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Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story. Psalm 107:2



712-707-7336 •

nwciowa.edu/faith • soe.org

Dear friends, It is my privilege to offer this Summer of Service (SOS) report to you. For nearly four decades Northwestern has sent students around the globe to serve with mission partners. These partners express gratitude for students’ meaningful participation in their work, and our students are deeply impacted by their life-changing experiences. As the director of missions, I am humbled to work with remarkable students and mission partners each year. In July I had the opportunity to visit two of these students at our partner ministry in Athens, Greece. For the past seven years, we have sent students to Helping Hands, which serves mainly Farsi-speaking Muslim refugees from Iran and Afghanistan. I was impressed by the depth of Christian hospitality Helping Hands offers to refugees through providing warm showers, cups of tea, meals, laundry service, and simply a safe place for them to gather with friends and family each week. All of this is done in the hope that the refugees will hear and respond to the gospel, and this strategy is producing fruit. I was also impressed by our students. They represented Northwestern with distinction, but more than that, they represented the gospel of Jesus Christ with distinction as they worked alongside the long-term missionaries.

around small- and large-group discussions and activities intended to help the SOS students integrate their summer ministry experience into their everyday lives now that they have returned home. From listening to their stories, I can say with confidence they have been strengthened and challenged in their faith in profound ways. Here are a few things I heard students share during the weekend: “I now see how God is active in the world,” “The Holy Spirit is active in my life,” “I am learning to give up control and trust in God’s plan,” “I am challenged by joyful refugees who are anxious to share their new-found faith in Christ with their Muslim neighbors,” and “I am thinking about long-term missionary service.” Clearly God is at work in their lives because of their involvement in SOS. These students were eye-witnesses to God’s redemptive work in the world. Now, in the following pages, they bear witness to that work through shared stories, insights and prayer requests. Thank you for your investment in these students as well as in the lives of those they touched in the name of Jesus.

Patrick Hummel Director of Missions

Our goal for students is to help each one grow as a follower of Jesus Christ and pursue God’s redeeming work in the world. One of our first weekends back on campus, Aug. 24–26, we held our SOS reflection retreat. Helping students reflect deeply on their experience is essential to their growth. Therefore, the retreat is designed


Summer Love Every summer since 1981, around 20 Northwestern College students have spent 6 to 10 weeks serving as shortterm missionaries through Summer of Service (SOS). They have served on six continents and in around 90 countries. They raise the money themselves to cover transportation, room and board, and program expenses, mostly from family, friends, their home churches and on-campus service projects. They have traveled to countries like Albania, Bolivia, Fiji, Ghana, Haiti, India, Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Kenya, Peru, Romania and Uganda to serve with mission partners including the Luke Society, Pioneers, Wycliffe and the Reformed Church in America. They have worked in churches, hospitals, orphanages, schools and refugee centers; taught Vacation Bible School and English as a second language; and served in sports and hospitality ministries. They have milked yak, helped deliver babies, and supported victims of sex trafficking. Summer of Service alumni often serve as missionaries after graduation—some for a week or a


month, others for a lifetime—participating in community development, English teaching, evangelism, healthcare delivery and aid to refugees. Christians from around the world welcome Northwestern students into the action of their ongoing ministries. The students return home with questions about God and the world and stories of the surprising ways the Holy Spirit has transformed their hearts and minds. They say confidently that Christ is, indeed, at work in the world—and they’re eager to discover what God wants them to do next. Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story. Psalm 107:2


Megan Cleveringa

Joshua Dahl

Jamaica | Robin’s Nest

Ireland | Dublin Christian Mission

Megan interned at Robin’s Nest, a children’s home. In addition to supporting the Robin’s Nest staff, she also spent one-on-one time with the children, reading books, going for walks, helping with homework, and letting each child know through words and actions how much she or he is loved and valued by God.

Joshua served a small part of Dublin’s 10,000 homeless people, serving bangers and mash and listening to guests’ stories. He describes his summer experience as “relatively relaxing physically, but emotional and spiritually draining. The hurt in people’s eyes—silently crying for help—was sometimes too much.”



