Three years ago, Anthea had a dream where God called her into missions. This past fall, she came to the United States from Germany to study and got involved with InterVarsity at the University of Utah. From there, she came to Urbana 15 and as a result, she has gone from being interested in missions to pursuing practical next steps.
But Anthea’s call isn’t directed toward a particular country or even a particular ethnic group. Instead, Anthea feels called to missions work with backpackers.
As a backpacker herself, the call makes complete sense. Anthea understands how many backpackers are spiritually open during their travels. Backpackers journey to experience new cultures, experience personal growth, and get away from familiar surroundings. Indeed, she says, many embark on their journeys “seeking some sort of truth and fulfillment, both physically and spiritually.”
On her own treks, Anthea has stayed in hostels and talked with people as they share their experiences and their hopes and dreams to achieve enlightenment. These conversations are aching for the truth of Jesus and the gospel! So, what if there was a place where backpackers could stop—not just to rest their heads at night—but a place where Jesus could be brought into deep conversations about spiritual fulfillment?
What if there was a place where backpackers could stop—not just to rest their heads at night—but a place where Jesus could be brought into deep conversations about spiritual fulfillment?
Anthea’s dream is to create this kind of space, a space where every night people would gather and share openly about their various pursuits of truth. People could talk about their travels, their spiritual experiences, religion, whatever. But it’d be through this openness and dialogue, that Anthea would be able to share the truths about Jesus and how he is the one who gives complete fulfillment.
Anthea had the opportunity to give such a space a try when a friend’s family moved from Greece to the United States and made their large home available. It didn’t go perfectly. Those who stopped by weren’t as open as she hoped and some of the conversations were difficult. But it was successful because the experience showed her that the dream was possible and confirmed to her that this was the kind of outreach she wanted to do.
Anthea’s experience with InterVarsity at the University of Utah and at Urbana 15 have moved her closer to doing missions full-time. At Urbana, she heard others’ stories and learned of the need for more laborers to be sent into the harvest field. The diversity of people and languages at Urbana 15 motivated her to learn more languages as the more languages she knows, the more people she is able to impact. Urbana 15’s emphasis on prayer reminded her that the call to missions isn’t one of just physically going, but also of engaging spiritually. Prayer is crucial both now as she’s preparing to be sent and in the future as she goes out.
When David Platt spoke and said the purpose of our lives is to pour out our hearts in sacrificial, selfless, satisfying devotion to Christ, something clicked in Anthea. Her story started to make sense as she imagined pouring her heart out in devotion to Christ. After Urbana 15, she feels like she’s beginning to better understand the story Jesus has for her. And that story involves reaching backpackers for Jesus.