Seventeen Bryan students are spending their summer abroad as a part of their semester-long class: the Acts Project.
According to the Bryan College website, the Acts Project “couples a semester-long class conversation on missions with a summer internship.”
The following students explain where they will be going and what they expect from their journeys:
Carlin Nasiatka: Nairobi, Kenya
Jambo rafiki! This summer I will be going to Kenya, Africa, to serve at Gethsemane International Children’s Home just outside of Nairobi. Gethsemane’s mission is to create a family-like environment for approx. 60 children, caring for their needs and bringing them up to follow the Lord Jesus Christ and impact Kenya for Him! Most of the children that come to live at the home are some of Kenya’s more than 800,000 AIDS orphans. While I am over there with Elizabeth Benscoter, my teammate, we will be tutoring the children (Kenya has a very overcrowded school system), helping with ESL language learning, teaching bible studies on the book of Ephesians, and just engaging in life with the children and staff at the home.
I will be leaving for Kenya on May 28th and returning to the states August 5th. I think one of the biggest things I have learned thus far in this endeavor is that if God lays upon your heart to do something, do it right away, and trust that He is going to provide the means and the courage to do all he calls you to, one step at a time. I am SO excited to serve in Kenya this summer! If you would like to receive e-mail updates from me while I’m over there, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would definitely appreciate your prayers for both Elizabeth and me!
Andrew McPeak, Seth Flores, Kristen Phelps & Savannah Stroud: Chennai, India
We are comprised of Savannah Stroud, Seth Flores, Andrew McPeak, and Kristen Phelps. We are going to India to work with Word for the World ministries. This is an organization run entirely by Indian nationals whose mission is to help the oppressed people of the country (this includes orphans, the elderly, the handicapped, etc.). Because of the nature of the ministry and the Indian culture, we may be doing any number of things including, but not limited to, teaching in slum schools, praying over the handicapped, and spending time with the elderly. Our foremost preparation for this summer has been first, trusting everything to the Lord in prayer, and second, a concentration on developing godly relationships in whatever circumstances possible. We would love to ask the student body to keep us in their prayers, as this experience is going to be very terrifying and trying at times. However, we are very excited about the prospect of a summer in India, using the skills and personalities that have been shaped in each one of us!
Bonnie Fowler: Xiamen, China
I will be living in the coastal city of Xiamen, China working as an intern in the accounting/finance department of a glass manufacturing company. Founded and operated by an American missionary, the company seeks to provide superior products as well as to minister to the needs of their Chinese employees. To give you a glimpse of their mission, “Meixia purposely hires and trains physically challenged and homeless individuals as part of its purpose to recognize and honor the dignity of individuals and strengthen the local community.” I hope to learn what “business as mission” is all about and to understand how God is moving within the Chinese culture. As the only member of The Acts Project who will be traveling to China, I would appreciate your prayers for comfort and protection. Pray that I will grow in my trust and love for the Lord and that I will blossom in the joy of living solely in Him!
Jonathan Goff: Turin, Italy
Spending the Spring ’09 semester studying abroad in Italy was an insanely awesome experience. Now, God has blessed me richly with the opportunity to travel to Italy again. This time, I’ll be based in Turin working with Operation Mobilization, helping them to staff summer outreaches, sports ministries, and doing some graphic design work. I’ll also be assisting in preparations for Transform 2010, a week long missions conference focused on the Mediterranean region, which OM Italy will be hosting in Rome. During and directly following the conference, much of my focus will shift to photography, documenting the time of ministry for OM. I am so excited to go back to a place that I have already come to call home, and to serve an incredible group of people with gifts that God has been so gracious to give. Please pray that the Lord would prepare my heart well for this experience, and that I would serve from my heart and glean much from what He has to show me across the ocean. For updates as well as further prayer requests, feel free to follow my blog at transformme.tumblr.com over the summer. God bless!
Johanna Wilkening: Middle East
I am not a traditional Acts project member in that I am not going on my internship this summer. Instead, I am doing a six-month internship in the spring of 2011 after I graduate from Bryan. I will be working in the Middle East, either giving music lessons to children or teaching English. Since I still have eight months left before I go, I am planning to research more about Muslim culture and belief as well as digging deeper into the Scriptures. I have two main prayer requests: first, that God would make His will clear for my internship placement, and secondly, that I would be able to use this extra time to prepare effectively.
Elizabeth Benscoter: Nairobi, Kenya
This summer I will be journeying with Carlin to Nairobi, Kenya, to do a two month internship with Gethsemane International, Inc. This is a home for about 60 orphans in Nairobi that provides not only a physical shelter for the children, but also, and more importantly, a family. Their goal is to “grow Christ-like young men & women by creating a home filled with the love of Jesus Christ for abandoned, orphaned street children in Kenya.” We will be living everyday family life with the children and staff which will give us many opportunities to develop relationships with our brothers and sisters in Kenya. While at Gethsemane we will be leading nightly Bible studies on the book of Ephesians with the children. Please pray that this summer will be a rich one where I will not only develop deep relationships with the children and staff, but also grow closer to God. He is so good and faithful and I am looking forward to serving Him in a new way this summer!