Even though my time at Robin’s Nest was short, I still was able to see the children progress in their emotional, social and behavioral development. We praised God for their small successes every day. God’s provision also showed through the fact that in the last decade, no child at Robin’s Nest has “aged-out” of care, which would have meant simply dismissing an older child to care for herself or himself. Every child who’s left Robin’s Nest has either returned to a healthier home or been placed with an adoptive or foster family.

At times I wasn’t sure if I was making a difference this summer, but God has a funny way of putting us right where we should be— whether it was baking my white chocolate strawberry scones for the mission coffee shop, beating someone at bingo, or taking kids camping and teaching them how to pitch a tent.

Social Work; Sioux Center, IA

PEACE + LOVE This summer God taught me I can let go of fear and anxiety. God will take my worries and replace them with a peace in my heart that can only come from God. God is also teaching me to simply be love—not just talk about God’s love, but go out and show it. God opened my heart and enabled me to love the children at the Nest, no matter their circumstances, needs or behavior.


International Business; Orange City, IA

EMBRACING IMPERFECTION This summer while serving alongside other volunteers and engaging with guests, I learned to slow down and listen. To let go. God doesn’t expect us to be perfect, so why should we expect ourselves to be perfect? I learned that if we are too focused on the small things, we sometimes miss out on the big things. It’s like standing too close to a painting, looking only at one single, slightly sloppy, brush stroke. But if you step back, you realize it’s one-in-a-million strokes that together make something lovely. God is teaching me to see the way God sees.


Before my summer in Jamaica, I was already passionate about adoption and foster care. Now—as a future social worker—I am both more aware of how complex and frustrating the adoption and foster care system can be, and I’m more committed than ever to the children and families impacted by the system.

I struggle with insecurities. Sometimes I wonder what my purpose is or why anyone would want to be around me. God broke through those lies I tell myself by surrounding me this summer with people who saw through my façade and loved me for me. I was 100 percent accepted. I still have insecurities. But this summer God destroyed my barriers and is moving in. Whether I like it or not, I’ve got a roommate who fully loves me and I can’t get rid of him.

PRAY THE CHILDREN who live at Robin’s Nest will know they are part of God’s big family—that they are loved and valued. Pray the Robin’s Nest staff will be strong, patient and able to meet the challenges of each day with love and grace. Pray donors will give to Robin’s Nest, especially as the children head back to school and need school supplies.

PRAY INDIVIDUAL DONORS and churches will support the ministries of the Dublin Christian Mission, including the kitchen, coffee shop and youth center. Pray also that people will serve as volunteers at the mission on more than just the weekends.

a levering Megan C

Joshua D ahl and E mily Wee ks


Maddie Godfredsen

Jenna Heemstra

Ghana | Luke Society

The Netherlands | Shelter Youth Hostel

Maddie interned at the clinic and hospital in Kasei, Ghana. A future nurse, she gained experience in the outpatient, maternity, general, pediatrics and emergency units, starting IVs and NG tubes, conducting prenatal assessments, and helping deliver a baby.

Jenna spent most of her time serving in the Shelter Jordan’s café, cooking breakfast and dinner for hostel guests and lunch for other hostel volunteers. In addition, a part of her ministry was relational, talking with guests and participating in the hostel’s activities, including Bible studies, city walks and Dutch food tasting.

Nursing; Rock Valley, IA

Business Administration–Marketing; Primghar, IA

GOOD MEDICINE The Luke Society is a remarkable ministry. The clinic in Kasei began almost 30 years ago in a mud hut and has grown to a fully functioning facility with a fully qualified staff. I love the way they serve their community and the surrounding area. Many people cannot afford healthcare, but the clinic staff does everything they can to treat and care for any patient.

HEALING LOVE I went into my SOS experience ready to enhance my nursing skills and learn about healthcare in a new culture. While those things did happen, I was surprised to find that building relationships was a much larger part of my trip than I expected. We spent a significant amount of time with our hosts and the clinic staff, and I came to love them. I’m grateful for my internship experiences, but I’m even more grateful for the love I experienced from the people I met.

