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712-707-7207 | nwciowa.edu/faith
“I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live …” Ezekiel 37:14a
, s d n e i r f Dear For 35 years we have sent students all over the world to serve with Northwestern mission partners. When they return each August, I hear stories of how their service has impacted their faith and enhanced their learning. I also hear from our mission partners how our students have been meaningfully involved in their ministries. In tangible ways, these students fulfill Northwestern’s mission of “pursuing God’s redeeming work in the world.” I thank God for our long history of mission engagement at Northwestern College. Our commitment to enable students’ short-term mission experiences sets them on a trajectory for lives that include service and ministry to glory of God. This summer, 14 Northwestern students embraced the challenge and privilege of participating in God’s work around the world through the Summer of Service program. They saw the beauty of God’s work in the world—and also witnessed tragedy firsthand. They encountered extreme poverty, refugees fleeing violence, orphans desperate for parents, and many who are sick or injured with inadequate healthcare available to them. They also encountered amazing people and ministries that serve in these places each and every day. In these settings, Northwestern students worked alongside national missionaries, volunteering in refugee centers, hospitals, churches and orphanages. We pray these experiences will inspire all of them to live more deeply devoted, mission-oriented lives wherever God leads them. The SOS team members went and were eye witnesses to God’s redemptive work in the world. Now, in the following pages, they bear witness to that work in the world and in their lives. Thank you for your investment in these students, as well as in the lives of those they touched with the love of Christ and the power of the cross.
Patrick Hummel Director of Missions
Since 1981, more than 650 Northwestern College students have spent 6 to 10 weeks serving as short-term missionaries through Summer of Service (SOS). They have served on six continents and in 100 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 Brazil, Peru, Haiti, India, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Papua New Guinea, Romania, Ireland, Spain and Uganda to serve with mission partners including the Luke Society, International Teams, Pioneers, Wycliffe and the Reformed Church in America. They have worked in hospitals, orphanages, schools, churches 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. More than 50 Summer of Service alumni have served as missionaries after graduation—some for a year or two, others for a lifetime—participating in community development, English teaching, evangelism, healthcare delivery, and translation and aiding 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.
nwciowa.edu/faith | 712-707-7190 2
s r a m r e t s i u Dani D Sociology Orange City, IA
Ireland | Dublin Christian Mission As a summer intern for Dublin Christian Mission (DCM), Dani worked mostly with the Lighthouse, DCM’s outreach to people who are homeless. In addition to serving food, giving out clothing and building relationships, she also began teaching a woman how to play violin during the Lighthouse’s weekly art and music classes. After Dani left, another volunteer was able to take over the violin lessons.
Lost and found My SOS experience challenged and even broke me in ways I didn’t expect. At times I felt like I had no idea who I was, and it scared me. I was frustrated when I felt distant from God. I felt like God wasn’t always listening to me. So I looked for him in his word and learned I was the one who needed to work on our relationship in ways I hadn’t experienced before. Even now, it makes such a difference when I take time to be with God compared to those times when I feel like I can go a day without him.
Prayed upon During one of the times I was feeling discouraged, I was on a phone call with my mom, and she told me my church had been praying for me every Sunday. It was one of the first times I felt genuinely comforted by knowing someone was praying for me. I felt relieved. I felt encouraged.
Prayer repair One of the things I realized this summer is how important it is to have real relationships with the people you are serving among. First I need to focus on my relationship with God, and then I’m better able to love others through him. Even so, there were days it felt like time would drag on forever, and I didn’t feel up to interacting with God’s people. On those days, I stopped and prayed for help, and God filled me with love for the people I was meeting and had yet to meet.
DCM is exploring adding a program for children and teens who live in areas of the city where drug and crime rates are high. Pray the high level of seeming interest will be accompanied by the funds and resources necessary to actually launch the program. Also pray the hearts of people in Dublin, which are somewhat jaded toward religion because of Ireland’s religiously contentious past, will be softened and open to Christ.
Clayton Eh lers
Christian education/youth ministry Albert City, IA
The Netherlands | Shelter Youth Hostels Clayton volunteered with Shelter Youth Hostels, an organization that seeks to provide Christian hospitality to travelers from around the world. Alongside other Christian volunteers, Clayton worked in the hostel café and staffed the reception desk. He also participated with hostel guests in Bible discussions and meditation in the hostel community room in the evenings.
Made for community The three tenants of youth hostel ministry are to practice hospitality, participate in community, and pursue hearts for Jesus. I worked at all three tenants throughout the summer, but I really excelled at community. Being an extrovert and living among 35 Christian volunteers from around the world was amazing. I participated in community very passionately.
Miracles do happen I started on my trip this summer expecting God to work miracles. But I was partway through my experience before I realized that while that’s what I expected, I wasn’t doing anything myself—I wasn’t acting or working like miracles were going to happen. God works miracles in us, through us and around us every day, and it changes how we act if we truly believe that.
Crazy ways In hostel ministry, it is hard to see how God is working in the lives of the guests because you get to know them for a couple of days, and then they leave. It was exciting to have meaningful conversations with them, no matter how short the time was, but what I really enjoyed was being part of the community of volunteers at the hostel. We shared our lives and together pursued better relationships with God. I started the summer hoping God would do crazy things through me. While he may have done that; I found that he also did crazy work in me.
