Mission College of Evangelism
An ASI Supporting Ministry
As Todd Casey saw the look of joy on the baptismal candidates' faces as they came out of the water, he knew that he had made the right choice. Five months prior, Todd had his life planned out. Having recently graduated with a B.A. in business from Canadian University College, he was planning to go and work in the accounting branch of a Canadian oil company. The money would roll in, and life would be good. The only problem was that Todd, who was raised a Seventh-day Adventist, did not have a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Shortly after graduating from college, some of Todd’s friends told him of their experience at Mission College of Evangelism, a small evangelistic training school located in Laurelwood, Oregon. Todd saw how their spiritual lives had been changed and began to wonder if this was the place for him to go. Wrestling with the idea of going to Mission College, he made several “deals” with God, not thinking that any of them would or could be fulfilled. But everything was lining up to allow him to go—so he went. His experience at Mission College, like that of so many others who have gone there, has truly been life-changing.
Mission College began in 1980 as a dream of two gospel workers. Louis Torres was working in the Missouri Conference as a pastor and conference evangelist. While he and his wife Carol were conducting meetings in various places, they saw there was a real need for trained gospel workers. All through their ministry they had been training their church members and other workers. They saw that there were specific things that helped those who were trained to excel in service for the Lord.
Based on this experience, Carol wrote a curriculum, not knowing exactly how or when it would be used. The Torreses committed the idea to the Lord and trusted in Him to make it a reality. Over the next 15 years, they continued to hold training sessions wherever they were, but wondered how, when, and if their dream of an evangelistic training school would be realized.
In 1995, an invitation was extended to Carol and Louis to open a training school on the campus of an ASI (Adventist-Laymen's Services and Industries) member organization, Black Hills Health and Education Center, near Rapid City, South Dakota. It was so exciting to see the Lord open doors. In the fall of 1995, Mission College held its first three-week course. The response was very positive from the students, and plans were made to hold a full three-month-long evangelistic training course.
As word got out about Mission College, people from all over the world began applying to come and take the course. While most were young adults, it was encouraging to see all ages, from 18 to 80, apply. Students came with a variety of different backgrounds. There were conference evangelists, pastors, a conference president, and many lay people who wanted to be trained for better service. Of the lay people that came, some wanted to go into full-time ministry, and others wanted to learn how they could do more for God in their own local churches.
Students who go through the evangelistic course receive training in personal and public evangelism, Bible doctrines, Daniel and Revelation, balanced methods of health evangelism and more. While the training is very intense, it gives the students the basics they need to bring someone to Christ and help that person to continue to grow in Christ.
During the first few years that Mission College was operating in South Dakota, the Lord greatly blessed. During each three-month program, evangelistic meetings are held in which the students participate. By 1998, as a result of the evangelistic efforts put on by Mission College, a new church was planted in Rapid City. The Torreses were elated by the success that the Lord was giving through Mission College. Even more exciting was the number of graduates that were going to all parts of the globe to use the training they had received at Mission College to reach people for God.
After the September 11 terrorist attacks, the Torreses began to explore the idea of opening a branch of Mission College closer to a large metro area. Again the Lord had a plan. In early 2002, an invitation was extended to Mission College to move the school to the campus of the former Laurelwood Academy. Seeing the great need for the gospel to be spread to the Portland area, the Torreses jumped at the chance and moved the school in the summer of 2002.
The first class held in Oregon was in the fall of 2002. Since then the blessings of the Lord have continued to grow. In the last three years, nearly 200 people have been baptized into God’s church as a result of meetings held during the evangelistic training programs. And many more have been won to God’s kingdom by Mission College graduates who are using the training they received in places all over the world.
This fall the evangelistic class was so large that it was necessary to hold evangelistic meetings in Salem, Sheridan and Vancouver, Washington. Todd Casey, along with 16 other students, had the opportunity to work with the Vancouver Church. Several nights each week the students went out into the communities and put their training into practice by going from door to door and giving Bible studies. The students also helped organize the evangelistic meetings that were held at the church. This experience was tremendously positive for all involved. Wayne Culmore, senior church pastor, said, “I have watched [the students'] enthusiasm and desire and love for souls continue to grow, and I can’t thank them enough.” In Vancouver there were 15 decisions for baptism from the meetings. Through this experience, the students saw that God could use them to win people for Christ.
As Todd Casey looked back on his experience at Mission College, still an ASI supporting ministry member, he said, “My experience here at Mission College has helped reset my moral clock. It has helped me to see what is really important. I am now firm in my religion; during my time here I finally saw that God is real.” Todd has not yet decided if he will go back and work in the oil industry or go into full-time ministry. “Either way,” he said, “I will now be witnessing for my Master wherever He leads me.”