Scores of students and others with Samford University ties who are serving in summer missions are supported by prayers from the campus and elsewhere. And they feel and appreciate it.
"Even if only one student prays for me and my team and our adventure, I believe fully that 'the prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results,'" said Samford senior nursing student Devynne Roahrig, referencing biblical scripture from the book of James.
Roahrig is one of 69 Samford summer mission volunteers whose names appear on a prayer guide card that was distributed by the university's Office of Spiritual Life.
The prayers give her support, Roahrig says, as she learns Chinese language and culture and teaches English to high school students in Yunnan, China.
The prayer card includes names of individuals who are serving around the globe in Asia, Europe, Africa, North America, South America, Australia, Central America and other areas. Closer to home, mission efforts are underway in 10 states, including Alabama.
"Our aim in collecting these names is to make the Samford community aware of the many ways that students are serving around the globe during the summer," said minister to students and global involvement Renee Pitts, noting that the workers are engaging in "exciting and life-changing work of the Gospel."
"We hope that as Samford students, faculty and staff engage in prayer for these names, that they might feel connected to the students serving, and also connected to the larger world outside our gates," Pitts said. "It is our deep desire to see the Samford community inspired by the difference being made in the world because of these students, and to offer them abundant encouragement and support upon their return to campus in the fall."
The prayer card roster and dozens of other Samford summer missionaries who may not be listed represent many academic units on campus-- both undergraduate and graduate. Some will use their special professional skills to serve specific needs.
A 10-member contingent from McWhorter School of Pharmacy will engage in health and wellness outreach in conjunction with Samford's participation in a "Shoe a Nation" event in Dominica in July. They will be joined by Samford student-athletes and athletics department staff who will do sports clinics and other service projects at a youth festival in the Caribbean nation.
Another MSOP group will travel to Peru with a medical team that is sponsored by E-3 ministries, and seven others will serve with E-3 in Tanzania as part of an applied medical missions course.
As many as a dozen other pharmacy students are known to be participating in church mission trips throughout the world.
Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing students will share their special healing and health education skills in Ecuador as part of a nursing missions course.
Thirty-four Beeson Divinity School students will complete a cross-cultural ministry practicum this summer, with eight of them in Brooklyn, N.Y., June 23-July 8 to experience church planting in that global city. Other Beeson students will travel to 9 countries and four states at various times.
Individuals interested in following the work of many of these summer missionaries can follow a blog, overseen by Pitts and Beeson Global Center director David Parks.
Also, a new Samford Around the World webpage features a map with international destinations where official Samford-related trips have taken place in the last five years. Some are mission-related. Some are academic. Others are both.
Parks, its creator, encourages travelers to check the map for meaningful Samford connections in the area of interest before embarking on their journey. Likewise, he says, "If you have been on an international trip in the last five years with a Samford group, we would love for you to add a pin to the map."