When people ask if they should go on the Oxford trip, my immediate response is, “Definitely!” For one, I get an amazing trip at an incredible price. (For real… once you see the itinerary, think about how much it would cost you to do this trip on your own!)
But that’s not all the Oxford trip gave me: I saw church history come alive, I had the opportunity to get to know my professors outside the classroom, and I was encouraged to consider the mission field of Europe.
The Opportunity to See History Come Alive
On the Oxford trip, I took my Baptist History course in England — and history came alive. I have read about William Carey for years, but there was something different about sitting in his tiny shoe shop staring at a replica of Carey’s prayer map which played an important role in the birth of the Modern Mission movement. There was something beautiful about singing “Amazing Grace” in John Newton’s church or staring at the Pilgrim’s Progress scenes carved on John Bunyan’s grave marker. The death of Christian martyrs took on new depths as I listened to the stories of their final hours while staring at the spot at which they were killed. My love of C.S. Lewis deepened as I ate multiple meals at one of his favorite pubs.
History was not just a story in a book but something I experienced as I walked the same roads as those who had gone before.
The Opportunity to Get to Know Your Professors
Most of us have a limited relationship with our professors. We see them during class time. We may run into them in the hallway or hear them preach at chapel. We read their textbooks and sometimes follow them on Twitter.
But one of the amazing things about the Oxford trip was the opportunity to interact with my professors outside the classroom. I have fond memories of discussing theology on the bus rides with one professor and eating dinner at the same table with another. I had the opportunity to ask questions about scholarship, PhD programs, theology and life.
In particular, I watched one of my favorite professors as he lived out what it means to be a Christian servant leader. There were times when he gave up his meal for someone who had forgotten to sign up. One morning he showed up at our door to help us carry our bags. I saw his humility on display which deepened my respect for him and spurred me on to grow in my walk with the Lord.
The Opportunity to See the Mission Field of Europe
You may be aware of the statistics concerning the lostness of Europe; it’s staggering. Yet there is a difference between reading about it and experiencing it.
During the trip, we were encouraged to share the good news as we had the opportunity. One day, a couple of my friends and I ventured into a small park. In the middle of a park was a monument that had a carving of a lion, a horse and a dragon. I read the plaque. (Tip: Always read the plaque.) This was a monument to C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. A young man walked up next to my friend and I and started to eat his lunch. We asked him about the monument. He didn’t know who the men were, so we explained and then shared the gospel with him. He didn’t really know much about Jesus, either. He was cordial but not interested.
As I sat in the shadow of a monument that bore Aslan’s image, I prayed to the Lion of Judah that he would draw this man — and many others from this nation — to Himself.
Should you go to Oxford? If you can, I encourage you to do so. What I found in Oxford was worth far more than the cost of the trip: A deeper respect of history, the opportunity to get to know the faculty and a renewed burden for the people of Europe who do not know Christ.