NURSED ALONG After this summer, I have more respect and understanding for people living in the developing world, including missionaries who live there. I also have greater passion for and confidence in my future as a nurse—including confidence in wherever God chooses to place me. PRAY THE CLINIC will be blessed with resources and supplies. The clinic I served at is always in need of resources: more beds for the pediatric unit, more funds to do follow-up blood draws on malaria patients. Simple things like pens, gloves and hand sanitizer are a luxury for them and quickly run out.

Maddiedsen Godfre

WORTHY WORK As the summer started, I wasn’t feeling loving or generous, and I didn’t think God could use me because I didn’t feel worthy enough to be used. But God, working through the people I served alongside, healed me from the brokenness I felt. God kept telling me that I belonged to him, not to the world—that my worth was found only in him. And although I didn’t think I had any love in me, the people around me said they could see the love of Christ radiate from me.

SPIRIT OF EVANGELISM Evangelism is a big part of the Shelter Hostels’ ministry, and it can be very intimidating. As volunteers, we all wanted to share the gospel, but finding a way to do it without scaring people or making them feel like we’re shoving it down their throats is a challenge. That said, the Holy Spirit was at work, and Christ’s love showed through our encounters with guests.

UNCOMFORTABLE TRUTH Sometimes you need to be taken out of your comfort zone to really find yourself and figure out who God is calling you to be. You need to be uncomfortable and surrounded by the unfamiliar. That’s exactly what this summer was for me. In my discomfort, God was able to work through me because I was completely exposed. He showed me exactly who he is and that his love is really all I need. I don’t think that would have happened for me this summer if I had stayed home. PRAY THOSE STILL VOLUNTEERING at the hostel will be confident in their faith and their mission of pointing people to Christ. Also pray they experience rest and spiritual strength and stamina as they serve guests and support one another as volunteers.

Jenna Heemstra


Jeffrey Jeltema

Kelsey Lang

Greece | International Teams

Jamaica | Robin’s Nest

Jeffrey served with Helping Hands, a ministry in Athens for Farsi-speaking refugees, primarily Iranians and Afghanis. Helping Hands volunteers focus on meeting physical and spiritual needs while also forming relationships. Jeffrey and his teammates hosted meals, Bible studies, board games and other activities for refugee families.

Kelsey worked along staff at Robin’s Nest, caring for the 34 children who call it home. Spending time with the children on the playground, in the pool or on the soccer field, Kelsey tried to show them Christ’s love and make them feel valued and adored as children of God.

Biology–health professions; Orange City, IA

SLOWLY SOWING SEEDS The evangelism that Helping Hands volunteers engage in is certainly a long, slow process. Most guests are Muslim, and giving up their faith to convert to Christianity is not something they do quickly or easily. But the staff at Helping Hands do this slow work so well. They really focus on being the hands and feet of Jesus, building relationships, and letting God’s love shine through their actions. Of course, they also teach from the Bible and try to correct the wrong assumptions guests often make about Christianity. They want guests to become believers but realize that it may take a very long time.

SOCCER SERVICE I love to be physically active and love to participate in team sports. Throughout the summer, I had numerous chances to play soccer with a group of unaccompanied youths—refugees in Athens under the age of 18 without parents. Henk (one of the Helping Hands staff ) began taking me along, and eventually I got invited to go even when he couldn’t. Playing soccer was a great way to develop relationships. Despite the language barrier, I felt like I grew close to the guys over the summer, and I hope they were able to see and experience God’s love through me.

POWERFUL VISION I powerfully experienced how God is working in the world. Sometimes, living in a predominantly Christian community and in the northwest Iowa “bubble,” it’s easy to be blind to this work. But being in Greece and working alongside deeply passionate Christians in this refugee ministry really showed me that God is working and moving powerfully across the world to bring people to himself. PRAY FOR WISDOM because Helping Hands is going through a time of leadership transition. Also pray the needs of the refugee believers who volunteer at Helping Hands will be met, including approval for their requests for asylum. And, of course, pray the Muslim refugees who visit Helping Hands continue to witness the joy and hope the volunteers have because of their Christian faith.

Political Science + Public Relations; Orange City, IA

GOD + FAMILY God wrecked my heart for the injustice of broken families and the fallen world in which we live. I’ve done nothing to earn my family and home, and the children I lived with in Jamaica have done nothing to earn their situation either. Coming home, I was overcome with guilt. Over time, those feelings of guilt have been transformed into gratitude and responsibility. I have been greatly blessed, so I am greatly responsible for blessing others.

