Posted: Tuesday, February 10, 2015 9:49 am
By Kelly Grant
Photo by Peg Achterman
Four teams of Northwest University students will travel to various locations around the world through the NUMA REACH program this summer. The teams will be traveling to Austria, Turkey, Guatemala and Bolivia.
This year team leaders were allowed to choose where they wanted to go. Each place was chosen based on their current needs. Carie Jorgenson, the REACH Coordinator at NU, said that this allows students opportunity to invest in these places and follow God’s call.
The trip to Austria will focus on the need for churches and evangelism in Vienna. It has a large red light district, meaning there are many victims of human trafficking. The students on this trip will work in children’s ministry and reach out to the families as well.
Students traveling to Turkey will stay in Istanbul. Turkey is a primarily Muslim nation and is a “Zero Zone” for Christianity. The students, while they can’t openly preach, will evangelize through service and creating relationships with the people.
McKenzie Dunn, a sophomore at NU and the team leader of the trip to Turkey, said “Mostly I really hope to be effective in communicating love to a people who are completely against Yahweh and enabling my team to do the same.”
The team traveling to Bolivia will be staying in Santa Cruz. They will work in church outreach to local community centers as well as children’s ministry. There are a number of low-income families in the area who could benefit from the team’s service projects.
The fourth team is traveling to Antigua, Guatemala. This trip will be NU’s third REACH trip to Antigua. They will be working at a deaf school for young children, doing crafts and activities with them. In this area the team will focus on assisting with the need for feeding centers, rebuilding homes and schools for underprivileged children.
“When it came to planning a trip to Antigua I wanted to keep the relationships that we made previously and help them grow stronger so we can continue to plant seed in the people we work with,” said Katie Ness, NU senior and team leader of the trip to Guatemala.
The students going on these trips are required to take a two-credit course to make the necessary preparations. The class will meet six times throughout the semester to discuss topics such as fundraising, cultural sensitivity and travel safety. Each team is required to meet an additional ten times outside of the classroom. These meetings provide an opportunity for students to prepare and pray together.
Jorgenson describes mission trips as an incredible way to gain a global understanding of God’s work that the classroom cannot provide.
“It’s a good way to put your trust in God into practice,” said Ness. “If you are willing and open to do what God is telling you and you put your faith and trust in him, His favor will be for you and he will provide.”