|GRINDELWALD, Switzerland – Lacey Vaughan, Katie Bearce and Raeann Fraham, members of New Edition, Hannibl-LaGrange College’s traveling repertory theatre troupe, point the way to EuroVenture 2004. New Edition was among several HLG students who served as summer missionaries to Switzerland and Germany. See related story. Photo courtesy of HLG|
HLG students serve in Switzerland, Germany
By Brandy Campbell
August 31, 2004
HANNIBAL — Summer mission trips usually involve equatorial regions, foreign languages and encounters with people who have never heard the name of Jesus, but 28 people from Hannibal-LaGrange College were quick to challenge that stereotype as they ministered to English-speaking youth in July at the foot of the Swiss Alps.
On July 3, HLG students traveled to Grindelwald, Switzerland, to help with EuroVenture 2004, a camp sponsored by the International Baptist Convention. This year’s theme was “Never Too Lost to be Saved” from Luke 15. This is the seventh year HLG has helped with EuroVenture.
Youth from 19 different countries attended the six-day camp, with more than 300 youth and leaders in attendance. Most of the campers were American youth who are children of military personnel, missionaries, and corporate workers.
“We often refer to this trip as a ‘Barnabas Mission Trip’ because our main purpose is to lift up and encourage missionary families, military families and church youth groups,” said Rhonda Hufty, one of the HLG sponsors for the trip.
Many of the youth at the camp have lived throughout Europe, often in areas where there are few Christians. EuroVenture is, for them, a time of renewal and refocus. HLG students sought to offer those attending Christian fellowship and friendship.
“The relationships I made with the campers are unforgettable,” said Lacey Vaughan, a junior nursing major. “It was exciting to see the joy that filled them as God worked in their lives. Any chance to serve God is wonderful, but having the opportunity to do so in such a beautiful setting and in the company of such great people was an extra special blessing.”
HLG students encouraged the youth through a variety of activities including small-group discussion time, Bible studies and worship services. In addition, they led workshop seminars on a variety of topics, including spiritual growth, personal worship, drama, sign language, personality profiles and spiritual lessons learned from The Lord of the Rings.
Though the students from Hannibal put a lot of effort into ministering to the campers, they were quick to note that the blessings went both ways.
“We came on this trip to encourage and build up these kids, and without them even knowing they have encouraged us,” said Michelle Thompson, a sophomore elementary education major. “This experience has been a privilege and a blessing. God is amazing!”
After finishing EuroVenture, HLG students traveled with one of the youth groups to Kaiserslautten, Germany, where they stayed for four days in the homes of military families and members of Faith Baptist Church. Kaiserslautten is the home of Ramstien Air Force Base, the largest American settlement outside of the United States. While there, they worked with the youth at Faith Baptist and led a worship service for the church. Members of New Edition, HLG’s traveling repertory theatre troupe, were able to teach the youth several dramas to incorporate into their church services.
“The central purpose of the Germany leg was to encourage the students and their families,” Rhonda Hufty said. “To travel back home with the students from EuroVenture and experience life where they live was a great experience.”
Jana Corkern, a senior music education major said the whole 10-day trip was “an incredible opportunity the Lord gave me. It was so encouraging to see the Lord move in and through our team as we worked with these kids from all over Europe. I am thankful that the Lord was able to use me as an encouragement and model in their lives, and I am thankful for the encouragement and blessing each one was to my life!”
Tom Hufty, vice president for collegiate affairs, and sponsor of this trip, was pleased with HLG’s representation in Europe.
“I couldn’t have been more proud of the way our students served and led the European students,” he said. “They worked nonstop and demonstrated a positive attitude throughout the entire trip. They were driven by the dream of making a difference in the lives of the European students. They understood that you don’t get this opportunity every day and they wanted to make the most of it, not allowing fatigue or challenges to interfere with their desire to serve.”
This summer HLG sent more than 60 summer missionaries to various locations around the world. The school’s commitment to missions is evident in the construction of the Carroll Missions Center, which is set to be dedicated in October. The center will house all things missions related at HLG. For more information regarding the missions program at HLG, contact Tom Hufty at 573-221-3675, ext. 300.