Wade adds southeast Alaska trip to multiple mission ventures
By Terry Gaston
BPC Public Relations
MOUNT VERNON -- After spending the summers of 2001 and 2002 on missions through the Georgia Baptist Student Union, Brewton-Parker College senior Keith Wade initially was planning to spend the summer taking courses and working at BPC.
However, a great opportunity arose while Wade - as the chairman of state student missions while serving a one-year term on the state leadership team for collegiate ministries - was helping to select those students who would represent the Georgia Baptist Convention in summertime service through the Georgia BSU.
So, after two weeks of prayer, Wade found himself as a missionary sponsored by the GBSU for the third straight summer.
After serving in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 2001 and the impoverished southeast African nation of Mozambique in 2002, Wade spent June and July in southeast Alaska.
"I wanted to stay here to take classes and work on campus," said Wade, a Morven native and son of Jerald and Verona Wade, "but all the doors for doing that pretty much closed and the door to Alaska was opened. Then God said, 'I want you to go to Alaska this summer.'
"The GBC program provides the opportunity for students to do summer missions with very little expense to the students as BSUs raise money for students all year long to do summer missions," Wade said. "It's not totally free, but it allows students to do missions without having to be in a stressful situation in worrying about raising their own expenses."
While Wade was based in the Alaskan capital of Juneau, his duties included conducting Vacation Bible Schools in several other southeastern Alaska cities and a youth camp in Ketchikan while also doing cabin construction at a church camp in Coffman Cove.
He said he and his team of eight college students, who hailed from seven states, made contact with about 500 youngsters.
The team also came into contact with 20 other college students in Skagway while they were working the tourist shops.
"We led Bible studies and just hung out with them," Wade said. "We encouraged them not to give up but to continue to seek after His face.
"They have a real need for discipleship, the need for someone to spend time with them and they need enhancement in the Bible and understanding in the Word."
Time allowed for Wade and his student ministry team to take in some of the extraordinary recreational opportunities offered in America's "Last Frontier."
"It's a man's paradise," Wade said. "Most men like to hunt and fish, and I got to hunt black bear and fish for king salmon, halibut and king crab." While no bears met their fate to Wade, he helped bring in a halibut weighing 80 pounds, king salmon as large as 25 pounds and at least six Alaskan king crab.
"I just have a love for people and I love to visit different types of cultures," Wade said. "Georgia, Africa and Alaska offer three different types of cultures, to which you have to adapt the minute you step off the plane."
Wade's mission ventures also include trips to Canada -- through BPC's Centennial Scholars Program -- along with Mexico, Nicaragua, Jamaica, Ohio and Georgia.
"Missions is my life," Wade said. "God has called me to serve anywhere. Just like Jesus said in Matthew 28:19-20, 'Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.'
"This is what I take with me each trip on which I take or go. I allow Him to use me in whatever He has offered to me and trust that He will take care of me. I encourage young people to get out and do missions through the local church or go through a program that offers missions. It is a life-changing experience. Missions people are in need."
Brewton-Parker College senior Keith Wade (lower right) and others take a break from their cabin construction project at a church camp in Coffman Cove, Alaska. (Photo courtesy Keith Wade)