"SpILgrimages" (International Immersion & Service Trips)

The Office of Spiritual & Intercultural Life (SpIL) offers students annual opportunities to participate in "SpILgrimages" (formerly Summer Serve, May Serve, etc.). These international trips last three to four weeks and challenge students to learn from and work alongside great people and model organizations in the context of their culture, community and complexities. These trips are designed for a team of students to both befriend and serve "Christ in the least of these" amidst the various and complex realities of under-resourced people and communities, and doing so while immersed in their contexts and perspectives which exist outside of students' familiar home culture.

The teams go with the mind-set of being both learners and servants. Our primary goal is to serve our global ministry partner organizations as they continue to serve their community neighbors in their context long term. We aspire to listen and learn, encourage and serve alongside to help enhance their ministry and community development, with the goal of coming away with a greater understanding of the global kingdom of God and our role in it.

The basic purposes of SpILgrimages are:

  • To provide an experience in which students will be personally challenged – spiritually, emotionally and culturally, to "think with clarity, act with integrity and serve with passion."
  • To enhance awareness, exposure and deeper understanding of other cultures and explore future involvement in God's mission in the world.
May Serve

Student Application

Summer SpILgrimage applications for Nepal and China Serve Trips are due no later than April 16. After applications have been received, half-hour interviews will be scheduled. The electronic form can be found below. A $180 deposit will be due upon acceptance and confirmation of your participation in a SpILgrimage trip. Costs of the trips are listed below. The costs include airfare and in-country expenses. The following deadlines have been set for fundraising the remaining cost of the trip.

*If any of these deadlines are missed, student may forfeit participation of trip.
**Funds are non-refundable once donated toward trip, even if student cancels or is removed from participation for whatever reason.

  1. 5% of the personal budget is to be raised on acceptance of invitation to be participant on Summer Serve trip (deposit of $180)
  2. 50% of the personal budget will need to be raised before projected airfare purchase date.  If this deadline is missed, student will forfeit participation on trip.
  3. 100% of the individual budget will be due before departure to the Serve Trip destination

SpILgrimage (International Immersion & Service) Application Form

Medical Health Form

You must also fill out the Health and Counseling form above. This form must be printed out and hand-delivered to the Health and Counseling office.


All applicants are required to secure references from three people who know them well. Application packets will not be considered "complete" until all three references have been received. Only students with "complete" applications will be considered for interviews.

  • The first reference form must be completed by your area coordinator or resident assistant. If you are a commuter, the reference can be completed by a past RA or AC. If you are a first year student or have always lived off campus, you can submit the reference to an additional professor or clergy.
  • The second form must be completed by a George Fox faculty member or administrator.
  • The third form must to be completed by clergy (lead pastor/priest or staff pastor).

Email your references the link to the Reference form, which is found below. We must receive your references no later than 5 p.m. on April 16, 2016.

Reference Form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1_qipQXX8uM-Re07aTlt0QAWXds4eaqCqFXnJ3Ex5NtQ/viewform?usp=send_form

Any Questions? Email mgreenwell12@georgefox.edu.


2016 Summer SpILgrimage Descriptions

Romania/Moldova with Word Made Flesh

Word Made Flesh Romania serves Jesus among the most vulnerable there: at-risk children, street youth and poor families. Christians from Romania and other nations come together from various local churches to seek the kingdom of God in community. Through ministry on the streets and educational programs at a community center, they strive for a transformed society in which the poor are redeemed and empowered.
Dates: May 2016
Cost/Person: $3,600

Kenya with Open Arms International

Join Open Arms International on a service trip to Open Arms Village in Eldoret, Kenya. The village is home to more than 100 children, most of whom have been orphaned, abandoned or removed from homes due to neglect or abuse. The village provides a Christ-centered environment for physical, emotional and spiritual healing and a quality education at the Open Arms Academy. Teams conduct medical clinics, outreach events and children's programs where you can serve these precious children. During the trips, Open Arms focuses on medical aid, feeding programs for needy children, construction, and work projects. Some trips may also include prison visits and training conferences.
Dates: May 2016
Cost/Person: $3,600

2017 Winter SpILgrimage Descriptions

Nepal with Evangelical Friends Mission & the Northwest Friends Yearly Meeting

This particular trip will be a time of intense exposure to people and missionaries who have experienced extreme disaster following multiple earthquakes. In the context of a dying world (both physically and spiritually), we will be seeking God's heart for these people and also how God would have us respond to the suffering of the majority of the world's population.We will be working with Evangelical Friends Mission and partnering with missionaries that create and distribute dignity packs for women and children who are experiencing marginilization, especially after the earthquake.