ORPHAN CALL One thing God revealed clearly to me this summer is the great need for more adoptive and foster families. While my time at Robin’s Nest was wonderful, and I enjoyed watching the children grow and develop in their faith, it was also evident to me that this is not God’s design for the family. Each and every child is so precious, and the children I met each wanted so badly to be loved. I think as a church, we can do a better job answering God’s call and accepting responsibility to care for orphans. PRAY MORE PEOPLE will participate in Robin’s Nest’s “sponsor a child” program. Also pray the home’s material needs will be met—like their constant need for diapers and wipes as well as their need for kids’ backpacks now that school is starting. Finally, Robin’s Nest’s directors are two-year volunteers. Pray God will raise up new directors when the time comes.

Kelse y Lan g

Jeffrey is pictured on page 9 with Lucas Sander.


Rachel Mercer

Haley Muyskens

Ghana | Luke Society

The Netherlands | Shelter Hostels

Rachel interned in the clinic and hospital in Kasei, working alongside doctors, nurses, midwives, physician assistants and lab technicians. Rotating through various hospital units, she gained experience evaluating and diagnosing patients, drawing blood, prepping for surgery, suturing, and delivering a baby.

Haley mostly cleaned and worked in the café at the Shelter City in Amsterdam, a hostel where staff and volunteers share Christ’s love through hospitality. Haley also worked in reception and led tours for hostel guests.

Biology–Health Professions; Kingsley, IA

MEDICAL MISSION Dr. John Boateng’s medical ministry started in a five-room mud hut with just him and a nurse. Now, 30 years later, it’s an established hospital with different departments and many staff members. Hospital staff lead devotions for an hour every morning. One morning a patient stood to share a testimony. He spoke about how he was the third person to have surgery in the mud hut 30 years ago. Formerly a Muslim, he also shared that he had converted to Christianity after being cared for and befriended by Dr. John.

MISSION VISION God has truly placed a desire on my heart to serve and be involved in missions. I never would have imagined God would call me to serve in Ghana this summer. I had never been outside the U.S. and had never been away from home for that long before. Yet God called, and I went. God gave me the courage to do so. He also gave me the confidence to put myself out there and love others to the best of my ability. I am confident in who God made me to be and in what his plan for me is. PRAY THE HOSPITAL staff and the people of Kasei continue to trust God in everything. The hospital staff and many of the patients are filled with a passionate love for God, so pray they continue to shine their light and glorify God. Pray that the doctors and nurses continue to learn, grow and make just decisions. Pray the hospital continues to expand and receive donations of the equipment they need.

Accounting; Mason City, IA

HOSPITABLE SPIRIT Our primary goal as volunteers at the hostel was simply to show Christ by being hospitable. The Shelter City is clearly a Christian organization, and guests are told when they check in that the hostel is staffed by Christians from all over the world. But Christianity is not forced on guests, and, as volunteers, we didn’t have to preach to make an impact. The impact came just through kindness and conversation. Many guests were on travels, looking for some greater meaning, and we tried to show the greater meaning in our own lives through Christ-like actions.

MY WEAKNESS, GOD’S POWER Through my SOS experience, I learned that God’s power is made perfect in weakness. This summer brought up a lot of insecurities that I hadn’t had to deal seriously with for a while. It was hard; my emotions were all over the place. However, I learned that God loves even a weak and messy person like me. And no matter how strong I feel in certain situations or at certain times, I’m never going to be a perfect, neat, completely strong person—and that’s okay. PRAY MORE VOLUNTEERS will be called to the Shelter City, especially American volunteers. It’s more common for European young people to take a gap year, so a lot of the Shelter volunteers are Europeans, and, honestly, many have negative opinions about Americans. But when we worked alongside one another, those preconceptions and prejudices fell away. I think it would be mutually beneficial for more Americans to serve long term in European ministries like the Shelter Hostels.

