During the summer, students traveled across the country to experience different cultures while ministering.
By Sofía Almarza
Many students were privileged to go on mission trips over the summer, both individually and through the intercultural studies (ICS) department. Two share their experiences: Tawsha Bonifaz, senior children’s ministry major, went to Ireland with a children’s ministry team, and Chris Kipp, senior international development major, went to Costa Rica on a fieldwork trip.
Ireland – Tawsha Bonifaz
Bonifaz’s two week trip to Ireland in May with North Central University students and Professor Dan Rector and his wife Nancy were focused on children in the city parks. The parks, otherwise known as the “greens,” are located in the cities of Limerick and Galway.
Day one of ministry in the greens was cold and windy—literally and figuratively speaking—but by day three, the group witnessed unruly children change drastically into calm, sweet, attentive participants.
“Being able to see how something so universal like puppetry or drama gets kids everywhere excited was a highlight,” said Bonifaz.
Bonifaz and her team had the opportunity to host seminars for children’s ministry workers in Ireland and provide them with drama resources, puppets, a puppet stage, a sound system, and balloon animal supplies.
During free time, the group was able to visit majestic castles, resplendent natural beauty in the countryside, and the breathtaking Cliffs of Moher.
“To think that God could do that with a whisper is just amazing. It was such a holy moment,” said Bonifaz of the landscape surrounding her.
Being that this was her first trip overseas, appreciating the culture and societal differences was simple.
“I loved every difference from the license plates to the biscuits. We’re all tea drinkers now!” said Bonifaz.
Costa Rica – Chris Kipp
Senior international development major Chris Kipp had the opportunity to experience life as a missionary in Costa Rica. Kipp, five other students and trip leader Professor Moses Mendoza were a part of CINCEL, “Centro de Investigaciones Culturales y Estudios Linguísticos,” which means Center for Cultural Research and Language Studies. It’s an Assemblies of God World Missions organization that exists to prepare missionaries for ministry in Spanish-speaking countries.
Each week presented a different focus for the group. Week one was spent acclimating to the vibrant Costa Rican culture, week two was spent engaging in a service project with a local church, and the third week was spent doing service learning projects with students from the University of Costa Rica.
A highlight for Kipp was going to El Olivo, a dynamic church comprised largely of 15 to 25 year olds where he was able to build deep relationships with the students as well as hear numerous testimonies.
“It’s amazing to me how much we can relate to people our own age in different cultures and how western influence is spreading to big cities, making college students more accessible for us to have fellowship with,” said Kipp.
Kipp also had the honor of leading worship at a Wednesday night service at El Olivo, singing in both Spanish and English.
“It was probably the best picture I’ve seen of the body of Christ,” said Kipp. “The picture of worship that I saw from them even though they couldn’t understand the words was such a pure, true form of worship. It’s so important to plug in to the body of Christ for mutual encouragement, uplifting, and speaking truth to one another.”