His experience in Peru last year helping build churches and leading worship services proved life-changing for communication and pre-law major Keith Ybanez. As a result, his broadened views will one day lead to improved lives for those in difficult and vulnerable circumstances. Ybanez, a La Sierra University student and the campus’s recruiting director for missions, spent more than nine months in Peru on a long-term mission assignment through La Sierra. He is now planning to focus on international law aiding underserved populations. “I never considered the ways my career [in law] can help others,” he said.
Ybanez and other missions department staff stepped up their efforts to inspire students to serve during the annual Missions Rush Week held January 10-13. In a missions village on campus, students could meet student missionaries. They could also make their way through a prayer labyrinth that incorporated inspirational activities such as tossing a pebble into a pool of water to symbolically cast cares upon God.
“I liked the prayer labyrinth,” said Laura Naranjo, a freshman biology and pre-med major. “I took an hour there. It was a peaceful experience.” A walk through the labyrinth can remind students not to worry or be afraid of separation from family and friends, she said.
The week included an inspiring message at La Sierra University Church by José Vicente Rojas, director of volunteer ministries for the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists and an alumnus of La Sierra University. “Mission is not what you do. Mission is what God does through you for the blessing of others,” said Rojas.
“Guess where I learned about community? At La Sierra,” Rojas continued. “La Sierra changed my life. I don’t know how else to say it. Let it change yours as well.”