Christmas trips go far beyond visits to grandmother’s house

By Patrick McDonald

Many memories are associated with Christmas.

For some, it is that feeling of wonder as they plummet downstairs like a bullet toward the Christmas tree. Most would then tear open their presents, but this did not happen for some.

Students from the university traveled the world during Christmas break as missionaries with GoNow.

Sophomore social work major Stacey Davidson went to East Asia. The work that she did there was beneficial to the people in many ways.

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“My team taught English for a week at middle school and got a chance to really love on all of the students and teachers there,” Davidson said. “The next week, we hosted English at a local university and built some relationships with the students for the short amount of time that we had left. Most of our job, however, was to encourage and strengthen our host, who was a Chinese Christian at the middle school where we taught.”

She also had the chance to minister to a university student there. She met Lindsay, who spoke very English well.

“I got to know her pretty well and found out that she was not a Christian, but she knew who Jesus was because of her Christian mother,” Davidson said. “We had to leave soon after, but I told her that I was a Christian as well. The next day, I had hopes of seeing Lindsay, but no way to contact her. Soon after arriving at the same university, a student randomly began a conversation with me, inviting me up to her dorm room in the process. It was Lindsay’s room. This really showed me that God was definitely at work among us and in me. He placed me where he wanted me.”

Students traveled around the world to minister to people. Senior psychology major Tania Riveria went to Serbia. She helped distribute Bibles and build relationships with the people, in conditions very different from East Asia.

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“It was really, really cold. Everybody spoke a language we did not. We were like fish out of water,” Riveria said. “They put us to shame of how much history they know. I learned a lot about their history.”

Riveria had opportunities to spread the Gospel while she was there.

“We were doing something with Bibles in the square, and for the most part could not understand what they were saying. But there was a lady and she came up and said, ‘A Bible for me, really?’ She was just in awe that we would give her a Bible because she has never had a Bible in her life. And she said, ‘That’s the best gift I have ever gotten in my life,’” she said.

Some students stayed in America for missions. Freshman biology major Arron Brown spent time at Mission Arlington, offering help and aid in their nursery.

“There was a little boy named David who was in the nursery. He was only about 3 years old, and he would not talk to anyone. I just started to talk with him and, little by little, he opened up to me. I was the only one who he would ever talk to,” Brown said.

His work helped bring relief to the people who came there.

“I also passed out toys to families. The greatest part was seeing the joy on the people’s faces,” Brown said. “Some waited in line for 14 hours just to get a toy for their child.”

Author: The Bells Staff

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