“One thing I loved about CM’s trip to Anaheim, California last year? The cross cultural experience, without ever leaving the USA. We worked alongside the non-profit organization Voice of Refugees, who help international refugees (primarily from the middle-east) resettle and adjust to life in America. Our main job was to teach ESL (English as a Second Language) classes all week. We were able to help equip those in our classes with some of the skills they need to settle in America, and build friendships with them.
To be honest, going into the trip, I was a little nervous. I had never taught English before. DO NOT let that hold you back! Teaching ESL was not as hard as I imagined, and the challenges were definately worth it at the end of the week when I left California with new friendships! Through working at VOR the Lord taught me not to be so quick to judge, that sometimes people just need you to listen to their story, and His love crosses all culture barriers! Here is what some of the students had to say about the trip:
“By going to Anaheim for spring break I was able to experience and international culture without leaving the country. My eyes were opened to a reality that I had only been able to encounter through a newscaster on a TV station. I was able to shake hands with broken men who used to be lawyers, accountants, and fathers but a war tore them from their country, their lives, and even their families. I was able to laugh, learn, teach and pray with these men. These men were quick to love and respect me, they even admired my mustache for mustache march. So much love was experienced that week. I strongly encourage anyone and everyone to go on this trip.”
-Beau Daggett, Junior Business Major
“I think it was a humbling experience for me to see that these people were forced from their homes and forced to come to America where they don’t know anybody and not even the language. It’s scary for them and they just needed people to invest in them and love on them. It taught me to be less judgmental about others who aren’t like me, because they get judged for their culture and for the people who give their culture a bad name, but they were literally the nicest people ever. It was just such a great experience and God was definitely moving. Also, getting to see Cali, going to Medieval Times, and being with my friends made the trip so much fun! #CMinCali”
-Sarah Broyles, Senior Kinesiology Major
“I loved being able to pour Christ’s love on to the people. It was incredible to just be able to sit and listen with them. God really showed me how something so simple as listening can bring joy. I have also never sang, danced, and eaten so much! This trip was one of the most incredible trips!
-Morgan Allen, Sophomore Speech Path Major
“I learned that the love of God can be a common language, you just need to express it. And always bring a pair of stretchy pants and don’t ever under estimate the power of dance.”
-Jessica Allen, Senior History Major
“The trip to Anaheim, California ended up being so much more than a Spring Break Trip. It was absolutely incredible to have the chance to interact with an entirely new and different culture and learn about their view of the world and their faith. Christ is the great bridge that truly connects us across all cultures. Even when everything about American culture and Arabic culture seemed different, Christ unified us. It was also fascinating to see the presence of Christianity in LA among the entire population! I came into the trip thinking that LA was a big pit of sin and that there would be very few, if any Christians there, but God’s remnant always prevails. We encountered so many believers who were on fire for their faith but so yearned for spiritual community! All of thee factors, (along with the beauty of the Californian sunset), made the trip one that I was forced to step out of my comfort zone and realize that God is so much bigger than cultures and stereotypes. He is ever-capable of reaching those that we deem “unreachable”. I would highly encourage anyone and everyone who is or isn’t considering this trip to take time of thoughtful prayer, and go to LA!”
-Connor Goad, Junior Christian Studies Major
“What I loved most about California was being introduced to a new, beautiful culture. Getting to know the culture and seeing God in the culture is so special and beautiful. I would not trade my experience for anything. ”
-Kathleen Post, Senior Christian Studies Major
“This trip is a great opportunity to share Christ’s love to the arabic speaking people in Cali and continue to help them learn English. It also is a great time to meet and grow closer to fello- Ouachitonians and do ministry alongside them. My favorite parts of the trip were: seeing the Arabic people’s faces when they actually understood English, the crazy memories we had as a group, being able to grow closer to friends, and spending time with others from a different culture. All in all, if you don’t know what your doing over spring break, don’t hesitate and come to Cali. It will be the best mission trip ever!!”
-Landon Freeman, Senior Christian Studies/Kineisiology Major
“The trip to Anaheim was incredible! I didn’t think that it would make such an impact on me. My students I taught English to taught me and showed me what passionate faith looks like. Hearing the stories of what those families have gone through was unbelievable but they still had so much faith in God. The trip was such a blessing and I will always remember and cherish that experience.”
-Drew Farris, Junior Christian Studies Major
“The trip to L.A. was fantastic! I actually really enjoyed teaching the English classes. I helped teach the intermediate class and I loved it when they asked questions about why something was spelled a certain way or why we said something differently than what they had been taught. It definitely challenged me because I had to come up with an explanation, which a lot of the time I had no idea. Also, I remember one class in particular where we were helping one-on-one and I got to talk to them more about where they came from and what was going on in their home country. It was really sad to hear about all that they had been through and what they had had to give up when they came to the US.”
-Leah Anderson, Sophomore History Major
Applications are due December 2.
By Kendall Calvert Assistant Director of Campus Ministries