Westmont Magazine Students Prepare for a Summer of Service
The fall semester hadn’t finished, but the six students leading Emmaus Road were thinking a lot about summer. What service projects should they sponsor in 2007? Which students should participate? After prayer and consideration, the core team decided to send about 30 students to Indonesia, Ukraine, Cambodia and Nigeria.
“We want to be messengers to the world,” says Megan Griffith ’07. “We want to bring the message of Christ to people all over the world and to have our students come back and let people know what’s going on in those countries.”
Megan traveled with an Emmaus Road team to Indonesia two summers ago.“I loved my experience there,” she says. “It was one of the most valuable things I’ve done at Westmont.”
Core team members, advised by the Center for Leadership and Learning, select the service trips, appoint team leaders and oversee the application process.
The trip to Nigeria proved to be the most popular this year, and the core team had to turn away some applicants. “People are so interested in AIDS and Africa right now that the trip advertised itself,” Megan says.
Students are responsible for raising the funds for the trips, which range in cost from $2,000 to $3,500 per person. The core team helps participants write support letters. Though the cost may be prohibitive for some students, a lack of funding has never canceled a trip.
“The best way to recruit is to ask students who’ve been on past trips to tell their friends,” says Stephanie Hansen ’08. She was profoundly influenced by her trip last year to Russia, where she worked at a summer camp for orphans.
“The kids are so in need of love that they cling to you,” she says. “They need good examples of people that they can look up to and try to model their lives after.”
According to the CoMission for Children at Risk, about 15,000 Russian orphans must leave orphanages each year, and about half of the girls are forced into prostitution.
“I had a heart for the girls,” Stephanie says. “The statistics are terrible. Even though there’s a language barrier, they understand love and attention.”
She hopes that students serving in Ukraine at the Little Lambs Ministry summer camp, a Christian program for more than 200 orphans, will continue the work students did last year.
“One of the goals of Emmaus Road is working with organizations that are there long term so we can be a part of an ongoing effort,” says Alyssa Prigel ’07. “We want to bring vitality to these organizations and better serve the people there.”
Alyssa worked with Christian Associates International in France, Holland and Germany. “Being on the core team has allowed me to build relationships and minister in a way that was modeled to me on my trip,” she says.
“We’ve been able to see God work a lot through us during this process,” Megan says. “It started out looking like a jumbled mess of people, but, by the end, we all felt an undeniable peace about the people and trips we had chosen. It was amazing to feel God’s presence because it’s not really us picking, but Him.”