Sarah Becker: Paris, France
France is a place that has always intrigued and pulled me, and to see how God has directly called me there this summer is so amazing and encouraging. I’ll have two main roles for the nearly three months I’m there: photographing, and ministry with the Muslim communities in Paris. I’ll also be helping out in the office – with other short-term teams, preparations for Transform 2010, and anything else they need me to do! While stationed in Paris, I’ll be traveling a bit around the area as well as spending two weeks in England at Operation Mobilization’s communications headquarters. I’ll also be in Rome for Transform 2010, a week-long missions conference focused on the Mediterranean area, and will travel back to the south of France for the accompanying short-term missions trip to photograph the action. I’m really excited (and a bit nervous!) to use photography in so many different ways for OM – documenting everyday life, portraying ministries, and even taking time to shoot the tourist hot spots. I’m thrilled at the opportunity to do two things I love – photography and growing relationships – in a place I know I will love. To read more about my excitement, my fears, and how you can pray for me, please visit beckergoestofrance.tumblr.com throughout the summer. Be blessed, and I’ll see you in August!
Diana Rice: Roscommon, Ireland
I will be going to Roscommon, Ireland working with Operation Mobilization (OM).
Since I am a business major, I will be working more behind the scenes in the financing department at the main base, Laken House. My duties will include, but are not limited to answering phones, balancing the books, and making hospitality arrangements for others coming over to Ireland. OM Ireland is the newest addition to OM Europe and God has been doing amazing things through the team that is already there. I also want to work with the teen ministry and their children’s ministries while I am there.
• Please pray for the team already in Ireland. Pray for their strength and courage as they witness in a predominately Catholic country. Only 0.75% of the country is evangelical—this is the lowest percentage in any English-speaking country.
• Also, please pray for me as I get sick really easily and I am not sure how my body is going to react in a new environment.
• Please pray that Christ will move among the people. Because of the current sex abuse cases that have arisen in Ireland, the people are losing faith in the Catholic church. Please pray that the people that other team members and I come into contact with will see Christianity not as a religion, but as a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Andrew Davis & Anna Rustebakke: Zambia
Andrew Davis and Anna Rustebakke will be traveling to Zambia this summer. We are going with Operation Mobilization to work with the World Cup outreach OM has planned there for the summer. We will have the opportunity to visit different churches, attend soccer clinics, visit hospitals, orphanages, homes for the disabled and be practically involved in a couple of their local projects. Basically, we are going to provide an extra set of hands to help the OM team as they participate in the work God is already doing there.
While we are there, we will also have the opportunity to take a trip by boat to remote villages around Lake Tanganyika. There are many remote villages along the shores of the Lake and are under-developed, often times, food and other commodities are transported to these villages by boat. The boat trip then will be an opportunity for us to serve those working with church planting, in clinics, and working towards having proper schools.
Megan “Meggelles” Devaney: Zambia
Megan (Meggelles) Devaney has been a Bryan student for five years and will be graduating this year as a pre-med Biology major with minors in Bible and Missions. She came into college with a heart for African missions, which has grown tremendously over the years. Megan has been accepted to Operation Mobilization International as a short-term missionary, and she hopes to one day apply for long-term service. She will be leaving in Aug/Sept for Zambia, Africa. There she will be living in Lusaka for 6-9 months doing different ministries. Megan is hoping to work with the AIDS victims outreach program, teach health, education and HIV awareness classes and possibly intern at a hospital. She does not have her heart set on performing any one task, but instead wants to serve wherever she is needed. “I pray that God leads me and guides me in His will. In Zambia, AIDS is at a high rate; 16% of the population is infected. My heart goes out to them and I will do whatever is needed to help.” This trip provides an opportunity to meet the physical and spiritual needs of a community that is desperately in need.
Lydia Steele: Coruna, Spain
I’m going to be in Coruna, Spain working with a new church plant with Operation Mobilization. I’m unsure of my specific role, but I will be involved with various community outreach projects and any other projects that take place to help the mission there build relationships with the Spanish community.
Nick Pacurari: San Lorenzo, Italy
I will be spending my summer in Italy, working with Sam Spatola and Saints Equipped to Evangelize. I will be building relationships in many different ways for the sake of the Gospel. I will be helping the Saints team with different evangelistic outreaches throughout Italy as well.
Kaity Kopeski: Middle East
Signing up for the Acts Project was a spontaneous decision. I missed the deadline, but I just couldn’t get the project out of my head. So I talked to Matt Benson, filled out the application and the next day was trying to figure out where in the world I was going to be this summer. I didn’t have any preferences; I just knew that I wanted to serve people. “How about the Middle East?” was the question posed. Honestly, I had never considered the Middle East as a mission field, but in the last couple months my whole perspective has been turned around. While there, I will be working under a journalist and have the opportunity to work with Muslim women. I’m excited about having the opportunity to immerse myself in a completely different culture, show the love of Christ and make the Middle East my summer home.