Over the last 20 years, high school students from across New England have set out on overseas mission trips and one domestic mission trip. In most recent years, students stepped foot in places like, the Dominican Republic, Scotland, and Hawaii. Trips in the past have taken place in London, The City, in East Asia, and South Africa. As time has changed, Quest has adjusted destinations.
Allyson Clark, oversees youth ministry in New England and has been a part of journey of Quest since its start as a think tank. Clark was there to develop the actual program of Quest and its first trip to London. “The first trip included students outside of New England,” Clark said. At that time, Quest was funded by Northeast Seminary. “It was very visionary,” she added. These trips cost money, but they keep happening and students keep going.
At some point, each high school students find themselves with questions about the journey they are on in life, thus the name Quest was born Clark said. They are all on spiritual journey, a quest if you will. 418 students have experienced mission work over the last 20 years in a culturally different area. Whether that be overseas or in Hawaii, they are growing in their faith in spiritual journey.
As Clark has been with the ministry for its entirety, she has many fond memories from her different experiences. Quest was the first group to bring teenagers to The City in East Asia, an undisclosed location that is 99 percent Muslim.
“The personal feeling, walking down the street, realizing that people had never experienced someone praying for them,” Clark said. Due to that trip, one person came to faith in Christ and many have the opportunity to see him preach in the coming weeks.
Through this, the BCNE has given value to the teenagers experiencing these trips. They are investing in them spiritually and seeing the fruit from hard work. “It impacts youth groups and congregations now. We are still seeing the fruit, some of them are doctors and missionaries,” Clark added.
As Quest’s twentieth anniversary is being celebrated, there are many dreams for upcoming years. Clark hopes that Quest alumni will serve as staff and facilitate these experiences for more youth. This is the true element of discipleship and seeing the early maker for maturity in their faith. This program has changed and been shaped in its life and it will continue. One piece of advice Clark has for teenagers, “Don’t miss what God has for you here and now.”
Pastors and youth leaders can make recommendations for students who are completing grade 10 to participate in Quest next year. Visit bcne.net/quest for more information.
Emily Greer is the communications intern at the Baptist Convention of New England. She also serves as a collegiate ministry associate in Worcester, MA. Find her personal blog at emilykathleengreer.wordpress.com.