Tea Cole is an urbanite from the Bible Belt attending college on the campus of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in North Carolina. She participated in a global studies practicum in Utah, where God cemented His call on her life.
Over two thousand miles separate Wake Forest, North Carolina, from Provo, Utah. The vast distance was only a small barrier when compared with the immense cultural differences she encountered. The overwhelming majority of Provo residents are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). The LDS church influences everything in Utah.
Look at the state seal, and you will find a hive at the center. Utah’s nickname is the Beehive State. Utahns pride themselves on hard work. You can discover breathtaking state and national parks within its borders as well as advanced industry. Despite all the natural beauty and resources, there is a desperate unmet need for the hope found in Christ alone.
Natural Bridges was Utah’s first national monument. Turns out Tea was a natural bridge in Utah herself. She is passionate about building relationships and sharing Christ. The church she worked with has a heart for minorities and outcast populations.
Sometimes it is a struggle to reach out to people who do not look like us or we think are different from us. Tea was a bridge to sisters of color. She made sure Black women knew church was a safe space. Tea built strong friendships as she reached out in the community.
One evening Tea ventured to a mosh pit in search of opportunities to strike up conversations. Moshing refers to a type of dance where participants actually slam into each other. It is popular with heavy metal and punk rock bands. The mosh pit is usually near the edge of the stage.
Tea enjoys this genre of music. She found some band members quite open to gospel conversations. After lengthy discussions, they were quite shocked when Tea told them, “You can wear your torn jeans and rock band T-shirts to our church. Just come as you are.”
Christ beckons us to go into the world and make disciples. While you or I may never venture into a mosh pit, where can we commit to take the gospel? Be a bridge builder to the lost in your own community.
The desire of Tea’s heart is to return to Utah. Pray for Tea as she continues her studies.
Thank You for Tea and her willingness to boldly go where You lead. Give us courage to intentionally proclaim the hope within us to those we love as well as others You place in our paths.
In Jesus’ name, amen.
Sandy-Wisdom Martin serves as the executive director/treasurer for national WMU.