by Jewell Strock
Global Outreach exists to prepare and organize the Cedarville University community to know, live, and share the Gospel. Over the past couple of weeks, Global Outreach has had tables in the Stevens Student Center offering opportunities to students to go and serve locally as well as internationally. Informational meetings were held several nights during this time with opportunities to go on a mission trip, something students are encouraged to do at least once in their college careers.
The Global Outreach mission, abbreviated to GO missions, is accomplished through locating opportunities and recruiting, equipping, and sending anyone and everyone to serve in any number of locations. The GO program is run by Brian Nester, with Keith Holcomb as the assistant director. Emily Gifford and Pam Smith serve as the ministry coordinators.
“Our office aims to provide diverse ministry opportunities in order to involve any and all of our students across the university on Global Outreach teams.” Gifford said. “We also seek to partner with faculty and staff across the university to lead our teams, which in turn helps us to connect with students from different majors.”
Due to the various outreach programs, students from all studies can become involved in GO missions. Sophomore Gaby Bush was able to use her skills in art to help on AMG’s Guatemala trip.
“We were in charge of arts and craft time for the kids.” Bush said. “I’m a graphic design major, so that was awesome to use as a gift in crafts.”
Going on a mission trip for the first time can seem daunting, but as students grow close to their teammates and adapt, it can become an eye-opening and moving experience. Not only are students impacted, but so are those who choose to lead these outreach trips.
“Before God moved our family to Cedarville, I led the missional efforts of a large church in western Kentucky, an element that is lacking at the small church I was called to help revitalize in the Dayton area.” Said Pastor Rich Stratton of Brantwood Baptist Church. “As I prayed about how to remain involved in the “going” aspect of missions, it came to my attention that Global Outreach needed team leaders. This seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to use my gifts and fill a need at CU.”
Partnering with Global Outreach at Cedarville has helped leaders like Thaddeus Franz, an Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice, reach the world. Franz has led trips to South Asia with the medical, pharmacy, and nursing students as a way to provide teaching on various health topics while witnessing Christ.
“I love the GO department! They make the leader’s job so much easier,” Franz said. “Really it allows me to focus on building and preparing the team to go on the trip. The GO office equips and serves the students in support raising, so when it is time to go, our focus is on the task at hand.”
Through these outreach programs, students’ lives have also changed.
“I’ve had several students go with me on their first-ever mission trip. These students have been able to experience the great need for people who will proclaim the name of Jesus in our cities and worldwide.” Stratton said, “I’ve even had some students who have begun to adjust how and where they will pursue a career after graduation based on where they can best have an impact for the kingdom of God. Going on a short-term mission trip often lights an evangelistic fire in an individual that will burn for the rest of their life.”
Not only do students get to minister overseas, they also minister places within the states, such as Washington, D.C. Brad Hoffman, a sophomore political science major, went to Washinton, D.C., spring semester of his freshman year.
“I chose to go on a global outreach trip because I had never been on a mission trip, and I wanted to answer the call to go,” Hoffman said, “Most of the people that were on the trip are members at the church that I go to, so I saw this as another opportunity to connect with my new body of believers here at Cedarville.”
Though it took courage to make the decision, once he was abroad, Hoffman enjoyed the experience. He learned more about trusting God with his future and also about the possibilities there are for him outside of Cedarville. Hoffman met many young professionals in his field of study and learned how they incorporate their jobs into their faith. The experience encouraged him to pursue his studies with the hopes of doing the exact things that he saw in Washington, D.C.
Students who have gone on trips and enjoyed the experience, or had a trip affect their lives, encourage others to go on the offered trips as well. This also helps accomplish the GO mission to have students encourage each other to go and serve wherever they feel led.
“I would encourage others to go at least once, but there needs to be a lot of prayers and having the right reasons in the heart to go.” Hoffman said. “I would love to see everyone go on a CU outreach trip. Every part of the process is amazing, from the prayer and support raising to the actual trip, to the lifetime effects.”
There are many ways to serve those worldwide, but sometimes students need help seeing them. Cedarville University provides students with opportunities that change not only their lives but also the lives of those they are serving.
Jewell Strock is a junior International Studies major and journalist for Cedars. She enjoys matcha, rainy weather, writing, and Jane Austen.