Staff, students reflect on recent global trips
|Four Liberty University students enjoy life in a Middle Eastern country during their global team visit last month.|
Four teams of Liberty University students and staff participated in Center for Global Engagement (CGE) global teams that traveled to Africa, Asia, and the Middle East over Christmas break, answering God’s call to share His love with the nations.
Nathan Koffee, who coordinated one of the teams, served as the emergency contact and received itinerary updates and reports from all four.
“There was a lot of fruit in that seeds were planted, seeds were watered, and new relationships were built,” he said. “We see that as very valuable.”
One of the groups was sent out by the School of Nursing to Togo, where it further developed a long-term relationship with a partner agency. Students and faculty worked with doctors in an area hospital and helped run a clinic that addresses female health concerns.
“That was full of experiential learning and opportunities to jump in and serve,” Koffee said. “A lot of what they were doing was very relational, but there were a lot of opportunities to put into practice what they’ve been learning in nursing school, which is really awesome. They were getting hands-on experience and learning how medicine is done in a third-world context.”
The other three teams — which traveled to an East Asian mega-city of 9 million, the West Bengal district of Kolkata in East India (with a population of 90 million), and a predominantly Muslim country in the Middle East — assisted local Christian workers.
“We’re just jumping in for two weeks and saying, ‘Hey, what can we do to serve alongside of you and the other believers here?’” Koffee said. “Hopefully, we’re able to spur the work on (and) encourage the believers there, but once we leave, the work continues and God continues to accomplish what He wants to in that setting.”
In East Asia, seven Liberty students and two staff members taught conversational English to college students.
“They were very relational, using English as the primary tool to both develop ongoing relationships and be a catalyst for new relationships in university hubs,” Koffee said. “We want to share life with the people there and most importantly, through that, share the message of Jesus as opportunities arise.”
In Eastern India, the only location where no CGE team had visited before, Liberty students enjoyed discipleship opportunities with local pastors as well as encouraging those from Hindu or Muslim backgrounds who had given their lives to the Lord.
In the Middle East, students established relationships with locals of other faiths by playing soccer, sharing meals, or simply walking around the local park or mall with them.
“That was a phenomenal opportunity to be in a place where there are very few followers of Jesus,” Koffee said, noting that people were not hostile toward Christians, just adamant about their beliefs. “It’s a very peaceful country, and, for that matter, has good diplomatic relations with our country.”
Koffee said that through these trips, people were able to “see a difference” in the lives of Liberty students.
Over spring break, from March 5-15, 10 more trips are planned through CGE — to the Arab World, Bosnia, The Balkans, East Africa, Ghana, the Philippines, Southeast Asia, Spain, Thailand, and West India.
“Many of our teams have reached capacity, but there are some summer teams that still have spots open,” said Koffee, who encourages students to explore opportunities to serve overseas. “Overall, there is a desire at Liberty to see and be a part of God’s work globally, which is awesome.”