anything you could do vocationally is there.”
Students will leave for Syracuse on Wednesday afternoon, October 18. The next three days will be filled with activities in the area and serving in local communities before heading back to campus on October 22.
“A third of the trip is going to be service-oriented,” Krom said. “Then a third of the trip is built around learning the mission and the vision for either church planning or missional living and helping out a church plan. Then the other third is trying to get to know the Syracuse area.”
Elmer hopes to be a part of another fall break or summer trip next year before he graduates and see trips to Syracuse continue in the future.
“We’re trying to build relationships for future years for more trips,” Elmer said. “There’s a huge need for the gospel in the Northeast, and Syracuse is right in that same vein. Depending on where you’re at in Syracuse, it’s only two to three percent evangelical. And that’s a large population. Two to three percent out of 1 million is a daunting amount of people not hearing the gospel, so you know there’s a need and we want to get people there to see the need.”
Avonlea Brown is a junior Broadcasting, Digital Media, and Journalism major from a small town in Maine. She is the co-editor of Campus News for Cedars Student News and currently working towards going abroad to study international journalism. She likes reading, travel, and learning new things.