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College student fulfills call to missions

College student fulfills call to missions

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

College student fulfills call to missions

June 21, 2006    News media contact: Tita Parham* 
800-282-8011    Orlando {0505}

An e-Review Feature
By Steven Skelley**

Sarah Campbell (second from right) and family. Photo courtesy of Sarah Campbell, Photo #06-385. Web photo only.

Sarah Campbell is a young woman on a mission.

The third-year college student at Stetson University in DeLand left for Carorita, Venezuela, earlier this month to assist the Rev. Francisco Mendoza at the St. Francis of Assisi Center. She went as a United Methodist Volunteers In Mission (UMVIM) Single Volunteer.

UMVIM promotes, encourages and enables Christians to exemplify Christian love in action, according to its Web site. The group’s aim is to “achieve the Great Commission by providing short-term mission opportunities for everyday Christians to reach a new generation with God’s love.”

Campbell said the St. Francis of Assisi Center is a United Methodist community center that does “many things in the small village.”

“I will basically be helping wherever is necessary,” she said of her two-month stint at the center. “I could possibly be working with children and youth, helping families in the farm fields and/or helping short-term missions.”

To get ready for the trip Campbell participated in an UMVIM training weekend in Leesburg in April where she learned how to prepare physically and spiritually.

“Logistically, there are doctors’ appointments, immunizations shots and medications to get, as well as keeping in contact with the mission in Venezuela, buying my plane ticket and deciding what to pack,” she said prior to leaving. “My spiritual preparation comes from where my heart is and how much I am allowing God to move, rather than trying to do things on my own. I don’t think that’s something I am completely prepared for, but that’s good because then I’ll be open to new experiences and really have to rely on God.”

The Rev. Dr. Larry Rankin, director of the conference’s Global Mission and Justice Ministries, said Campbell researched which program would be best for her. He said her work and decision to participate is unique because “she is a young adult searching for meaning and purpose in her life. … She is considering a Christian vocation, possibly the ordained ministry. 

“It’s a bit of a gutsy assignment, due to the instability in that country at this time,” he added.

Campbell grew up in Naples and has attended North Naples United Methodist Church since she was 8 years old, where her mother, the Rev. Stephanie Campbell, was the children’s ministry director.

“The United Methodist Women of North Naples United Methodist Church has really spear-headed the support within the church,” Campbell said. “Even though I wasn’t home from school yet, they were making sure the church knew about my plans and gave me generous financial support.”

While in college at Stetson, Campbell has been attending First United Methodist Church of DeLand.

“The youth director and youth group … have been very excited and supportive of me. I was very touched when the youth director helped me financially with some of the youth group’s own mission money,” Campbell said.

Campbell hopes others will follow God’s call in their lives. “I hope that the youth realize that they can take these kinds of opportunities also and live out their faith in tangible ways wherever they are.”


This article relates to Missions.

*Parham is managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Skelley is a freelance writer based in Beverly Hills, Fla. His columns appear in the Naples Sun Times newspaper and Faith & Tennis magazine.