Global Focus Week celebrates missions work around the world
For Liberty University students Anastasia Eberle and Hunter Fretheim, the university’s biannual Global Focus Week (GFW) has a personal connection.
The two grew up in Africa where their families served with the nonprofit organization SIM, which supports missionaries in more than 70 countries. SIM was one of more than 50 organizations that sent representatives to campus this week.
Eberle’s parents train teachers in Christian schools in Niger to share the Gospel through their lessons. “Niger is 99 percent Muslim, and the public schools are so bad that these Muslim families are putting their children in Christian schools,” Eberle said.
Fretheim’s family works with a variety of ministries in Nigeria to reach those in need of the Gospel. He said that he loves seeing college students eager to get involved with missions.
“Global Focus Week is not only a great opportunity for missions organizations to share what they’re doing, but to give students a new perspective,” Fretheim said. “Jesus tells us to go to the ends of the earth and reach people for the Gospel, but how can you do that if you don’t know about other countries or cultures?”
Students had a chance to learn about different cultures at a variety of campus events, from sampling dishes from around the world at Taste of Nations, to learning about world hunger at the Hunger Banquet, to hearing from Dr. Álvaro Simón De Blas, who serves as president of National Association of European Business and Innovation’s Spain (BIC) headquarters. (The BIC provides expertise on the creation of new small and medium enterprises based on innovative elements with development potential.)
Students were treated to a special showing of the documentary “Mully,” which tells the true story of Charles Mully, a boy who was abandoned in Kenya at age 6 and grew up to become a successful businessman who is using his wealth to change the lives of the homeless and orphans. Mully met with students after the showing and answered questions about his work. Students also watched “Beautifully Broken,” which tells of the healing power of forgiveness and reconciliation through the stories of three fathers’ fight to save their families, connecting their lives in an unlikely journey.
Representatives from Compassion International led students through their “Compassion Experience” exhibit, giving them a chance to see up close what poverty looks like around the world and what can be done to help those in need.
Students also heard about the work that Liberty is doing in Spain through the university’s G5 initiative. Each year, the Office of Spiritual Development chooses a country for students to engage with through service and travel opportunities. Spain is the destination for a number of trips that are planned for this spring and summer.
During Wednesday’s Convocation, Senior Vice President for Spiritual Development David Nasser encouraged students to get involved.
“What an incredible opportunity for us to engage with these organizations that are on the frontlines doing God’s work,” he said. “These incredible men and women are lifting up the name of Jesus.”
Nasser, along with Steven Gillum, director of international engagement with LU Serve, announced that Colombia will be next year’s G5 country. Gillum said Liberty will partner with Samaritan’s Purse for travel and engagement opportunities for students.
Eberle said watching fellow students become excited about learning how to reach different nations is her favorite part of GFW.
“We need missionaries,” she said. “Everyone has different talents and passions, and those can be used in every way. They are so needed.”