updated January 2015:
AUSTRIA, GERMANY, POLAND – “The concept of human dignity was certainly not a foreign concept to me before my experience this semester. But looking back, I see that I did not grasp the vital importance of human dignity until I experienced the history of the Holocaust in an in-depth way through study and travel overseas. I came away with the realization that an understanding of the depth and universality of human dignity is absolutely crucial for happiness, fulfillment, and—perhaps most importantly—justice.
It is astounding to consider how such a seemingly small idea—the idea of whether or not individual humans have an immortal, God-valued soul—could have such a profound impact on society. When visiting concentration camps in Germany and Poland, the natural recurring question in my mind was, ‘Why?’ What reason could be behind a mass killing endeavor of this magnitude? What idea could have possibly led to this conclusion?? The startling answer seems to be that the Holocaust and associated abuses were simply the logical end of a warped worldview, a worldview that started with the simple proposition that humans are nothing more than a physical form resulting from purely natural processes. If human beings have no special, inherent value, why not exterminate some of them for the good of society as a whole? If no transcendent being exists, why not create our own view of ethics? I had heard it said before at a Christian worldview conference that ‘ideas have consequences.’ The words made sense at the time, but now I understand them in a far deeper way. Ideas have consequences—profound consequences—potentially deadly consequences.” – Rebecca Frazer, Sophomore, Morgantown, IN
FRANCE & SPAIN – “My cross cultural experience, my Camino, included 34 days of walking 500 miles over mountains, across plains, and beside rivers to reach the ancient city of Santiago de Compostella. While the trip took a total of about 5 weeks, the memories seem as rich as those of a whole lifetime. While I expected to have a lot of solitude on my pilgrimage, I ended up spending a great amount of time talking with people. I was blessed by the genuine love of other believers that I encountered on my trip, and challenged by honest questions from seekers. The Lord encouraged me and strengthened my faith and confidence in speaking truth throughout the trip.
While my route only took me through France and Spain, the Camino draws travelers from all over the world. So, not only did I experience French and Spanish culture, I also caught glimpses of Brazilian, Italian, German, South Korean, and Japanese culture, just to name a few. I was blessed to spend several days—in some cases a few weeks—walking with groups of people from many different countries. There are few activities that foster conversation like long walks. On our journey, we were walking an average of about 20 miles a day. This created space for relationships to form and strengthen, and allowed cultural differences and similarities to enrich interactions.” – Alex McIntosh, Senior, Ft. Thomas, KY
USA, McAllen, TX – “I learned more about my personality, about who God has designed me to be, who I might be in the future, and how I can be the person God wants me to be in the now. There were times I did not feel adequate to be a teacher or did not think I had enough patience to be with children who didn’t understand what I was trying to get across. This is where God stepped in big time and helped me push through my feelings of doubt. I’ve known for the past year that I feel called to missions in the Hispanic culture, so this summer enforced the call even more.” -- Stephanie Barnett, Junior, Huntsville, AL
COSTA RICA – “Our team participated in Face of Justice’s weekly prayer vigil outside of San Jose’s largest brothel. Nothing can really prepare you to see what you do on a street corner like that, yet the Lord constantly reminded me that He was with us and is supreme over the darkness we witnessed. No amount of research can prepare you to pray over transvestites, step foot in a brothel, or witness suspected trafficked minors approaching clients. Our time to pray over the working people was incredible and unforgettable.
This trip was full of amazing stores and adventures. However, one of the biggest blessings was God’s affirmation of my life calling and direction. He showed me I was right where I needed to be—at Asbury. He also showed me that I was studying exactly what I needed to study—public relations and graphic design. Throughout this trip, I was able to more fully understand the calling He has placed on my life to do publicity and graphic design work on the mission field, specifically focusing on combating prostitution, sex trafficking, and sexual exploitation.
God was so providential on this trip, from the things I learned about Costa Rica, their religion, their people, to the impact that it left on my life. I’m excited to move forward in my college journey with the affirmation and blessing that this trip gave. I would never trade this valuable experience or wish it to be anything different. It has inspired me to think more globally in regards to where God might have me in the future, and I’m excited for the next opportunity the Lord has for me to reach His people overseas.” -- Claire Van Der Eems, Sophomore, Lower Waterford, VT
ENGLAND & FRANCE – “This trip opened my eyes to the world beyond my own borders and horizons. By being able to tangibly see a different world, experience hearing different languages, seeing street performers and theatre performances, appreciating historical art pieces, and walking around streets that contained history and memory, I came to a deep appreciation for international travel. I personally have a mind to stay in the States; however, I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of acclimating myself to being aware of cultural differences and processes carried out by other countries. I am encouraged to attack the semesters ahead with gusto. I am prepared to carry my new insights and experiences to influencing my upcoming classes that will prepare me for a globalized communication market.” -- Caitlin Maumenee, Junior, Hendersonville, NC
BRAZIL – “Once upon a time there was a woman who believed that she did not need to learn another language. She was never going to leave America so there was no point or need to learn a different language. This woman was me. Asbury University changed my philosophy by requiring me to have a cross cultural experience. The woman that left Kentucky did not come back to Kentucky. I came back a changed woman. The amount of culture, religion, interaction, and personal impact I experienced during this mission trip was astronomical. My heart was blocked off from anyone that lived outside of the United States until I met the youth at Bairro da Paz. These kids opened my eyes to understand the Brazilian culture and my heart to love their culture. My trip was a true eye opener to the ways of different cultures and how people outside of the United States live their live. No matter the amount of similarities or differences in our cultures, I was shown that people can adapt in many different ways and still be happy.” – Samantha Booy, Junior, Franklin, TN
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