George Fox to send students on annual summer service trips

Three teams of George Fox University students, staff and alumni will spend three weeks of their break serving others abroad as part of the university’s Summer Serve program.

Three trips in May – to Romania/Moldova, Argentina and Kenya – will challenge volunteers in what the school’s Office of Spiritual Life describes as “heavily exposure-based and discipleship-oriented” trips. About two-dozen volunteers are making the trips, with the Argentina group traveling May 6-26, the Kenya team going May 5-26 and the Romania/Moldova group abroad from May 15 through June 6.

The Romania/Moldova and Argentina teams will be teaming with a longtime ministry partner, Word Made Flesh, a nonprofit organization committed to “serve Jesus among the most vulnerable of the world’s poor,” according to the organization’s website. In Kenya, George Fox volunteers will work with Open Arms International, an agency dedicated to bettering lives through medical expertise, education, Christian ministry and partnerships.

“Our goal is to partner with missionaries and nationals through various work projects and relational ministry,” said Rusty St. Cyr, George Fox’s associate pastor of ministry and service. “We aspire to encourage them, help enhance their ministry, and come away with a greater understanding of the global kingdom of God and our role in it.”

Following are summaries of the three planned trips.

Romania/Moldova: Romania is searching for a new identity amidst its dramatic change from communism to capitalism. The country suffers economic displacement, the AIDS epidemic and rising ethnic struggles. Word Made Flesh Romania serves among the nation’s most vulnerable: at-risk children, street youth and poor families. The George Fox team will be working with the after-school programs for kids at Word Made Flesh’s community centers in the two countries.

Argentina: Word Made Flesh Argentina, in collaboration with Argentine partners, is called to serve and discover Christ among vulnerable children and young adults living in poverty. Through Ministry Among Youth in Retiro, Encuentros, visits/discipleship, and after¬‐school tutoring, Word Made Flesh hopes to deepen relationships by showing God’s love and commitment to people through activities, games, Bible studies and meals together.

Kenya: Students from George Fox will be working with Open Arms International to serve vulnerable, abandoned and orphaned children in the Eldoret region of Kenya. The team will oversee a Vacation Bible School program with four different groups of children at a village, work with Compassion’s feeding program, and serve in the community of Mlango. The focus will also be to help assist the preschool program at Open Arms Village and a new preschool program just starting in the slum Kambi Teso on the north side of Eldoret.

Summer Serve Program

Now in its 21st year, the George Fox Summer Serve program allows students to spend three weeks in volunteer service in cross-cultural settings. Previous trips have gone to China, Nicaragua, Swaziland, Peru, Thailand, Ukraine, Brazil, India, Cuba, Jamaica, Romania and the Philippines.

Students are selected through an application process, and each traveler fundraises his or her own way. Part of the fundraising includes garage sales, auctions, raffles, car washes and charity dinners. To learn more about the program or donate to this year’s trip, contact St. Cyr at 503-554-2319.

George Fox also sponsors weeklong service trips during Christmas break and spring break.