by Jordan West

CLEVELAND, Ga. (TMNews) – Two groups of Truett-McConnell students returned eager to share the opportunities they had communicating the Gospel and providing medical care after spending their Fall Break serving on the mission fields of Zambia and Kenya, September 30 – October 10.

Serving humbly in Zambia

Mallory Dollar, a junior Nursing major, explained that traveling to Africa has always been on her heart: “I knew the trip in itself was going to be a dream come true because two of my favorite things came together: traveling and medical missions. I wanted the opportunity to serve new people in new cultures and have the opportunity to learn from them.”

Further explaining the significance of serving on the medical field in Zambia, she added: “I was able to see how nursing was done in a foreign country. Being a junior in the Nursing Program, I hadn’t had my first day of clinicals in the U.S. yet, and here I am learning how nursing is done in Africa!”

Though the doctors in Zambia have limited resources, Dollar was amazed by their desire to help patients, stating: “They have some of the most humble hearts when it comes to serving their patients. They use the resources they have in order to give the best possible care.”

Looking to Christ to heal all kinds of hurt

While in Zambia, Dollar was able to experience compassion in a whole new way, emphasizing: “I was able to pray with people and give words of testimony or encouragement to people that we visited in the village and share with them the common bond that we could have through Christ.”

She was reminded that there are no limitations to what God can do, recalling: “I also learned that to share your faith and testimony with people, does not always mean you have to give a Gospel presentation every time.”

“Just being honest in sharing with people how the Lord has worked in my life and how He desires to work in their life, can be one of the biggest encouragements to them.”

Camping out of their comfort zone

Laura Waters, a senior Nursing major, described the unique position their team was in because of where they stayed. “We went camping in the ‘bush.’ We were dirty, it was hot, but I would not trade that for anything, and I wish we could have spent more time there.”

“We dressed like them, helped them cook, sang and danced with them, and loved on their children,” Waters shared. “It was beautiful to realize the blending of cultures that happened so smoothly.”

Witnessing in the villages

“I was holding on to a lot, and not letting God truly move in my heart,” Waters said, reflecting on the apprehension that plagued her during the trip. “We went out into different villages to share the gospel. Though this was not my first mission trip, this was not something I had done much of and I was struggling with a lot of anxiety. I am not one who is great at speaking, and I began to feel attacked.”

She was not held down for long. Waters explained: “God worked in my heart and gave me words to say to the hurting people we came across. It was such a blessing, but I began to totally surrender to the Holy Spirit, and He laid scriptures and encouragement on my heart to share with others.”

Waters was especially encouraged when the team began to see fruit of their work. She said: “That day was wonderful, because I was with my Zambian brothers and sisters in Christ and my best friend (Chelsea). We simply got to love and encourage both Christians who had fallen away from the church as well as non-believers. We even had a teenage boy come to know Christ!”

Making the most of every opportunity in Kenya

Christen Boonstra, a senior Nursing major, knew that Kenya might be dangerous, but she found that to be even more motivation to go there and share the Gospel.

Knowing that terrorist attacks had taken place in Kenya earlier in the year, she said: “A part of me was thinking that the [the terrorist attacks] were more of reason for me to go. Those people needed Jesus now more than ever.”

“My eyes were also exposed to a different medical culture…,” Boonstra said, noting the lack of medical education in Kenya. “So many of the things we saw medically could possibly be avoided by proper prenatal care.”

Nursing students that went to Kenya were thankful for the opportunity to work with doctors from CURE International, an organization that works to bring medical care to poverty-stricken cultures. Boonstra added: “The CURE doctors were amazing – they were so caring and never got frustrated with seeing the same thing over and over.”

As Boonstra looked back on her time in Kenya, she reflected: “I can only hope and pray that I touched the lives of the people I came in contact with in Kenya, as much as they touched and changed mine.”

God opened the door

For Seth Russell, a sophomore and World Missions major, he was inspired by the hearts of the Kenyan people. “I loved working with the Maasai (a semi-nomadic people group),” Russell said. “I had the opportunity to go into one of their villages and meet with their people.”

“It was extremely fun and really reinforced what I am learning in my studies,” Russell said. “Also, I had the opportunity to evangelize to ten people, and two professed Christ!”

Russell shared one of his favorite experiences on the trip: “While I was witnessing, I got to share the Gospel with two Muslim ladies…it was just awesome to see how the Spirit led that conversation through my fear of rejection.”

Being effective on the mission field

Russell left Kenya feeling as if he grew exponentially in his faith: “I learned how to be a better tool,” he said. “A defective tool doesn’t do the job that it is intended for. God taught me to allow the Craftsman to do the work through me, the tool, to accomplish His work.”

Russell rests in knowing that God promises to complete the good work He started, concluding: “God showed up. He really moved in ways only He can. He moved there before we ever arrived. He is moving now even as we are gone. His work was very obviously taking place in Kenya. It was undeniable.”


Jordan is a senior English major and a student intern for the Communications Department.

Photo/Laura Waters, Michaela Dickerson, Stephany Lozano

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