Students to visit Germany, Israel, Romania and more through summer trips
This summer, Liberty students will travel the United States and the world to visit historical sites, seize outreach opportunities and participate in national competitions through various trips organized by LU Send, with eight international trips traveling to Germany, Greece, Romania, Israel and Ghana, along with others.
Many of the domestic trips are in development.
The school of aeronautics will have students competing in the National Intercollegiate Flying Association (NIFA) 2017 National Championship and the Women’s Air Race Classic.
The Liberty University Flight Team qualified for the NIFA Championship after winning the district competition for the 12th year in a row.
The team will now face 29 of the top flight schools in the country in a week-long series of tasks at the Ohio State University Airport, according to Anton Cihak, the director of flight operations for the aeronautics program and the team coach and advisor.
Events include developing and navigating efficient routes, recognizing the make, model and year of an aircraft based on a picture and landing as close to a mark on the runway as possible.
Last year, the team placed eighth, but Cihak said they have a tremendous team, and he expects to place even higher
Three aeronautic students will also compete in the Women’s Air Race Classic, a storied race across the nation that Cihak said was once won by Amelia Earhart.
The two teams will each fly 2,642 miles to checkpoints throughout the country in about two days.
Cihak said Liberty students who performed well at the events have received national recognition for the program.
“They will be friends with these people the rest of their lives,” Cihak said.
“It also may lead to opportunities in the future, not just for employment, but advancing the studies of aeronautics.”
These competitions give students the chance to refine their skills through quality competition and networking.
However, Cihak said there is another reason the team goes.
“We’re going there, quite honestly, to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” Cihak said. “We have the life verses of each one of our competitors on the side of our aircraft. It’s a great opportunity to be able to witness and to share the love of Christ with our fellow competitors and the judges.”
The flight team will wrap up flying planes at the NIFA Championship in the middle of May. Soon after, LU Send international teams will begin boarding planes for trips throughout the summer.
David Welch, executive director for LU Send, said the summer trips have the advantage of giving students time to rest and reflect on the previous semester before studying a new topic.
These trips are also longer than past trips, Welch said, with some taking three to four weeks, which results in more creative and diverse itineraries.
For example, the sports management department will be going to Ghana to put on a soccer camp for children.
Welch said the students will learn how to use sports to share the hope of the gospel.
“We want the students to understand the Gospel is all pervasive,”Welch said.
“It touches every aspect of our lives. Sports is something most Americans are used to compartmentalizing… but we want our students to understand, especially if they are going into sports as a career, how the lessons you learn through sports and the lessons you learn through the Bible can relate.”
Another team will be traveling to Romania with Dr. Michael Jones, who is fluent in Romanian, to complete a theological survey course through field work, interaction with long-term missionaries and other methods, according to Weston Martin, a trip coordinator for LU Send.
“It’s taking theology and putting it in a situation where the students are not necessarily comfortable in their surroundings,” Martin said.
“This allows you to view God in a very different light and appreciate who he is.”
Martin said the experiences and interactions on these trips engrains the lessons into a person’s mind and makes it possible to be remembered years later.
“It enables you to put words, places and people to that learning and gives you context for that learning,” Martin said.
“Then it’s not just head knowledge, it’s actually knowledge that can be utilized and seen throughout the world.”
Students interested in LU Send trips can visit an informational booth outside the Montview Student Union May 3-5.
Price is a news reporter.