It has been five years since I was first introduced to, what was then simply called GAP. I was serving as a Senior Pastor in Chattanooga, TN, and had a mutual love for the local church, missions, and students. That year I was invited to travel to the GAP program housed in Costa Rica to teach the students through a book of the Bible. Each afternoon we studied 2 Timothy in their Bible class. Their Bible classes were in the afternoon following lunch. Their mornings were spent in Spanish classes, where they had been flighted according to the amount of Spanish they arrived with, in country.
In addition to being blown away by the receptive way in which the students engaged in the study of God’s Word, I was taken aback by the sense of community that I witnessed, as well as the willingness the students exhibited to introspectively ask big questions about God, their callings, and their purpose. I had the best time engaging with students who were taking seriously the opportunity that their “GAP” year was providing them to serve the Lord, seek the Lord, and grow in the Lord.
Within an afternoon, I was hooked on the potential that the program could have (and was having) in the lives of college aged students, serving Him, and studying about Him in a foreign context. The next year I taught for two weeks in a row and took my family. That same year, my church commissioned me to join SCORE full time, and I have been a cheerleader for the program ever since. Much more than just a place to learn Spanish, or just a place to study the Bible, or just a place to enjoy the community of fellow Christ followers all in similar places in life, or just a place from which to serve people on mission, the program has been used of God in a variety of ways in the lives of students over the years.
One student in particular said that her gap year was life changing. Before that year, she said she was just your average “Christian,” but during her GAP year, she actually started understanding the Bible and diving into it herself. Of the program, she says that she is so thankful to have had the opportunity and to serve others, with other amazing people.
Another student wrote that her experience in GAP was lively and full of enthusiasm! She shared that her daily Bible classes and weekly ministry opportunities opened up countless conversations to disciple and to be discipled. She shared with us that she learned servanthood from serving her roommates and serving the local Spanish speaking children. Finally, she shared that she walked out of the GAP program with a new perspective on humility, saying that it wasn’t about her anymore, but about serving everyone around me for the glory of God.
Both Lindsay and Abby’s comments above, are indicative of the many testimonies of past graduates.
This coming August we are re-launching the GAP program with a new name, new in-country staff, and renewed motivation to come alongside students that are desiring to grow in Christ, and leverage their lives for God’s glory. We now refer to our GAP program as CLIMB, which is an acronym for:
If you, or anyone you know, might have interest in joining us this fall in the Dominican Republic, apply today. You can access the application at the following link: https://scoreintl.org/gap-year/. Please reach out to me if you have any questions, or would simply like to talk further about CLIMB.