For a group of Trevecca undergraduates, summer break offered a chance to get outside the United States and spend time serving others.
Eleven Trevecca students and two faculty sponsors recently returned from a Trevecca Around the Globe (TAG) Trip to Nairobi, Kenya, where they spent time learning with students from Africa Nazarene University. The trip lasted from May 12-30.
While there, students visited Moffat Bible College and saw the college’s creation care farm, a scene not too different from the Trevecca Urban Farm. Students got to observe bee colonies and learn about the difference between conventional gardening and gardening by God’s principles.
Students also visited Mathare, an underdeveloped area considered one of the largest slums in Nairobi. There, the group attended Mathare Church of the Nazarene and a home for sexually abused and orphaned children.
Amanda Nelson, a Trevecca junior and criminal justice major, recalled helping paint classrooms and playing sports with students from Africa Nazarene University. However, the moment that had the biggest impact on her was spending time at the girls’ home and hearing the stories of what each girl had been through.
A little girl by the name of Faith arrived just a few hours before they visited. Meeting her was Nelson’s favorite moment of the day.
“She wouldn’t let go of my hand,” Nelson said. “She didn’t talk much, but I knew it meant so much to her for me just being there and holding her hand.”
Nelson says the trip helped her strengthen her relationship with God, while spending time with Africa Nazarene students allowed her to find a lifelong friend.
Jacinda Johnson, a Trevecca junior and interpersonal communication major, grasped a deeper understanding of what life is like for some residents in Kenya. It was Spiritual Deepening Week at the college while the students were there, and they got to experience worship in a different way. During a chapel session, Johnson stood up and prayed for a girl whose sister was in the ICU.
Johnson says that hearing the stories of how some students made it to college impacted her the most.
“A lot of them that we met at the university are first-time college students,” Johnson said. “That was really cool just to see how their parents still live in villages, but they still supported them so much so they could have the chance to go to college.”
Janice Lovell, Trevecca’s director of grants and foundation relations, lost both of her parents in a short amount of time about two years ago. She felt like her life was at a standstill—that she was just going through the motions of everyday life.
So, when she was asked to serve as a faculty sponsor on the trip to Nairobi, she felt needed, which made her happy. The trip turned out to be more than she could have imagined.
“It seemed like everyone was experiencing something God had planned for them,” she said.
The trip required a lot of mental participation and emotional availability for everyone on the trip, Lovell said.
Most of all, Lovell says she enjoyed watching the students transform as they immersed themselves in another culture.
“My favorite part was being surrounded by students,” Lovell said. “To see our students lose their inhibitions and worship.”