) ercer (left Rachel M


Haley M uyskens (left)

Anna Niessen

Ben Patzlaff

The Netherlands | Shelter Hostels

Romania | New Horizons Foundation

Anna worked in the Shelter Hostels in Amsterdam, cleaning, working in the café and having conversations with guests. She also participated the hostels’ outreach efforts, helping lead Bible studies and prayer and guiding guests on tours of Amsterdam.

Ben partnered with the New Horizons Foundation to work at a camp called Viata, which means “Life.” As a group leader, Ben led weekly activities for the campers. The goal of the activities—like a ropes course, for example—is to teach life morals through adventure education.



The Shelter ministry is absolutely amazing. Their goal is to reach travelers by sharing the gospel through hospitality and love. One way they do this is by offering daily Bible studies and prayer times. People who attend range from believers to atheists to those who are curious but not yet committed. Although those attending were in different places spiritually, it was cool to see God softening hearts and opening eyes to his truth.

It was exciting to be part of a program where kids have a place to find their voices and learn they have the ability to change the status quo in a country where corruption is the norm. Viata is also exploring how to bring faith to the forefront in a way that shows kids their religion is not simply some cultural thing but rather something that is relevant to all parts of their life and development.


This summer I learned that my love for working with students transcends culture and that there are ways I can connect with students even if we don’t share the same language. Also, teaching kids about God can be done more effectively if it relates to the real world.

Elementary Education; Andover, MN

The other student volunteers taught me a lot about boldness. I loved living so closely with people my age who truly love God and have a desire to grow deeper in faith. Their examples of bold faith encouraged me and showed me what boldness really looks like.

RIGHT WORDS Before my SOS experience, I didn’t really know how to talk with strangers about Christ. It seemed so confusing, and I didn’t want to mess up or say the wrong thing. But after spending two months with people I didn’t know, I realized that sharing the gospel isn’t about saying the perfect words. God is real, and my identity is in him, so when I’m talking, the Holy Spirit will give me the words to say.

Youth Ministry/Christian Education; Platte, SD


PRAY NEW HORIZONS FOUNDATION is able to find a new location for Viata. The camp location is slowly being logged out by lumber companies and may need to move.

PRAY THE TRAVELERS who visit the hostel will be open and receptive to hearing God’s word and learning more about who God is. Pray their loneliness is replaced with a desire for belonging grounded in God’s truth and not in worldly pleasures.

Haley Muyskens (middle) and Anna Niessen (right)


Lucas Sander

Meredith Spicher

Greece | International Teams

Ireland | Dublin Christian Mission

Lucas interned with Helping Hands, an organization that serves refugees, many of them Muslim, in Athens. He helped serve meals, prepare for and clean up after events, and care for kids. The focus of Helping Hands is relationship building, and Lucas says that while he ministered through showing God’s love this summer, he got back even more than he gave.

Meredith served at one of DCM’s ministries, the Lighthouse, which serves people who are homeless. She helped serve food and distribute clothes while building relationships with Lighthouse guests, many of whom are struggling with drug or alcohol addiction.

Writing & Rhetoric; Newton, IA

Elementary Education; Belleville, PA


HANDS OF CHRIST At this very moment, Helping Hands is providing a place of peace in the middle of a busy city, in the midst of a terrifying refugee crisis. Staff members and volunteers are tearing down the walls and lies in these refugees’ lives—not by insulting their worldview or religion, but by demonstrating the undeniable love of God and the unshakeable faith that moves them to offer a helping hand.

DCM has been serving the people of Dublin since 1828. Many of the people who come into the Lighthouse might normally be passed by on the street because of how they look or because of the choices they have made, but the staff and volunteers at DCM see them as children of God and truly love them. They point them to Christ through forming relationships with them and encouraging them through prayer.



I’m different after this summer. There are things I don’t make light of any more: war in general and the oppression of women in many places around the world. There are also things I take less seriously, like cultural differences—we shouldn’t be afraid of those. I’ve grown more spiritual—not in a holier-than-thou sense but because God was the center of everything while I was in Greece this summer, so now I can’t help but see him everywhere. After witnessing God’s creation, his people and his work in Athens, I can’t move an inch without bumping into him.

