Crossing Borders and Building Bridges

By Kendra Hartman

Whether a person travels to another state or another country, so much can be learned from a change of perspective and a change of scenery. There is a world far beyond Canton, Ohio or your hometown. Whatever your background, Malone’s Center for Cross Cultural Engagement hopes to offer a trip specific to your interests.Haiti, Guatemala, Kentucky, Poland, Italy, Kenya, and South Korea are the places that Malone students have the opportunity to travel to this school year. “We are excited about the different teams this year,” Ryan Donald, Director of the Center for Cross Cultural Engagement, said.“We have a good variety of both opportunities for different interests and different ministries and locations,” Donald said.The Poland and Italy trip offer the experience to travel back and look through the lens of history while walking alongside current day people. Many trips are centered on making connections with the local people, aiding their refugees, and service to local churches. The trips give the opportunity to take a look at what Christianity looks like in other nations.“It’s more than just observing, but being able to get hands-on and participate and help with that,” Donald said.Being immersed into another culture or another place that is not home really extends the invitation to step outside of your comfort zone and build relationships with people you otherwise would not have. It also invites you to see things or think about things differently.“We are going there to serve and to learn, but it’s about building those relationships and enter in the story or the narrative and see things from their perspective,” Donald said.Dr. Jay Case, professor of history, is leading a trip to Kenya with Dr. Marcia Everett. Case has led other trips in years past and lived in Kenya for six years after graduating college.Case has many connections through ministry in Kenya. That trip will focus on ministry with the local church and the relational community within it.“We come alongside some African Christians who are doing a really good work with some really poor people in a difficult situation,” Case said. Case said that God is at work in other situations and other countries and it is interesting to connect that to our own faith on a trip. Service learning trips are short-term. Many trips are typically 2-3 weeks. How-ever, there is still opportunity for change – maybe not transforming a whole nation, but creating intentional relationships and community with a few people. “They’re going to learn about this part of Africa, who these people are, how this works but, then also what is the connection to us and our life,” Case said. “My hope is, that a new, deeper understanding would have an impact, in some way, to how they live their lives when they come back to the United States.” Jessica Weingart, senior integrated language arts major, went on the Germany service learning trip last May. Weingart had the opportunity to see many historical monuments and historical venues. She She recalls her most impactful memory is that of a homeless man living in Berlin. “These people are just really strong. That was the most life-changing for me because all these people went through way more than we could ever imagine,” Weingart said. She was really humbled by the harsh punishment people may receive in seeking Christianity. “These stories that you would only hear about and see in movies, you would never think would be real,” Weingart said. All the trip information can be found online at: https://www.malone.edu/academics/undergraduate/service-learning/2017-18-service-learning-teams-list/. Or by contacting Ryan Donald in the Office of Cross Cultural Engagement.

LXIII Issue No. 1

 

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