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Recognizing SMU during a COVID year

From the President

If I’m being honest, getting to be President of SMU during a pandemic was not was what I pictured or hoped for, but it was one of the greatest privileges of my life and I wouldn’t change any of it. God used that season not only to challenge and refine my staff and I, but opened our eyes to how “ministry” & “missions” is not measured by numbers or the masses, but has more to do with the posture of our hearts than anything else. That may sound cliché, but you don’t realize how much we associate numbers and masses with success until those things aren’t an option anymore. It was a season of realignment: restructuring internally, and reimagining all the ways that ministry and missions can be done— it was beautiful, humbling, and nothing short of an honor.

- Bobbi Thompson, 2020-2021 SMU President

We have had to endure much in these pandemic years, with some anxieties leaving a lasting impression. However, despite the change and polarization, these past years did unite us in alternative ways. As SMU’s previous Diversity and Inclusion lead, the weight of the world felt ever present. This weight shaped into self-imposed expectations and the anxiety of navigating through difficult discussions on matters of politics, inclusivity, and unraveling SMU’s structure. Despite these worries, encouragement emerged in interesting ways. The directors and staff’s initial response were curiosity and honesty, two foundational pieces in cultivating discussions that lead to better collaboration. I felt deeply encouraged with the willingness to engage with a basis of respect. In a time of severe change wrought with polarization, the fact we could join together and learn how to better serve our community despite our differences is something special indeed.

- Dillon Yoon, 2020-2021 SMU Diversity and Inclusion

This past school year through covid was rough and surely all of those on staff in SMU felt this as well. For Missions Conference, Alissa and I, and our wonderful coordinator staff, felt the difficulties of putting on a large scale conference with a primarily online audience. Yet, the Lord in His kindness worked immensely and specifically ensured that not even in a lockdown year the calling to be on mission for Christ would be diminished. One of the most prominent ways we had witnessed the working of the Holy Spirit in SMU was the intentionality that the Lord gave the members of the Board of Directors in pursuing the Great Commission. Through the new advisory board that was started in SMU last year we had the opportunity to hear from 10 diverse and wise voices on how we can better preach the gospel in all communities. In MC it was really evident that the Lord had placed a theme on our hearts that stripped the idea of missions down to the bones. One where we as disciples of Jesus find our source of carrying out the Great Commission from the compelling of the Holy Spirit. This we believe to be no coincidence that in a year that became filled with extra trials that God Himself had compelled us to share such a powerful message with the student body.

- Evan Peters and Alissa Wooley, 2020-2021 SMU Missions Conference Directors

Testimonies from the Missions Department

It has been such an encouragement to see all the members, leaders, and staff members continuing to pursue God and his kingdom work even in this time of "unknowns" and remote ministry. The Lord is at work and I need to remind myself that He will never fail us, but is able to use us in any capacity through fundraising, prayer, and learning opportunities from various organizations. Even when I felt like I didn't have the strength, he empowered me to see the end goal and his faithful presence in the NOW.

- Ashley Chang, Local Missions Team Developer

I started off my SMU experience as a team member back in 2018, and then I was blessed with the opportunity to become a leader for a one-to-one ministry team 2020-2021. I had never been confident in my leadership skills, therefore this opportunity came at me as a surprise from God. I did not completely understand why He wanted me to take on this role, but through my time serving with SMU at CEF's Good News Club, God developed my heart and my character to be more and more like Him. I saw how much growth I had experienced as a leader and as a person. The biggest lesson I learned from being a part of SMU is that God can use anyone, at any age, anywhere and anytime.

- Blessedda Jireh Flores, CEF Co-Leader

It has been such a beautiful year with SMU. I had no idea how much inspiration and love that this community would bring to me when I joined. I was blessed to work with children through weekly zoom calls to spread God's word. Watching them grow into the beautiful and courageous children of God was so beautiful. It was a process that I am forever grateful to be a part of. I know that they may say that I impacted them (at least I hope haha), I know for a fact that they inspired me forever. I have learned that God has so many different ways to reach out to me. He even uses a younger crowd to speak to me and teach me how to be a better steward. At first, I had more of a close-minded mentality, but once I allowed them to, the children were able to have me see my own mistakes and make my relationship with the Lord even stronger than before.

- Zoe Crisostomo, CEF Member

This time in SMU has really showed me more and more of God's faithfulness. In the unknowns and changing plans that come with Covid, God always showed up. His faithfulness was revealed in the ways that he encouraged me, in the ways that our team bonded and created community together, and in the ways we got to learn about the amazing ministries happening at the Dream Center. In a time when it is clear that I cannot do it all in my own strength, God made it obvious that he was faithful to provide in every need.

- Phoebe Robinson, Dream Center Co-Leader

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