While I was in Ireland, I was approached by one of the Lighthouse leaders. A previous drug dealer, he spent much of his life in prison before finding the Lord and turning his life over to service. He is one of the most spiritual people I know. He approached me and said, “You have a fire in you. I see the Holy Spirit in you, and I don’t see that very often.” That was affirmation I needed to know that the Spirit moves in me.

PRAY FOR ALL THOSE who have seeking hearts and for those whose hearts have yet to be drawn toward God. Pray the refugees will be spared from depression and other mental health issues caused by their uprooting, the separation of families, and the uncertainty of what to do next. Pray for the refugees with illnesses and injuries who struggle to be seen by doctors.

WHERE THERE’S [GOD’S] WILL, THERE’S A WAY This summer I realized more clearly than before that the Holy Spirit is always present and moving. He always shows up; never once does he leave us or fail us. The people at DCM have such incredible testimonies of overcoming addiction and other trials. They taught me that God will always provide for those who relentlessly seek him. They say, “If it’s of God, he will make a way.” That’s the life I want to live. PRAY FOR GOD’S PROVISION. Over this summer, I was constantly brought back to the story of Abraham and Isaac. Abraham was about to sacrifice his beloved son when God provided a ram instead. Many times we think we know what God has planned for us, but then he throws a wrench in our plans (thankfully!) and provides something even better than we could have imagined. I pray he will do that for DCM and for the people they serve.

Meredith Spicher

ht) ema (rig lt e J y e nd Jeffr r (left) a e d n a S Lucas


Kate Staab

MaKayla Tjernagel

Ghana | Luke Society

Pioneers | South Asia

Kate volunteered at a Luke Society hospital in Kasei. She was able to rotate through different medical units and gain experience taking vitals, giving meds, and starting IVs and NG tubes.

Pioneers places missionaries who teach English or run businesses in areas that are not open to the preaching of the gospel. In addition to learning the language, experiencing the culture and building relationships with the locals in the place she served, MaKayla also volunteered at a business startup founded by one of the Pioneers missionaries.

Nursing; Lincoln, NE

Elementary Education; Cáceres, Spain

HOLISTIC HEALTHCARE The ministry in Kasei is absolutely beautiful. The people there are receiving healthcare—which is rare in rural Ghana—and also receiving spiritual care. The hospital staff are on fire for the Lord, eager to share the gospel. They value and trust the power of God to do great things, such as heal people, and recognize that there are many different kinds of healing that people sometimes need.

RECEIVING MORE The Ghanaian people I served alongside ministered to me more than I did to them. They demonstrated the purest forms of love and joy I have ever seen and a beautiful and genuine desire and love for the Lord that transcends any obstacle this world tries to put up. I was honored to experience it firsthand.

ESSENTIAL MATTERS Among the SOS insights I am still grasping is that absolutely nothing matters outside of the love and death of Jesus Christ. Nothing. That is a freeing thought. I’m overwhelmed by it, and I’m thankful my eyes have been opened to that essential truth. I think it is giving me a new perspective on value and causing me to take some steps back and look at what I prioritize in this life. It has granted me a new sense of courage that I hope to apply in college, as a future nurse and even just as a person. PRAY FOR CONSTRUCTION to progress and supplies to be donated. Hospital staff are hoping to expand the pediatrics wing and add another wing. In addition to resources and supplies, they will also need more staff and housing for the staff. Pray their needs will be met by generous donors.

LEARNING PATIENCE God is teaching me patience and perseverance—especially patience in both afflictions and when everything seems OK. God is also teaching me that I alone am not enough to do his work. I need God to have the strength and energy to make it through the day. God taught me these things through the people I worked with. Every day they spoke truth into my life and encouraged me by pointing me to the only one who could help me in times where I felt tired, sad, disappointed and like a failure.

SUMMER LESSONS I’m more aware of what spiritual warfare is like. I have become more comfortable being vulnerable with others, sharing my struggles and frustrations. This summer I realized all the parts of my life that I’ve been holding onto with a tight grip, not wanting to give it to God. This awareness has deepened my relationship with Jesus and revealed a side of myself and of God that I had never seen before. PRAY THE BONDS and chains to the idols that the Hindi people worship are broken and that they are open to the gospel and great news of Jesus. Also, pray for more workers!

MaKay la Tjern agel

Kate is pictured on the cover.

