The Michigan Conference Publishing Department launched a new missionary program called STRIDE. The acronym stands for Students Training, Reviving, Integrating, Discipling and Evangelizing. The eight-month program provides evangelistic training for student missionaries.
STRIDE students use their training to help local members learn how to give effective Bible studies. They also participate in other local church ministries such as cooking schools, nursing home ministries, and Adventist Community Services.
This year's STRIDE program is ministering in Lansing and surrounding areas. Most of their time has been spent working alongside the Grand Ledge, Lansing Spanish, and Williamston churches. They have also canvassed in Lansing for interests.
STRIDE has four dedicated student missionaries who answered God’s call to work in the mission field this year: Adiv Frazier, Danton Waller, Joseph Olivier, and Thomas Mayhew.
Thomas comes to STRIDE from Ohio. He is completing his undergraduate degree in theology through Hartland College’s distance learning program and is grateful to be a part of the exciting work that God is doing here in Michigan!
Thomas never thought of coming to STRIDE until a few months before the program began. He was dedicated to completing his undergraduate degree and beginning the ministry to which he felt called.
He says, “David Paño, Literature Ministries director for the Michigan Conference, said something to me that radically changed how I looked at my goals in life and the way the Lord was leading me to ministry. He said, ‘Don’t let school get in the way of your education.’ I could not help but sense that God was calling me participate in the STRIDE program. He provided clear evidence along the way that proved I was following the plan He had for me, including dissolving some of my financial roadblocks.
I have been blessed and positively challenged as I have worked with STRIDE. Part of what I do is helping to oversee the work at the three different churches we are working with in the greater Lansing area. This has allowed me to be in a place where I can receive mentorship specifically geared to helping me succeed, and learn how to guide others in doing God’s work. In addition, I have been blessed with the opportunity to take part in Bible work, canvassing, and other types of outreach, all being accomplished that we might hasten the soon coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.”
Adiv came to STRIDE from Alaska and has been working primarily with the Williamston church. He knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that God really does care and answers prayers. He describes his experience thus far:
“Throughout the week I made sure to stay focused on reaching people. I asked myself, What books would help the people? How can I get the books in their hands?My canvassing leader suggested that I make a book goal. He mentioned that it might help me reach more people. The next day I set a goal of 50 books. I prayed between each door while canvassing, but I only sold 10 books! The following day my leader put me in a neighborhood instead of businesses. Four houses after being dropped off, I met a lady who gave me a large enough donation to leave 36 books with her. As the day continued, 15 more books went out. The Lord helped me surpass my goal!”
Danton was born in Michigan. He has been working with the Grand Ledge church. After the STRIDE program ends this year, he plans to continue serving the Lord wherever He leads. He has been considering studying theology and business next fall.
Danton shares: “God led me to STRIDE in a very powerful way. I felt called to do more for the Lord but didn't know how. God used a summer of canvassing to show me the path He wanted me to take. What ultimately impressed me to come to STRIDE was a desire God placed on my heart to rise higher in my spiritual life. I wanted to continue the spiritual journey that had been supercharged by canvassing and this program presented a wonderful opportunity to do so.
While in this program, so many powerful things have happened. I was doing Bible work with a friend of mine, and we met a man who knew a current church member's father. We were able to connect them with the member and the man expressed interest in coming to church again!
Joseph is from Florida and serves as one of the STRIDE missionary students at the Lansing Spanish church. Last summer he worked in New Jersey as a Bible worker and planned to stay there. Later, he saw that the Lord had something else in mind.
Since coming to Michigan, Joseph says, “the Lord has shown me more of why He led me to be here through the needs I’ve seen. He has helped me learn more of what it means to be a servant like Jesus. I am looking forward to the work that the Lord will continue to do for us and through us. As we learn to put self aside and make room for the Holy Spirit’s working upon our hearts, we will be enabled to live lives wholly consecrated to God—lives available for service wherever He leads.
In the book Education, p. 271, an image is presented in reference to Adventist youth—an army that is “rightly trained.” Many times, that training is assumed to be provided only from our colleges and universities. Although our educational institutions play an important role, much of the essential training takes place out in the field. This is why opportunities for youth to engage in practical evangelistic work are needed.
Michigan Conference, through different departments, is training these groups of young people to become evangelists in the Lord’s field regardless of their choice of career. STRIDE is starting with a small group but we expect to have more youth join in the coming years.
Please pray for each student missionary. STRIDE longs to see a new generation of youth “rightly trained,” raised up, ready to share the news of Jesus’ soon return. Soon and very soon, we are going to see the King!