Liberty University students refuse to allow the summer months to dwindle idly away. From service trips to competitions, career experience, and epic journeys, Champions made an impact (and memories) all over the globe.
Liberty’s Center for Global Engagement (CGE) sent out six teams of students, leaders, and recent graduates to show Christ’s love and meet the needs of individuals around the world.
More than 100 students and leaders participated in short-term trips through CGE this summer. In May, groups traveled to Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Colombia, Cameroon, and two undisclosed locations in Europe. The Lady Flames Field Hockey Team also traveled to Uganda.
Students engaged in relationship building, prayer walks, sports camps, HIV/AIDS education, and drama. They also distributed educational resources and medical supplies. Among those served were many children, refugees, and orphans.
Every year, more and more students embrace the university’s mission of Training Champions for Christ and take it global through short-term trips and internships. The CGE also offers trips over Christmas break and spring break, as well as other events, many of which take place during its semiannual Global Focus Week.
During the summer months, students from the Center for Ministry Training (CMT) had the opportunity to use their God-given talents on various service trips across the country.
Through the CMT ministry practicum, the Genesis project, 40 students gained practical ministry experience by connecting with local church and parachurch organizations committed to the Great Commission. This program helps students who are considering a career in full-time ministry leadership to gain practical ministry experience.
In addition, the CMT partnered with the North American Mission Board (NAMB) to send students to minister with churches in urban areas.
The CMT mobilized more than 2,500 students, over 50 mission trips, and 135 evangelistic events and block parties, resulting in nearly 600 known salvation decisions over the 2012-13 academic year.
Many students of the Liberty University Department of Theatre Arts used the summer months to notch professional stage credits.
Liberty students and graduates could be seen in community shows, dinner theaters, and other professional venues from the Lynchburg area and surrounding communities to locations as far away as Seattle, New York City, Kentucky, and Colorado. Several students and alumni worked behind the scenes as choreographers, technicians, programmers, designers, set builders, and in various crew positions.
Near Seattle, senior Rachel Lind and junior Jonathan Hogue took the stage in a production of “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers,” playing Martha, a bride, and Caleb, a brother, respectively. In Kentucky, senior Tim Ross sang, danced, and acted in the “Sound of Music” and “Oklahoma.” After graduating in May, Rachel Day began a two-month acting contract in Valdosta, Ga., where she landed leading roles in “The Sound of Music,” “The Marvelous Wonderettes,” and “A Little Night Music.”
A group of seven men left campus in a Liberty University van for a month of adventure, covering roughly 8,222 miles, 25 states, and eight national parks. Their first destination was the Grand Canyon National Park, a 35-hour drive with no planned stops on the way.
The group included four recent Liberty graduates: Justin Smith, Colin Mukri, Philip Godley, and Thomas Madison; current Liberty student and member of the Campus Band Timothy Riordan; former Liberty student Keller Hopkins II; and Riordan’s brother Jonathan.
The group camped out most nights but also stayed in host homes provided by a few of the churches they connected with across the country. All of the members are musicians and ministered through music, leading worship in some of the churches they visited. Their biggest goal was to build relationships and share God’s love.
Four Liberty University School of Business students traveled to Asia to participate in month-long outreach opportunities as part of a new partnership between the school and the Center for Global Engagement.
The program, now in its second year, helps business students use their God-given skills to further the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Two teams of two students each worked with field workers and assisted in creating business plans as a means for workers to generate financial stability and build relationships throughout the community.
Scott Hicks, dean of the School of Business, said the trips not only offer “real-world, practical education and strengthened opportunities for employability,” but also help students realize their potential to serve the Lord in their profession.
“Regardless of the education we are able to provide them, there is nothing like going out, rolling up your sleeves, and getting your hands dirty while serving in the field you decide to pursue.”
Twelve Liberty University students shared the historical significance of important artifacts in the Independence Through History museum, part of Glenn Beck’s “Man in the Moon” event July 4-6 in Salt Lake City.
Students hosted the museum’s 12 stations featuring about 100 historical artifacts — an estimated $55 million value — collected and arranged to tell the story of America’s freedom through its choices.
The Man in the Moon event was a three-day celebration of America’s freedom culminating with a special show — a never-before-seen storytelling spectacle utilizing live-action stunts and innovative film techniques. Leading up to the finale there were several seminars, conferences, speakers, and displays designed to enhance the experience.
Eight Liberty University cinematic arts students had the unique opportunity to work as interns on two different movie sets this summer.
Two students worked on the set of “Like a Country Song,” filmed in Nashville, Tenn., starring Billy Ray Cyrus and Joel Smallbone. Senior Emily Price was the director’s assistant and senior Jonathan Current worked with the film’s production and sound team.
Six students worked on a new movie from Affirm Films (a faith/family-friendly label of Sony Pictures), “Moms’ Night Out,” a comedy filmed in Birmingham, Ala., and starring Patricia Heaton (“Everybody Loves Raymond”) and Sean Astin (“Lord of the Rings,” “Rudy”). It is directed by John and Andy Irwin (“October Baby”).
On the set, the Liberty interns quickly caught the eye of the department heads and most were offered paid positions by the middle of production.
Liberty’s cinematic arts center officially launched last year.
Liberty University School of Aeronautics’ women’s flight team, the Liberty Belles, participated in the 37th annual All Women’s Air Race Classic. The four-day race covered 2,460 miles from Washington to Arkansas.
Liberty’s team of Charity Holland, a School of Aeronautics instructor, and Jessica Dyer, a recent graduate, placed ninth out of 47 planes and fourth out of 13 college entries. They also earned the Fastest Piper Award for being the first of the Piper Arrow planes to finish.
Juniors Megan Grupp and Jodi Jacob landed in 22nd place overall, posting the second-fastest time on leg No. 7 from Holdrege, Neb., to La Junta, Colo., and the third-fastest time on leg No. 3 from Logan, Utah, to Rawlins, Wyo.
Coach Sarah Morris, who won the 2011 race representing Jacksonville University, also competed, joining Helen Helpling of Florida to place eighth overall.
The Liberty Belles also had the chance to encourage young, aspiring aviators during “Women Can Fly,” a special event held at Freedom Aviation Jet Center on June 29. Girls and women were invited to take part in free 45-minute flights, tours of the Lynchburg Control Tower, and a variety of seminars at the nearby School of Aeronautics.