Thursday, October 2, 2014

Dorm 33 Goes Global

Dorm 33 students intend to impact the world by “traveling without leaving the campus.”

Brooke Rardon had a goal to impact the lives of the girls in dorm 33 for missions when she stepped on Liberty University’s campus at the beginning of the semester.

Over the summer, Rardon had witnessed her mother’s determination to spread the news of her experiences as a missionary in Thailand to her community. While in Thailand, her mother saw the effects of sex-trafficking first-hand and set out to do something about it when she arrived in the United States. She hosted an event and had approximately 80 women from the community attend to inform them about sex-trafficking. This inspired Rardon to share that same enthusiasm for spreading awareness of various global issues with her dorm as well.

“She wanted to do more than just staying in the community and staying in her house with all of this experience,” Rardon said of her mother’s efforts. “I also want to tell people about what is going on in the world and impact it.”

As part of the leadership of her budding missions group, Rardon appointed two hall activists on each hall to help communication between halls and to spread awareness of what the group is up to. One of these activists, junior Janelle Houston, said that she hopes dorm 33 girls will earn a positive name as young women who want to make a difference in the world.

“We want people to think about 33 and say, ‘I want to go to that dorm because they actually care about the spiritual affect they have on people and what they do for Christ,’” Houston said.

Both Rardon and Houston hope the project they termed “33 Goes Global” will help bring unity in the halls as well as in the dorm. The Resident Director for 33, Carrie Walburn, said that she was “super excited” when Rardon first told her about the ministry idea.

“It is something that God had even laid on my heart this summer to do something that would unify the dorm,” Walburn said. “It confirmed that our desire for doing something global was on the same page.”

Houston pointed out that this was more than a mandatory Christian Service or other event that Liberty sponsored. Instead, it allowed the young women to take part in something more than what is required of them and give what they could to help further the kingdom of Christ.

“I am so stoked — seeing the passion in these girls who are doing something more than focusing on themselves is amazing,” Houston said. “You can tell that their spiritual walks with God are being strengthened through this.”

The girls in dorm 33 will learn about the affects of malaria, sex-trafficking and other global issues through events that Rardon and the hall activists plan.

In September the group focused on malaria and sold t-shirts to raise money to buy mosquito nets for a family in Africa.

The second event took place Oct. 30. Rardon’s mother spoke about her experiences in Thailand and the sex-trafficking she witnessed. Worldwide, 161 countries are affected by sex-trafficking with 137 of these countries as destination points, according to the UN office of Drug and Crime. The International Labor Organization stated that 2.4 million people were victims of sex-trafficking between 1995 and 2005. Rardon said she wanted the girls to be aware that sex-trafficking is more common than people realize.

“If we mentally think to change the world, then we are going to go places and do something about it,” Rardon said. “We can make an impact without having to go anywhere.”

By the end of the semester, there will be a volleyball tournament to raise money for one of the girls on the second floor whose cousin is suffering from cancer. Becki Falwell agreed to award the winning team with a prize such as taking them out to dinner, Houston said. “33 Goes Global” will also be hosting a prayer circle on the intramural field by dorm 28 and Rardon said she hopes that the female dorms on the Circle and Hill will be involved.

By May 2011, Rardon and her activists hope to include all of the female dorms and the male dorms. Next year, Rardon hopes she can change the name to “LU Goes Global” and include the entire campus.

“The sky is the limit,” Walburn said in regards to Rardon’s goals. “She is a really motivated individual.”

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