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Meet the Local Missions Department

The Local Missions Department exists to equip students to work alongside their local community respectfully and with well-oriented hearts as they answer the call of the Great Commission to serve wherever they may find themselves. The Local Missions Department longs to bridge the understanding that the local context is everywhere, whether globally or where we live locally. They aim to do this by equipping students to serve alongside churches and organizations in Biola’s respective Jerusalem (the L.A. County) and Judea (the greater California).

Hear from LM Director, Ibironke Laura Akinola

What is your Department's Vision this Year?

My vision for the Local Missions Department is boldness. Boldness in engaging in relationships with people who may not look like you, boldness in loving others the way they want to be loved, and boldness in reaching out to our neighbors and being the hands and feet of Jesus, wherever there is a need. My hope is that Biola students will mourn and rejoice with their neighbors in Orange and Los Angeles County. And that God would break our hearts for what breaks his—students led by the Spirit to go because they have a desire to. Boldness in Engaging,Boldness in Loving, Boldness in Reaching out.

Department Bible Verse: Matthew 5:14-16

Prayer Requests:

  • Navigating Team Dynamics

  • Unified growth within co-leaders


Why Missions? Why SMU?

Hear from the Team:
"Missions is important to me because it as God's creation we are called to worship! Everything we do as humans should be an act of worship to God our Father. Missions is a beautiful act of worship because when we make disciples we are obeying God’s commandment and revealing the love and actions of Christ to others! I applied to be a part of SMU because I wanted to be a part of a team that understood the centrality of our mission we have been given on this earth! Every day is an adventure that God asks us to step into with Him as we die to ourselves and allow Him to use us as his hands and feet. I want to surround myself with individuals who understand this and that I can engage in discipleship with. Also it sounds way too cool, almost not even right, to be paid money to help equip others to spread the Gospel! It’s so cliche but often the most cliche things are some of the realest; I just want to be a part of something bigger than myself.."

- Tyler Balsbaugh, Local Missions Team Developer

"Missions is important to me because it should be a way of life! it doesn’t matter what job position we are called too, we are still called to be missionaries and walk through life caring about people’s bodies, minds, and souls. i desire to pursue missions and ministry in come capacity throughout my life and believe that through actions and words, we come to a fuller understanding of the body of Christ through missions. I applied to be apart of SMU because it has been a dream of mine to be in SMU since i was 16 and first heard about it. I had a friend who was four years older than me and going to biola, and when she first told me about SMU, i instantly felt pulled to be involved in some capacity. through my time at biola i’ve gotten to be involved in SMU from afar, and when the opportunity presented itself to join last spring, i felt strongly that God was calling me to join! i have a huge heart for the local church and a broader understanding of ministry, missions, and social justice work, and want to embody that well in my work, my school, and all my life at Biola, now including SMU :) "

- Lauren Kennedy, Local Missions Team Developer

"Missions is important to me because it recognizes that God is interested and deeply invested in each of our lives. He wants to know us personally and gives us an open invitation to join Him in the work that He’s already doing on earth. Missions is accessible to anyone regardless of what they consider their occupation to be! Whether we’re full time missionaries, teachers, nurses, artists, etc.. We have been given unique spheres of influence, resources, and gifts that we can use to grow the Kingdom of God & I think that’s beautiful :)"

- Natalie Espinosa, Local Missions Team Developer

"Missions is so important to me because the gospel is important to me and it is a good news that demands to be shared!! There are people that do not have the hope of Christ, a reality that is of life and death importance. God had given me everything in Christ so it is my joy to glorify His name, forsaking all else, so that others might receive Him as well. I applied to SMU because I was struck by the centrality of the Great Commission and the commitment to Christ I saw amongst the staff. I knew I wanted to part of a community that was set on seeking God, not just at an intellectual level, but at a hands-and-feet level, seeking to please Him by equipping and exhorting students to the fulfillment of the Great Commission. I am so glad I applied"

- Allison Miller, Logistics Coordinator

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