Articles

Super Summer Arkansas Reaches China

August 20, 2018
Super Summer Arkansas Reaches China

Editor’s Note: CP Share is a story platform developed by the Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC) that is dedicated to sharing how Arkansas Baptists are making a world of difference in missions through the Cooperative Program (CP).

 

Caleb Totty looked around a roomful of bowed heads and tear-streaked faces. Children, adults, and elders were gathered in a Chinese missionary’s house church where the Gospel message was being presented to them in their own language—from the other side of the world.

 

Earlier that day, Caleb—a native of Beebe, Arkansas, and a junior at Missouri State University (West Plains campus)—was meeting a friend for lunch at a university café in China. Caleb had spent the semester in China tutoring college students in English and helping them prepare to study abroad in America.

 

While Caleb waited for his friend, Ben, he started watching a livestream video of Super Summer Arkansas’ worship service. It was Caleb’s first summer unable to attend as a camper or staffer. Super Summer, a junior and senior high youth camp, takes place every year on the campus of Ouachita Baptist University and is a Cooperative Program (CP) ministry of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC).

 

Once Ben arrived at the café, he started watching the livestream over Caleb’s shoulder.

 

“He asked me what it was, and I told him, ‘It’s a summer camp that’s going on in Arkansas right now,’” Caleb said. “Then [Ben] had the idea to show it to his sister, and later she and her husband decided to show it to their church.”

 

The couple were local missionaries and had been hosting church services in their home for four years. While they had seen little evidence of spiritual fruit, the missionaries had continued to open their home to minister to Chinese student groups, families, and older individuals.

 

Caleb was excited to share Super Summer with his friends but, from visiting the church regularly, he knew that only half the group spoke English proficiently. So Caleb recorded the livestream and later worked with the missionaries to add subtitles in Chinese.

 

Later that night, the missionaries would show the Super Summer recording to the church. But what they did not realize was how their church and Caleb’s Super Summer connection were both part of God’s plan to prepare hearts in China for this very moment.

 

Investing local can go global

 

Super Summer is a ministry made possible because of Arkansas Baptists’ focus on students and their giving to cooperative missions through their local church. As Arkansas Baptists, when you give consistently and sacrificially to your church, your church is able to invest financially in missions through the Cooperative Program. A portion of your consistent and sacrificial giving is then invested in Cooperative Program missions, like Super Summer, as well as CP missionaries and ministry partners, like Ouachita Baptist. It is through the CP that you, Arkansas Baptists, are both connected and empowered to share Jesus together.

 

The Arkansas Baptist State Convention focuses this cooperative mission by operating its ministries through three essential intents: strengthening churches; taking the Gospel to the unengaged, unreached, and those underserved with Gospel ministries; and reaching the next generation.

 

That is why Super Summer is such a strong focus for the ABSC. Founded in 1985, Super Summer Arkansas’ mission is to share the Gospel with and disciple the next generation. It supports churches by offering a dynamic camp for their students, creating opportunities for students to mature with a greater understanding of what it means to be a missional follower of Jesus.

 

Caleb was introduced to Super Summer as a camper through his home church of First Baptist Church Beebe, and he later went back to camp to serve as a Super Summer staffer. Staffers are given 30 hours of small group leader and student ministry training, which they then use to lead a small group during camp.

 

For many Super Summer alum—like Caleb—camp is where they claimed Christ as their Savior, accepted a call to ministry, or grew in their faith. “Super Summer was life changing for me,” Caleb said. “That’s where I surrendered my life to missions. It’s always exciting to share that testimony with anyone.”

 

This year, Super Summer 2018 hosted two camp sessions—for the first time since it was founded—in response to its continued growth and commitment to Arkansas students. As a result, there were 3,082 in attendance including students, staffers, and visitors; 360 salvations; 132 decisions to repent of specific sins; and 94 in attendance for Explore Your Call breakout sessions.

 

Because of Arkansas Baptists’ Kingdom mindset and investment in missions through CP, a student like Caleb will not only leave Super Summer a disciple, but also leave camp prepared to make more disciples for Jesus.

 

Reaching Asia via broadcast

 

The first evening that Caleb and the missionaries showed the Super Summer recording to their house church in China, four people accepted Christ. And after two weeks of recording, translating, and showing each Super Summer livestream every evening, a total of 27 people accepted Christ. The youngest salvation was an 11-year-old, and the oldest salvation was a 63-year-old.

 

With a smile on his face, Caleb reflected on answering the call to missions at Super Summer, and how the very same camp became a conversation starter to share the Gospel.  

 

“It was this weird turnaround,” he said. “I was doing my thing in China, and [showing the livestream] turned into a two-week thing.”

 

But Super Summer’s Gospel message broadcast began to move beyond the borders of China. The missionaries to China also had contact with a missionary in Thailand, and they wanted to share the Super Summer recordings with that missionary’s church.

 

“My roommate [in China] delivered the recordings to this missionary because he was actually going to Thailand over spring break,” Caleb said.

 

The Thailand missionary translated the recordings into the native language, as well, and he later reported six salvations following his church’s viewing of Super Summer.  

 

“We get lost in the details, paperwork, and logistics sometimes, but stories like this recalibrate and center our hearts to the Gospel,” said Warren Gassaway, Super Summer director and Student Ministry Specialist for the ABSC. “These salvation stories—not just in China—are what we want to hear to make sure we don’t lose our focus.”

 

And Caleb believes the impact of Super Summer China is just the beginning.

 

“The culture in China revolves around family and personal relationships, so being able to reach one person [for Christ] was encouraging to me and the missionaries,” Caleb said. “Those people who accepted Christ could go and tell their families and their friends. And if those people are saved, then they will go and tell their family members and friends. It’s amazing to think about.”

 

Watch the video testimony of "Super Summer Arkansas Reaches China."

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