Emily Weeks


Amy Tuttle

Standards of Excellence in Short-Term Mission

Social Work; Orange City, IA

Uruguay | Camino Global


Living with and serving alongside long-term missionaries, Amy focused on building relationships as a way to connect new friends to church and other ways to learn more about God. She made friends through assisting local churches, teaching free English classes and attending fitness classes at a neighborhood gym.

LONG-TERM MISSION Ministry moves very slowly in Uruguay because many non-believers regard Christianity with cynicism and distrust. Progress often appears insignificant, which means the long-term missionaries there are constantly in need of encouragement and prayer.

ON PURPOSE I learned that although life often seems unmanageable, random and out-of-control to me, it’s never that way to God. He sees the big picture and the finish line. My anxieties are unnecessary because all things work together for God’s purposes.

Northwestern College is committed to Standards of Excellence (SOE) in Short-Term Mission. The SOE criteria were developed by representatives from many U.S. mission agencies, schools and churches who send short-term missionaries. The common set of standards helps ensure that individuals or teams sent by U.S. organizations are excellent. Appropriate training, empowering partnerships, God-centeredness and debriefing are all components of SOE membership. As a member, Northwestern is serious about doing short-term mission well—from preparation through follow-up. Northwestern is a covenant member of the SOE. Look for the SOE seal on any mission literature you receive.




This summer I experienced incredible growth in my self-confidence. I feel better able to handle unanticipated changes and events, and I’m more aware and appreciative of the gifts God has given me that help me reach out to others. For example, I love art, but I’ve always considered it a hobby, nothing more. This summer God surprised me by using my love for painting to help me serve and connect with new people on a deeper level. It’s made me consider how I can use each gift God has given me to achieve his purposes. What other gifts have I been devaluing rather than using to honor God? PRAY GOD WILL OPEN the eyes of Uruguay’s upper class so they realize their wealth can’t buy them true hope and happiness—that these things only come through a relationship with Christ. Because they aren’t physically in need, they’re often blind to what’s missing in their lives. They feel hopeless and lost but don’t connect these feelings to spiritual poverty.

le (right) Amy Tutt


Madd ie God fredse n and

Rache l Merc er

Emma Van Meeteren

Biology–Health Professions; Sheldon, IA

Ecuador | International Teams As an intern at Hacienda El Refugio, Emma helped facilitate North American short-term mission teams. She led them through team-building exercises, took them through high- and low-ropes courses, worked on the property, built fires, and traveled to various ministry sites, including churches, schools and orphanages.

11-year-olds, to high schoolers, to parents and even some grandparents. Members of the groups I facilitated often shared incredible wisdom, making me feel incapable of leading them with wisdom of my own. Through these experiences I learned a lot about servant leadership, and a mentor reminded me that being a leader means being willing to learn from others.

FRESH VIEW The mission of El Refugio is to facilitate deeper relationships with Christ through nature and outdoor adventure. Before going to Ecuador and even in the early stages of my internship, I did not fully understand this mission and often doubted the amount of spiritual growth that can be experienced through nature and outdoor adventure. However, as the summer went on and I was constantly experiencing new aspects of God’s creation, I was amazed at how close I felt to God. From climbing mountains, to hiking through the jungle, to going on my first backpacking trip, God taught me the importance of knowing him through new perspectives.

PRAY EL REFUGIO will continue reaching children and that the seeds planted in them take root and grow. While hosting Vacation Bible School sessions and serving schools and churches in Ecuador, I met many kids who came to church alone. They had a desire to grow in their understanding of the Lord but no one at home to foster this growth.

SERVANT-TEACHING As a person who tends to lead more by example and often lacks boldness and confidence in my ability to guide others, I often felt inadequate and unqualified. The groups I facilitated ranged in age from

Emma Van Meeteren


Emily Weeks

Emily Wikner

Ireland | Dublin Christian Mission

Ecuador | International Teams

Emily volunteered in three ministries run by Dublin Christian Mission. She worked at the Lighthouse, a soup kitchen that aims not only to serve a good meal, but also to make guests feel like family. She learned to steam milk and make espresso at a coffee shop that both serves ministry clients and raises funds for DCM. And she participated in a three-day youth camping trip organized by DCM.

