updated March 2015:
SPAIN - [Semester Abroad] “As a result of Spain, I have grown so much. My first several weeks there I really learned what it meant to fully rely on God when everything around you is changing and He is the only thing that is steady and unchanging. Being in Spain, especially in the beginning when I was still adjusting to all of the new things, really stretched me out of my comfort zone. I learned to work past the initial difficulties and to realize that it is when we are in that stretch zone that learning and growing takes place.
I really believe that the friends that I made while I was there showed me what true friendship looks like. We were never focused on what we were going to do or the means in which we were going to have fun, we simply were just so content with hanging out and being with one another that that in itself led to some of the greatest and memorable times. My group of friends taught me so much about what it means to love with actions when you may not be able to say exactly what you want to in words, thank you language barrier. I whole-heartedly believe that we are going to be friends for a very long time.” – Stacey Attig, Senior, Louisville, KY
ITALY & ALBANIA – “Throughout the week, we taught all the children how to sing, ‘Jesus Loves the Little Children’ in English. On the last evening, Sara was with us at the church, and she would hold onto me and we would proceed to sing ‘Jesus Loves the Little Children’ for around 30 minutes. At that moment I realized how special this moment was. I was not able to rescue or fix Sara’s very hard life conditions, and I couldn’t make sure she had enough food or a clean place to sleep at night, but I could continuously remind her that God loves her. This was such a special moment for my heart. Though I felt like I wasn’t doing enough for these children who live in some of the harshest conditions, God kindly reminded me that I’m not their savior but He is, and I was teaching them about the One who could change their lives.” – Emily Puckett, Senior, Dry Ridge, KY
PUERTO RICO – [Swim Team] “Personally, this trip was a growing experience for me. I have always been skeptical of short-term mission trips. I always thought that no one could possibly make a difference in anyone’s life or make a lasting impact on a community in six or seven days. After being thanked so profusely by Moca’s swim team and later receiving a plaque from the pastor of the church we served at, I knew that we had made a difference. Our trip to Puerto Rico seemed more worthwhile to me. Not only had we gained personal experiences that would stick with us, we had helped a church attract new members and told kids that there were people out there who thought they were worth investing in. It challenged me to go farther out of my comfort zone and start looking for more opportunities to do missions trips. It’s better to do a week of missions than to sit on my couch and wait for someone else to do it.” – Caitlin Gagnon, Junior, Cincinnati, OH
INDONESIA – “I went on a mission trip to Bali, Indonesia, with a team of twelve from Southland Community Church in Greenwood, Indiana. When thinking of fulfilling the cross-cultural requirement I had a list of the potential places I would like to visit; Bali wasn’t even on that list. I had absolutely no intentions of going there. However, the fact that I went is testament that God had different plans for me. He opened up every single door for me to go on this trip, and for that I am eternally grateful. It also served as a reminder that He alone knows what is best for me.
I am very thankful that God sent me to Bali. I am also very thankful that Asbury University requires students to complete a cross-cultural experience during their time here. If it had not been for this requirement, I probably would have never gone to Bali, and I would not have learned the lessons I did, nor meet the people or hear their stories.” – Emily Hudson, Senior, Seymour, IN
IRELAND – “I gained a lot of personal growth over this trip as we traveled to the different churches. One of the main things we heard often from each church was that we were ‘anointed’ for this trip. It was interesting and humbling to hear this. To be told we were divinely chosen from people we never met is something simply incredible. Our chance to visit these churches had nothing to do with our talent, but was set in place by God at the exact moment when they needed us.
In a more physical sense, I also learned how flexible a drummer I am. I did not have a full kit for most of the trip, and when I did I was often limited by the amount of noise I could make. This meant that on the streets I sometimes had to play on a guitar case, and in the church I had to play with rods, drumsticks made up of little, thin sticks in order to lessen the volume. The biggest shock was how quickly we were accepted at every place we went. The love the people had for us was very palpable. It just reminded me that when Christ’s love is at the center, there are no boundaries or miles that separate, but instead, we are one family. This especially will help me love my brother and sister with more intent not only in America, but abroad as well.” – Matt Harling, Senior, Bartlett, IL
ENGLAND & FRANCE – “This trip to Europe allowed me to grow spiritually. One event on this trip that affected me spiritually was the visit to John Wesley’s home and church. I really enjoyed learning about the Wesleyan church and how it all came to be. I had heard it before, but being there in the place where it all happened brought me to a new level of understanding and appreciation. One of my favorite parts of our visit there was the time we were sitting scattered throughout the pews, silently praying and reflecting on all that had happened so far.
The biggest realization I had spiritually on this trip came to me when I was walking through one of the giant old churches. We visited several on our trip, including Westminster Abbey, Notre Dame, and Sacre Coeur. It was amazing to me how old these buildings were—some parts even dated back to around 1000 AD. While I was walking through, I remembered the statistic Prof Kerr had shared with us about the number of Europeans who claimed to be Christians and the number who actually attend church. Both numbers were astonishingly low. I remember thinking how sad it is that to most people, these beautiful, ornate places of worship were just landmarks to walk through. For many Europeans, it seems that religion is only a part of their history, a thing of the past. It also made me wonder if that was happening in America today.” – Hannah Mobley, Senior, Bargersville, IN
Check back each month to view more inspiring words from our students!