A Century of Student Missions

Twenty-eight students from Bucknell University will attend the Urbana Student Missions Convention from December 27-31 in St. Louis, MO.

In 1896, one hundred and ten years ago, C.T. Studd, a missionary to China, spoke to students at Bucknell University. He encouraged them to serve as missionaries wherever God might call them. Since then, generations of Bucknell alumni have continued their passionate witness of the gospel.

Bucknell has had a history of sending alumni to serve around the world. Rila Yang Hackett graduated in 1982 and demonstrates her commitment to sharing Christ’s love through serving those in the congregation at First Presbyterian Church in Lancaster, PA. During prayer and worship times, Rila plays the piano; she also studies Scripture with many church members, and as the pastor’s wife expresses hospitality to those in the community.

Mark and Diana Ritschard, who graduated in the late 1980s, have taken many students to Russia on summer outreach service projects. Brian Raves graduated in 2005, and after finishing his internship with Keynote Productions, the multimedia department of a campus ministry, he returned to film school. He is now considering how to use his film degree for missions. Chris and Jess Owens, both alumni of Bucknell University, have served students as InterVarsity staff members at their alma mater since 2003.

Last spring, many students from the InterVarsity chapter served residents in New Orleans after hurricane Katrina hit, and this spring about 20 students will be going to New Mexico to help with Habitat for Humanity, building homes for residents.

Students at Bucknell see themselves as missionaries to their peers on campus. Participating in summer global missions projects bolsters their sense of purpose, skill sets, and broadens their perspective on the world beyond their campus.