Dates: December 27, 2016 - January 8, 2017 
Cost/Person: $3,600

Summer SpILgrimage Recaps: 2015

PT in UgandaUganda

In June, physical therapy professors Jeff Houck, Ryan Jacobson and Tyler Cuddeford took 12 students to Uganda for a two-week trip, primarily to work with children at a school for the disabled (pictured, right). Kireka School is a boarding school that houses nearly 80 children with intellectual and/or physical disabilities. Many of these children benefited greatly from physical therapy and rehabilitation services, and early into the visit the school’s staff and caregivers witnessed children walking for the very first time.

For many of the PT students, it was their first time working independently with children for a prolonged period. As they departed, they outlined a plan of care for the caregivers and staff. The PT group is committed to making a sustainable impact at the school and is partnering financially with the school’s administration and executives to fund a local physical therapist full time.

In addition to helping disabled children, the students also helped adults with post polio. This entailed a thorough assessment to determine the level of involvement and culminated in individual plans of care for these patients.

Nicaragua tripNicaragua

In early June, a group of 12 students, most of whom are nursing majors, visited Nicaragua (pictured left) for 10 days to work with local missionaries in support of their ministries. The team’s main focus was health education, so a big focus of the trip was putting on several health fairs to educate on the topics of hygiene, nutrition, dehydration, infections and dental care.

The team also worked with local churches to distribute water filtration systems and to help with feeding programs. The group also visited Via Esperanza, a home for girls who used to live and work in the Managua garbage dump and an outreach that psychology professor Kelly Chang and her students have worked with.

Stephanie Fisher, the nursing professor who led the trip, says the students had the opportunity to practice their medical Spanish skills and give small-group teaching sessions and basic health assessments.

Kenya tripKenya

In the spring, a team of George Fox professors and students took part in a two-week medical and educational missions trip to western Kenya (pictured, right). This collaborative effort between the College of Education and School of Nursing was the first of its kind, which expanded on work the College of Education has been involved with in Kenya the past six years.

The focus of the trip was community health care in regions where the College of Education has been working and building relationships with the Quaker ministries in western Kenya. The team spent three days at Kaptama Health Clinic on Mt. Elgon, where they worked alongside Kenyan medical professionals to address the many health needs of the people on the mountain. From there they spent two days in Muliro Village conducting health assessments and vision screening for the widows in the village, and health assessments for the 400-plus children of Musembe Primary School. The final stop was four days at Open Arms International, participating in the various ministries of Open Arms in the Eldoret region.

The team experienced many different kinds of health-related issues not common in the U.S., including malaria, typhoid, dysentery, worms, jiggers, mumps and polio, as well as seeing the effects of extreme dehydration in children, HIV, untreated seizure disorders and untreated congenital malformations. As a result of this trip, the students had the opportunity to utilize their nursing skills in practical and unexpected ways. God’s presence was evident as he enabled the team to successfully treat some critical health cases.

Summer SpILgrimage Videos

Summer Serve Timeline

Information for the Summer Immerse & Serve trips are announced in October during chapel and online. There is an informational meeting specifically for the trips with applications available at this meeting. Applications are usually due two weeks later. Applicants will then be notified if they are chosen for an interview. The team is selected from the interview process and meets two times prior to Christmas break. Spring semester they meet weekly for fundraising, planning, prayer and preparation. Team members chosen are those who display a strong commitment to Christ, desire to learn, humility and flexibility.

May Serve

More Questions?

Email mgreenwell12@georgefox.edu.