Two years ago, a group from First Baptist Church of Columbia traveled to Greece to work with a partnership there that included serving individuals in a refugee camp. The team, the church, and the partnership in Greece never would have imagined that the two subsequent yearly trips would be cancelled due to a worldwide pandemic in 2020 and the refugee camp burning down in 2021. After much back and forth, the team from FBC Columbia decided to do something they had never done before – a virtual mission trip.
One aspect of the in-person trip was focused on video production and editing. The team in Greece needed help in this area and the team from South Carolina would fill in the gaps. When the trip was canceled for a second year in a row, they decided to help even though they couldn’t be physically present. Megan Pender, who is the College and Young Professional Ministry Coordinator at FBC Columbia, runs a videography business in addition to her job at the church. She knew that, with the help of several University of South Carolina students majoring in Media Arts and Film, they’d be able to help the partnership in Greece through media production even though they couldn’t go.
A team of students gathered at the church for a week, some of those being skilled in media and film, some in graphic design, and some simply willing to learn and wanting to serve. Over the course of the week, the team put in around 250 hours of media production for the partnership. They edited and produced video and created logos, stickers, and other collateral pieces for the ministry in Greece to have at their disposal. The team also created social media posts for the ministry to use that would raise awareness about the refugee situation there, teach how to pray for Muslims, share instances of the Lord caring for refugees, and much more.
Ariel Ray, senior at Columbia International University and intern at FBC Columbia, said that through this virtual trip, she was able to “take what it means to go on mission without actually leaving.” She said the team felt they could “be the hands and feet of Jesus in Greece without even having their feet on the ground.”
Rob Nicholes, the College and Young Professionals Pastor at FBC Columbia, said that this trip was an opportunity to help in a different way through a certain skill set. He said “students are already on social media. It was cool for the students to use the thing they already know for the advancement of the Gospel and for the benefit of others.” With providing so much for the team in Greece, he said this was a “really tangible way to allow the people on the ground to focus on the people and to multiply man hours in the field.” The church plans to continue their partnership with Greece and has another trip scheduled for next year. Considering the success of this year’s virtual trip and knowing the church in Greece has the need, they already plan to bring a team to help shoot and edit video. They say that there is a lot more for them to do to help when they are in the country.