Two international spring trips were added to the spectrum this year. Sixteen people from NW shared their faith with children and adults in Trinidad. Another group, ten members strong, helped Lithuanian college students build their leaderships skills.
The Trinidad SSP Team was given many opportunities to work with school children. One of the primary ways they accomplished this was to perform songs and skits followed by a group member’s testimony. After their presentations, team members we given the chance to spend time with the children and show them Christ’s love.
In addition to working in schools, the group also spent time ministering in areas such as prisons and drug rehab facilities. In the afternoons, the group led a Backyard Bible School for children in a squatter village.
During their service the group members faced a few challenges. The team’s student leader, Josh Perkins, discussed some of the religious differences that the group encountered when working with people who were Hindu or Muslim. “A lot of the people we talked to believed in Jesus and that he was a prophet, but not that he was the way to heaven. It was a challenge trying to portray that Christ is more than that.”
Through such challenges, group members learned lessons about their own faith, and how God works through them. “I learned a ton about the body of Christ through the way our team was able to interact with one another—everybody played a vital role,” explained Kara Wismer. “Everyone had different gifts and we were able to use those to glorify God.”
NW students and staff in Lithuania also found that they could put their skills to work and glorify God. The team led a leadership focus week at Lithuania Christian College, hoping to help students there make use of their own skills.
”We put on a workshop for a leadership focus session. We led little workshops a couple nights for the students at LCC and presented during their chapel service,” explained team member senior Kristin Nikkel.
During the service, the group played a video, sang songs and prayers and senior Kelly Engelkes spoke. Junior Mike Nelson described the powerful effect that the presentation had on some of the LCC students. “There were eighty-two hundred students there and you could see how moving it was for some students.”
Senior Andrew Cleveland described how his experience in Lithuania has affected how he views life at NW. “Students [at LCC] are less inclined to engage with the concept of faith in the classroom or with others, because a majority of the students are there for the academics and to graduate from an English speaking institution rather than to wrestle with Christianity. I now appreciate the numerous opportunities that NW has provided to stretch my faith and education. It has been invaluable.”
Returning to Orange City from Lithuania or Trinidad, students came back to campus with quite a few new friends, memories, lessons learned and views on life here and around the world.