NGU Students Serve ‘As a Light in The Darkness’ on Three Continents During Spring Break
Posted on: April 11, 2023
Tigerville, SC (April 11, 2023) Fifty-nine North Greenville University (NGU) students, faculty, and staff traveled to Florida, Ecuador, and the Middle East during Spring Break in March, teaching English, sharing the gospel, and engaging with diverse urban communities.
A team of 19 traveled to Miami to evangelize in a city that is not only the third-richest metropolis in America, but it is also one with a 25% poverty rate. Students worked alongside members of local churches.
“Students learned from local pastors and missionaries who are living out the gospel in Miami about how to best share the gospel and begin gospel conversations in a uniquely diverse environment,” said Crystalyn Wyatt, associate director of the Institute for Global Leadership.
A particularly important goal of the trip, according to Wyatt, was “to discover ways of connecting individuals to the local church for on-going evangelism and long-term discipleship.”
Miami team members included Jacob Ertter, Brittany Hendricks, Brett Plyler, Mallory Arp, Noah Cole, Taylor French, Daniel Fulton, Shannon Hardin, Abigail Hepner, Michaela Lanier, Caleb Jeremiah Ledley, Katherine Palm, Chad Stratton, Natalie Taylor, Kyleigh Tokar, Espi Williams, Abigail Wilson, Aubrey Winstead, and Keagan Yarboro.
The NGU Ecuador team had the opportunity to spend a few days in the Amazon Rainforest with the Waodoni tribe. They learned about the Waodoni’s way of life, encouraged believers, and experienced what it was like to be part of God’s global church.
“Students had the opportunity to learn and grow in their understanding of short-term mission with long-term impact. They were challenged on how to adapt to a new culture, conquer a language barrier, and rely on God when outside of their comfort-zone,” said Wyatt. “A few students also had the opportunity to share the gospel with the Waodoni and with other people in Ecuador.”
Wyatt was part of the Ecuador team, which also included Connor Graves, Hannah Staubs, Jaylan Brinson, Benjamin Bullard, Andrew Eaton, Ivy Emmerson, Haleigh Fields, Graham Ford, Morgan Funderburk, Dylan Gunton, Tessa Haack, Holly Hines, Hayden Jamison, Silas Jennings, Lexie Keiseler, Naomi Kreloff, Emma Lankford, Andrew Layne, Morgan Martin, Claira Mayhall, Abigail Staubs, and Abbey Williams.
Graham Ford, a junior digital media major from Gaffney, said Ecuador offered a unique learning experience.
“Being with the tribe for four days in the jungle was challenging at times, but they were so gracious and helpful the entire time. Watching the way the tribe was so patient with us was truly something that I will carry with me and try to replicate,” Ford said, “because even when we didn’t know what we were doing, they would correct us and teach us in the most loving way. They were reflections of Christ in that.”
A NGU team also traveled to the Middle East to work with a local school, teaching English and encouraging the local teachers, staff, and administrators by providing much-needed school supplies and hosting a teacher appreciation banquet. Team members worked on building relationships with students and teachers in the school, and visited in local homes to demonstrate the love of Jesus and to seek opportunities to share about their faith in a place that does not encourage Christian witness.
Allen McWhite, executive director for the Institute for Global Leadership and team leader said, “This was a deep-level immersion into an area of the world that is dominated by another major world religion. This particular trip was part of a strategic partnership with this school that has been on-going for the past 11 years. This was our first trip back since COVID interrupted this partnership in 2020.”
McWhite accompanied NGU students Shelbee Bryant, Shane Carpenter, Heather Cox, Ruthie Evans, Callie Gray, Marcus Hermanstyne, Rachel Johnson, Timothy Korneychuk, Abby McGillis, Noah Murphy, Abby Pollard, Jordan Pracht, Braden Shuffer, Emily Snodgrass, Emily Weaver, and Kristen Wilke.
Shelbee Bryant, a junior Intercultural Studies major from Salisbury, NC, said it was an eye-opening experience to be in the Middle East during the daily calls to prayer.
“I think the best way to sum it up is to quote Dr. McWhite. He said, ‘Jesus called us to be the light of the world, not the light of the Church.’ This is why our impact as believers was more evident there than in places like Tigerville, SC, that are clearly reached with the gospel,” Bryant said.
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