Senior nursing major Taylor Frank took a month out of her summer to go on a mission trip to Busia, Kenya, where she worked at a school, a clinic and visited foster children at local schools and homes. She became close with the youngsters, the teachers and even the cook.
Frank developed a great relationship with nurses while working in a clinic. She learned that not only are the people at the clinic faithful, but they put their faith into their patients as well as treat them. Although meeting 70 children seemed a little intimidating at first, the people who run the foster program and who are Frank’s “Kenyan parents,” helped her and the others build lifelong relationships with everyone there. After spending a month in Kenya, Frank feels blessed to have experienced what she did and hopes to travel there in the future to visit the people she met.
Meanwhile, Jonathan VanBrussen and seven other students from UMHB were a part of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary archaeological excavations at Tel Gezzer, Israel. VanBrussen, a senior getting his bachelor’s degree in Christian ministry, had to follow a schedule throughout the weeks he and his peers were in the country. Weekends were left open to visit other significant places such as The Dead Sea and The Negev Desert.
VanBrussen talked about his time with experienced archaeologists and how they helped everyone, but had an interesting bond with a man he worked under, a supervisor who is beginning his Ph.D. in archaeology. VanBrussen also became friends with his tour guide. They shared their testimonies of how each came to know Christ, which was encouraging to VanBrussen. In spite of the fact that the trip was a learning experience, he said the students had fun. One prank involved tying up the girls’ shoes on trees. The overall experience had a positive effect on VanBrussen.
He explains how the months before the trip were a struggle for him believing that God was actually involved in his life. However, the trip opened VanBrussen’s eyes to what being a Christian really is. Junior nursing major Katherine Zuraitis explains how it took the entire 2013 spring semester to prepare for her mission trip to England. Talking about the trip and sharing testimonies were a few of the many ways she got to know the other students who attended. This year was the second time that Zuraitis had gone on the trip. She knew what to expect for the most part and knew how the experience would impact the first-timers in a life-changing way.
Zuraitis and the other students worked with the Middlesborough Community Church, painting the inside of the church and attending lifegroup meetings. She was also able to eat dinner with her host family along with helping out with the youth and leading worship alongside the church band. Although most of the time there was at the church, Zuraitis and her group did spend a few days in London and had “playdays.” Zuraitis describes the trip as a “fuel to my spiritual fire” where students learn about themselves, growing spiritually and emotionally.
“There’s something about living with people of a different culture,” Taylor Frank said. “And coming together to worship the same God, (even if it is in a different language) that brings a little bit of heaven to earth.”