Emily volunteered for Quito Quest in the Quito neighborhood of Carmen Bajo. She worked in an afterschool program and served as a makeshift translator for teams of short-term volunteers. She also was a teacher’s assistant and, as she called herself, “a dish-drying English teacher.”

Elementary Education; Spencer, IA

STORY TIME After this summer, I am more willing to talk to people I don’t know. It’s not that I don’t enjoy talking to people, but before, I had always been hesitant when talking to strangers. But this summer, if I was to do ministry well, it was necessary to actually get to know these people I was serving among. Everyone has a story, but you can’t know their story unless you ask.

GOD’S PRESENT My patience was tested daily. Quite often talking to people was simply draining, especially since I’m very introverted and was constantly surrounded by a large number of people. But I was encouraged to look for God in each day, so I started to write the ways in which I was able to see God at work on sticky notes and put them on the wall above my bed. This daily decision to look for God reminded me that even when the days are long or something bad happens, God is still present. PRAY THE PEOPLE served by DCM don’t lose hope. It would be easy to do in their circumstances—many of them are trapped in vicious cycles of addiction. Some of the people who come to the soup kitchen can really push volunteers’ buttons, so also pray the Lighthouse volunteers remain as patient and loving as I witnessed them being during my time there.

Spanish; Cedar Falls, IA

GIVING BACK I was inspired by how involved the people of Carmen Bajo are in the ministry of the church. The church is currently under construction, and most, if not all, of the construction workers attend the church. I also got to hear the testimonies of young men in the church who grew up going to the afterschool center in Carmen Bajo and are now serving the church community.

COMPASSION CHILD One of the greatest shifts in my thinking happened after I visited the child I sponsor through Compassion. I understand that I’m doing something good by financially supporting part of her education and by sending her letters of encouragement, but now I understand that her biggest social support comes from her church, her tutors and her friends. It was such an honor to meet her and encourage her, and now I better understand the importance of the people who are constantly lifting her up on a day-to-day basis and can include them in my prayers for her. PRAY THE MINISTRY will find both the person and the funds to have a full-time English tutor for the students. Also pray the children will experience Christianity not just as something cultural, but as something that affects their whole lives. Pray they will understand the wonderful news of the gospel and faithfully take the Good News into their communities and the world.

Emily W ikner


(front right) and eredith Spicher M , e) dl id m t on Joshua Dahl (fr k right) Emily Weeks (bac

Live your faith at Northwestern Students’ growth as Christians is an essential part of a Northwestern education. It’s the reason our standard-setting campus ministry staff—including three seminary-trained pastors—provides many opportunities for students to encounter and impact God’s kingdom on campus and around the world.

Christian A Christian worldview is part of everything students experience on campus. In formation addition to regular worship, Bible studies and mission trips, we also offer Chris-

tian formation opportunities including retreats, spiritual practices instruction, and speakers, panels and discussions on topics relevant to today’s college students.

Weekly Diverse worship experiences on campus include chapel, prayer and student-led worship Praise + Worship on Sunday nights. Students can audition for worship teams that plan and lead worship on campus.

Discipleship Discipleship groups meet weekly on every residence hall wing or floor. Students say groups that participation in D-Groups increases their prayer life, their sense of belonging, their knowledge of the Bible, and their ability and motivation to live out their faith in the world.

Spring Service During spring break, more than 200 students serve in teams at ministry sites Partnerships around the world, including Haiti, Nicaragua and the Netherlands. Teams are led by students and a faculty or staff member and receive training ahead of time.

Summer of Each summer, around 20 students spend 6 to 10 weeks serving at an internationService al ministry site. Training is provided by experienced mission staff. Northwestern SOSers have served in 90+ countries.

Mission trips Athletic teams and performing arts groups complete mission projects and go on mission trips together.

Justice + service Justice and service ministry teams raise students’ awareness of the injustices of huministry man trafficking, food and shelter scarcity, and incarceration and inmate issues while providing ways to respond. Students visit prisons, package food, and serve people who have been marginalized.

In 2018, Northwestern was recognized as a best college for spiritual enrichment by Christianity Today International.



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