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Oct. 26, 2010
By Stefani Reed, media relations assistantMARYVILLE, Mo. - Three Northwest Missouri State University students took a five-week mission trip this past summer to South Africa, where they worked at an orphanage and helped spread the word of God.
Kristen Kientz, of Raymore; Keely Kendall, of Independence; and Craig Brooks, of Lee's Summit; raised $5,500 to go on the mission trip. The money covered their expenses including the shelters and hostels they stayed in during their visit.
While in South Africa, Kientz, Kendall and Brooks spent two weeks in Pretoria at the Beam Africa orphanage, where they served meals to children used to eating no more than once a day, and 50 percent of the children in the towns are orphans. Because the lifestyle is different from what the students are used to, Kientz said their experience was very humbling.
"It's truly something to witness these kids," Brooks said. "I mean these kids have been through more in their lives than most grown adults and yet they have so much joy every day."
The students raised the money by organizing bake sales, raffles and sending support letters to their friends, family, church members and community members.
After spending time in Pretoria the students went to Cape Town for three weeks. They visited three different universities - Cape Peninsula, Cape Town and Stellenbosch - where they dedicated their time to sharing the gospel, Kendall said.
Kientz, Kendall and Brooks helped students start their own movements for Campus Crusade for Christ, an interdenominational Christian organization that promotes evangelism and discipleship in more than 190 countries around the world.
"I didn't want to leave the children in Pretoria, the college students I met in Cape Town, the ministry we started, or the American students I went on the trip with," Kientz said. "We had such a great community centered on Christ and it was so hard not having that when I came back. I still miss the children, the college students and my American friends every day."
While the students were in South Africa they also went on a safari and visited Robben Island, where South Africa's first democratic president Nelson Mandela was imprisoned. On the last night they participated in a traditional African dance.
Before the trip, the students had to do spiritual preparations for a week, which included learning tools for sharing their Christian faith with the African students. The students prepared to share the gospel by talking to each other, and demonstrating and explaining how God has played a role in their lives.
Every time the students moved into a different cultural area, they went through cultural training. They learned about the climate, government, time management difference, how African kids and students react to common greetings and different body languages. During their cultural training the students also learned a few common phrases used by the African people.
Kendall called the experience amazing and life-changing. She said she made a lot of new friends during the mission trip with whom she plans to keep contact and visit often.
"God chose all of us random people around this country to go do his work even though he did not need us too," Kendall said.
Kientz is considering going back to South Africa for two weeks in the summer of 2011.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
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