Written by Isabelle Hendrich, Editor-in-Chief
Dayton, TN – While talking about her time on the Acts Project, Abigail Ferrell’s exuberance for God, missions and people was evident. As Ferrell described one particular funny experience in the Dominican Republic, her eyes lit up with excitement as she motioned with her hands to better explain the situation.
Abigail Ferrell is a senior at Bryan College who is double majoring in music and biology. In the summer of 2021, Ferrell went to Zambia and in the summer of 2022, she went to the Dominican Republic with Abbie Sims as part of the Acts Project.
The Acts Project is a three hour credit class which prepares students for a summer internship focusing on missions. As part of the Acts Project, students get to choose where they go and what they do during the summer, under the guidance and leadership of Dr. Scott Jones.
Concerning the Acts Project, Ferrell said, “I think it’s a very great opportunity to even if you are not considering mission work, just to be involved in something that is outside of your comfort zone and it stretches you, lets you see a bigger perspective of just the world in general. And you get the opportunity to do ministry through whatever you are studying, which as Christans is all of our goals anyway.”
During her time in the northwestern part of Zambia, Ferrell stayed with and shadowed a full time missionary couple who helped orphans and people in need.
“Just being there first hand and seeing the need and kind of shadowing the missionary and seeing what a day to day life of a missionary is, I came away from the summer really confirmed in that this is what the Lord wants me to do and just a burden and heart for that kind of work and that is what my life is dedicated to,” Ferrell said.
In Zambia, Ferrell noted there are over seventy tribal languages. Where Ferrell was staying, Bimba was the main and most common tribal language.
While the United States operates monochronically, where events happen one at a time in a certain order, a polychronic culture operates where multiple events happen all at once and there is no order to when they occur.
“People don’t really follow schedules and stuff, so for me, as an American, you know at college, we have a class schedule and everything, and going there, it was the total opposite . . . I really like that side of the culture a lot but it was so much to get used to at first,” Ferrell said.
One of Ferrell’s favorite meals in Zambia was Kapenta, which were small fish that were commonly eaten fried and whole. Another common staple in Zambia was Nchima, which are grits and corn boiled together. This makes it a playdough consistency so that it can be dipped in and eaten with other kinds of food.
In the Dominican Republic, Ferrell worked as a medical missionary in a local clinic. Ferrell shadowed a doctor and several nurses, where she learned how to take blood and give injections. On Sundays, after church Ferrell would go to a theological class the doctor taught. She also worked a few times with a medical organization called Growth and Development that checks the vital signs of kids in local villages.
Ferrell stayed with Abbie Sims and a nurse who they worked with in an apartment in Santiago. Since the Dominican Republic mostly speaks Spanish, Ferrell said it was helpful to be living with a native speaker to better learn the language.
“In the Dominican Republic, the biggest culture shock was probably the language because no one talked to us in English, it was always Spanish,” said Ferrell.
In the Dominican Republic, Ferrell helped teach a nursing class. During the last class, the students threw Ferrell and Sims a surprise goodbye party, with cake and traditional Dominican dancing.
On her trip in general, Ferrell said, “I know what God taught me this summer is a lot of trusting Him and praying.”
Ferrell’s experiences both in Zambia and the Dominican Republic taught her not only to trust in God, but confirm her God-given desires to serve Him as a missionary. Ferrell looks forward to what God has in store for in her life as a possible missionary in the future after she graduates.
Isabelle Hendrich is a senior communication major and history minor at Bryan College. Besides running, Hendrich likes to read and do crafts. She is a triplet whose siblings, Benjamin and Savannah, are also attending Bryan College.