By Hayley Wylie, Slate reporter
REDDING, Calif.—Simpson University WorldSERVE students hosted a Celebration Night recently to share the blessings and challenges of nine student-led mission trips in 2018.
Nearly 60 students participated in trips to the following locations: Albania, El Salvador, Guinea, Laos, India, Taiwan, Thailand, Chicago (Ill.), and Middletown (Calif.). Students served in a variety of ways, including teaching English, working in youth centers, partnering with ministry coffee shops, building homes, and more.
On Sept. 20, they gathered in LaBaume-Rudat Hall to listen and share. The night began with a few worship songs, followed by nine student testimonies.
Josue Gonzalez and Sherry Madison went on week-long spring break trips to Middletown, Calif., where team members helped with fire relief, and Chicago for children’s ministry at a local day camp. Both spoke about struggles they faced throughout the week but ultimately agreed it was a great experience.
“The trip made me so full and energized ready to serve wherever,” Madison said.
Another highlight of the night was hearing team Albania’s Matea Langston testimony. Langston shared some of the challenges she faced while raising money for the trip and on the long plane ride to the foreign country.
“It was so hard for me to trust in God,” Langston said.
During the trip, which heavily dealt with relational ministry, Langston found her own relationship with Christ growing as she learned to trust him more.
Langston said she stopped worrying about God’s plans and fully put her trust in Him: “God is good and He’ll carry you through it.”
Many other speakers agreed with her, including Megan Watkins.
Watkins, who traveled on a team to India that partnered with a medical ministry, explained she learned a valuable lesson when she went to a different country.
“It took me going to India to see God can provide,” Watkins said.
Others, like Kevin Alcosiba from team Taiwan and Shane Geer from team Thailand, said their lives were changed by their trips. Both teams worked with Envision, a ministry of The Christian and Missionary Alliance, building relationships and helping in practical ways.
“God took Thailand and radically changed me,” Geer said after revealing he made a lot of life changes after returning to the States.
Alcosiba explained that before his trip he was in a dark place. “My team basically saved my life,” he said.
Emily Gonzalez, a WorldSERVE intern, ended the night by encouraging students to apply for teams that will train throughout the year and travel during spring and summer 2019. Teams will be returning to some of the 2018 locations as well as new ones. More information can be found at simpsonu.edu/worldserve.
About the author: Hayley Wylie is an English major in her third year at Simpson University. She is from Vacaville, Calif., and a member of The Slate, the university’s student newspaper.
Photos by Chyna Xiong
With a long history of preparing students for missionary service, Simpson University relaunched a student-led missions program nearly 25 years ago. The program continues today as WorldSERVE, which describes itself as taking students on a yearlong discipleship journey that includes a short-term service trip.
Simpson University, established in 1921, is a Christian university offering undergraduate, graduate, and teaching credential programs. The university celebrated its 25th year in Redding and the completion of a Science and Nursing Center in 2014. Academic programs include ASPIRE, a degree-completion program geared toward working adults with both on-campus and online course offerings; the Betty M. Dean School of Nursing, A.W. Tozer Seminary, the School of Education, and the School of Graduate Professional Studies. For information about the university, or to arrange a campus visit, call 1-888-9-SIMPSON or visit simpsonu.edu.