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I have the opportunity and privilege to take a year off from studying and serve at Familia Feliz, an orphanage and school in the country of Bolivia, South America. I will be serving as a house parent, teacher, groundskeeper, maintenance man, chef... you name it, they have it.
Each year Southern Adventist University sends out more than 60 full-time student missionaries. I have agreed to raise $5,100 for Southern's Student Missions program. As a group, the funds we raise will collectively help cover our airfare, visas, insurance training, and care packages. I am excited to serve as a student missionary! Will you help me reach my goal? Whatever you are able to give is greatly appreciate by the 2018 -19 student missionaries, the people we will serve, and also myself.
Mason Clark. Follower of God, and fisher of men... but no expert at either. I am continually learning and improving at both. I call California home, but the busyness of college life has shown me that home is not so much a place as it is the people you are with. I have a love for sports, the outdoors, and adventures in general. In the past few years, I have been able to use my God-given talents in a variety of ways as a summer camp counselor, short-term missionary, dedicated student, SonRise actor (resurrection pageant at Southern), and friend (see images below). I look forward to continuing my theme of service in Bolivia next year with YOUR help.
Hiking to Upper Yosemite Falls with friends from Camp Wawona
Playing "Duck, Duck, Goose" with kids from Francia Sirpi, Nicaragua
Playing the role of Jesus at the Garden of Gethsemane scene during SonRise
So why spend a year away from my family, friends, creature comforts, and home? No one ever said being a student missionary (SM) was easy. In the same way, no one has ever come back from being an SM and claimed to have learned nothing about themselves or God. I chose to serve as an SM because I believe that God has called me to do so through the Bible and through my own conscience. Matthew 28:19-20 says: "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” This can mean a lot of things to a lot of people, but for me, I feel God has called me to go out of my comfort zone and serve in Bolivia.
I grew up as an Adventist and floated along in my faith for quite some time. I would often do service projects, outreach, and had an active role in my church, but never really thought about why I was doing these things. When I got to college, it became far more difficult to find time to do such things. Just last year, in the wake of the horrific hurricane season, I felt as if I was slapped across the face (no not with the storms' fat raindrops that found their way up into Tennessee) by the most unoriginal realization: this world isn't going to be around forever. This really shook me to the core and caused me to wonder, "Have I really been prioritizing the right things?" From that moment, I decided to start dedicating more of my time and talents to serving and spreading God's love to those around me. As it turns out, I haven't ever felt as blessed as I do now.
When I first came to Southern, I knew I wanted to be an SM, but I didn't know when. Being a biochemistry major (pre-med), it seemed like there would never be a good time to take a year off, even if it was in the spirit of service. I knew one thing for sure, and that was that I would wait to go until after I had "slaughtered" the MCAT. Well, funny story... it is still very much alive and well and will be waiting for me when I get back (and probably going to be the thing, if any, to do the slaughtering). Let's just say that God has His own plans, and right now, taking a year to serve and grow in Him is far more important to me.
So here I am, ready to take off on the adventure of a lifetime, learn a new language and culture, and grow closer to God in my service to others. But, just as I would have never made it to where I am today without the help of my friends and family, so I will never make it to Bolivia without that same help. Whether it be your thoughts, prayers, or a generous donation of any amount, I cannot thank you enough for your support and friendship.
*All gifts are tax deductible and nonrefundable.
Southern Adventist University accepts contributions, whether by gift, device, or bequest, consistent with its general tax-exempt purposes. These contributions may be given directly to any official university organization or activity. However, they may not be directed for any individual employee or student use. Contributions made for an intended purpose, such as a mission or service trip, will be used as specified. However, all contributions shall become the sole property of Southern Adventist University and are non-refundable under all circumstances. As such, the university reserves the right, in the event that the intended purpose is delayed or cancelled, to use the contributions as it may deem best in its sole and complete discretion so as to ensure that the funds will be used consistent with the tax-exempt purposes of the university.
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