1 Timothy 4:12 says, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young” (NIV). This statement is encouraging for any student who is eager to be Personally-Responsible for the mission of God. Fortunately, Speed the Light (STL) gives them a solid foundation to do just that.
STL is the student-initiated ministry within Assemblies of God Youth Ministries that provides essential transportation and creative communication equipment to missionaries throughout the United States and in over 180 countries around the world.
Today, a young person developing individual ownership of the Great Commission is twelve-year-old Sydney. Sydney comes from a family heavily involved in ministry and missions, including her grandfather, Jim Wellborn.
Wellborn served as the district youth director for Alaska, served twenty-six years with Ambassadors in Mission (AIM), and is currently with Assemblies of God World Missions (AGWM) at Builders International. He has traveled to sixty-five countries, and has rode in many STL vehicles on his visits.
He explained, “Surely, a passion for missions giving, going, and sending was caught by all three of our children, now serving full-time in AG district ministries and AGWM, as well as being passed generationally to our grandchildren. However, this is about Sydney responding to and acting in faith on what she has seen in her parents, grandparents, great grandparents, and church leadership.”
Sydney has known about STL her whole life because of her family’s ministry involvement. She says her family would tell stories about how STL would buy “cool things like computers, cars, scooters, boats, and even horses” so missionaries could travel to remote places to tell others about Jesus.
It was at a pastors’ kids (PK) retreat this year that Sydney heard about the 1 in 1,000 campaign. Designed to encourage students to raise money for STL, Sydney was inspired to participate.
“First, I thought about my cousins who are missionaries in Argentina and how the money would help to purchase equipment they need for their church. Then, I thought, if the money was helpful to them, it would be helpful to missionaries in other countries as well,” she explained.
With encouragement from her parents, Sydney completed a variety of odd jobs in order to reach her goal of $200. “I raised most of the money by mowing our yard. I also helped family members with chores around their house when we would go visit. People seem to give more money when they know you’re raising money for missions!”
Wellborn says it’s important to remember that the Great Commission is not an option, but a personal instruction from Jesus (Matthew 28:16-20).
“For God so loved that He gave. Missions was not the idea of the Assemblies of God, but God started it…we cannot help but to go, give, and pray until the gospel has been preached to all.”
People can’t know Jesus if they never hear about Him, and they can’t hear about Him unless someone tells them. But how will someone go and tell them without being sent?
We all must answer the call to take the gospel to the ends of the earth, whether that means physically going or sacrificially giving so others can go.
Sydney’s testimony should serve as encouragement for other students to engage in the global mission of God.
“Kids my age would probably think it is impossible to raise $200. But, after getting started…I began to think I could do this! I feel like next time I work towards a goal, I will remember how I worked hard and use that to motivate myself again. I like that I was able to start giving to missions now so I can make a habit of giving for the rest of my life!”
Photo courtesy of Jim Wellborn.