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Calvin to Host Missions Fair
January 10, 2007

In February, the Calvin College chapter of Intervarsity Mission Fellowship will host an array of missions organizations at the annual Missions Fair.

The idea behind the fair, which will be held from 9 am to 4 pm on February 6-7, is to showcase the many forms mission work takes today, and the many opportunities these missions present for students.

“It’s easy to think of missionaries as full-time,” says senior Melody Joachim, co-leader of the Intervarsity leadership team at Calvin, "but there are so many opportunities for people our age to go even for a summer or a couple of years. This fair is a good way for them to learn about it and a good way to know about which organization might fit them. It’s also an opportunity to see how God’s working in the world and see many people who are committed to serving the Lord and serving others."

For the fair, some 15 organizations will be represented in booths throughout the Hekman Library lobby, including Africa Inland Mission, Mennonite Mission Network, Mennonite Central Committee, Wycliffe, English Language Institute/China (ELIC) and more.

One returning feature of the missions fair will be the popular “Missionary Hotseat,” which this year will be held from 8:30 to 9:30 pm on Tuesday, February 6 in the choir room of the chapel undercroft at Calvin.

The hotseat is a panel of missionaries who answer students’ questions about mission work. The questions traditionally focus in on the practical aspects of being a missionary says Joachim.

"In the hot seat format," she says, "students can ask them anything they want about what it’s like to be a missionary and to be a part of one of these organizations-the good and the bad.”

The Missions Fair is more than a vocational showcase says Calvin freshman Rebekah Bell, a secondary education student from Zimbabwe who also serves on the Intervarsity leadership team.

"We want to make people aware that there are a lot of things going on that we don’t realize or seek out to realize, that there are a lot of things God is doing outside America and outside Calvin College,” she says. “It’s important to realize that we are part of a global church, which we sometimes forget, and that we are connected to people in Africa and Asia and elsewhere.”

Both student leaders are eyeing a future in mission work.

Joachim, the daughter of a pastor who took a lot of missions trips, hopes to combine her international development and French majors when working for a nonprofit organization.

Bell, a secondary education major, hopes to work among Muslims.

“I’m interested in the Middle East or North Africa," she says. "They’re part of the 1040 window (the area in the world ---represented in latitude and longitude-that contains the largest population of non-Christians). These are areas where government is closed to the gospel. God likes a challenge.”

Joachim and Bell note that InterVarsity Mission Fellowship exists to encourage Calvin students to grow in love for God, God's Word, God's people of every ethnicity and culture, and God's purposes in the world.

"Specifically," Joachim says, "the focus is to promote furthering Christ's kingdom through world missions. Through speakers, fellowship, and prayer, students will learn more about how we can be involved in sharing Christ with others, both while students at Calvin and after graduation, in Grand Rapids and around the world."

~written by communications and marketing staff writer Myrna Anderson