Pray that God will continue to show himself through the Shelter Youth Hostel volunteers. Pray the volunteers will be strengthened for difficult shifts and given courage and wisdom for hard conversations with guests. Pray the guests will have open and receptive hearts to the volunteers’ Christ-like hospitality and friendship.
r le il m h t u G y e s Ca Exercise science Orange City, IA
Central Asia | Pioneers Pioneers places volunteers in areas of the world that are unreached by the gospel. While the volunteers are precluded from overt evangelizing, their goal is to build relationships as a context within which conversations about faith and Christianity might happen. Casey traveled to a country in central Asia to lead sports camps (baseball, kickball and Frisbee) and teach English. He also helped build a chicken coop and rode horse through the mountains.
Loving family My favorite thing this summer was living with a Muslim host family of nine. It was so much fun to get to know them and hang out with them daily. They were exceptionally loving toward us.
Relative comforts After my summer experience, I try to be more grateful now. It’s a cliché, but what one really needs in terms of material things truly is a matter of perspective. I’ve been working on not taking things for granted and noting everything I’m thankful for like, running water and a comfortable bed. My priorities have experienced a big shift from being focused on worldly success to being focused on eternal things and how I can live a life that glorifies God.
Out-of-box God I have a larger sense of awe for God and how he works. I’m trying to avoid boxing God in with how I imagine and experience him, as he showed me this summer he’s much more powerful and mysterious than I understood.
Pray for the hearts of my Muslim host family. Missionaries in the area where I served have noticed their interest in Christianity continues to increase slightly as they host Pioneers volunteers and come into contact with Christians. My host family is well known in their community, and other families would definitely take notice if they ever publically converted to Christianity.
Spanish Alton, IA
Ghana | Luke Society During her medical internship at a Luke Society hospital in the village of Kasei, Skyler participated in morning devotions with the medical staff before rotations in various departments: emergency, maternity, surgery, the clinic and the pharmacy. When not at the hospital, she built relationships and played with the children in the village.
Birth of curiosity Most exciting was witnessing my first birth. I was in awe over the process of procreation and the miracle of life. I was thoroughly intrigued with what the human body is capable of and inspired to learn more.
Personal lessons Each person I met in Ghana loved me and taught me something. Karlie, a team member from another college, taught me what it means to listen and go with the flow. Dr. Jerome reminded me of who I want to be by asking tough questions and challenging me in my relationships with God, family and friends. He pointed out what potential he saw in me. Isaac was genuine and good and showed me the true meaning of devotion and vulnerability.
Helpful insight Godâ€™s plan for my summer was different than mine; Iâ€™m still trying to figure it all out completely. Looking back, I realize that I expected to be helpful at the hospital, but I think I slowed the staff down more than I assisted them. Nonetheless, the patience and love they showed as they stopped their work and took the time to explain and demonstrate things for me was an insight into the beautiful people I was blessed to work alongside.
The Kasei hospital is adding a pediatric ward, so pray they will receive financial and material support. Pray also for the medical staff, that they will remain strong and resilient. Pray that the daily devotions at the hospital will speak Godâ€™s word and love to both believers and non-believers.
e w o H a ic s s e J Nursing Orange City, IA
Southeast Asia | Pioneers Pioneers sends volunteers to areas unreached by the gospel. As a member of a Pioneers volunteer team, Jessica lived with three different families in three villages. She taught English, cared for children and helped farm alongside her host family and new friends as she waited for the Holy Spirit to present opportunities—within the context of relationships—to share the good news of Jesus Christ.
Rooted in community It was amazing to see what deep relationships could be formed in such a short time and despite language, cultural and religious barriers. Our hosts were really a family to us, loving on us. Friendships developed quickly and became very important.
Known alone The missionary we worked with and my team members were wonderful, but I still felt lonely and misunderstood on occasion this summer, which surprised me. Nonetheless, this was a good thing for me because I had to rely on God like never before. I grew in my ability to pour my heart out to him and to feel known and completely understood by him because God has no communication barriers. He knew just how to reach me.
Heart smart Many of the things I learned about God this summer were concepts I already knew and understood in my head, but now they are heart knowledge. God really will provide all we need in every situation. God is emotional and feels and hurts for people more than we ever could. I learned that although I’ve left southeast Asia, God is still there, working among the people. I learned it’s a privilege to be weak because then I get myself out of the way and God can use me. God is not a God of scarcity but of lavish love and abundance—even if there are people who haven’t noticed it yet. I have a new vision and overwhelming joy for participating in God’s mission for me and for the world.
The area in which I served has hundreds of villages and thousands of UUPGs (unreached, unengaged people groups) and few missionaries. Pray that more workers will have a heart for southeast Asia and that the eyes and hearts of more people in southeast Asia will be opened to the need for Jesus.
r e n t u a L h a n n Ha Elementary education Larimore, ND
Southeast Asia | Pioneers Pioneers sends volunteers to areas considered unreached by the gospel. As a member of a Pioneers volunteer team, Hannah worked alongside long-term missionaries who offer adventure trips as a way to bring Christians into the area. She also lived with families in three villages, immersing herself in her hosts’ family life and culture and hoping to plant seeds that might come to fruition in the future.
Family dynamics God placed me with a hilarious host Mom, Dad and sister. I found it so easy to relate with them and live with them, even though we had different languages and beliefs. I ended up learning enough of the language to be conversational by the end of the summer. At the same time, it was humbling to be so culturally illiterate. I had to rely on my host family and friends to help me out with the simplest daily tasks.
Revelation It was a little intimidating to realize that the people we were befriending had most likely never heard anything about Jesus or his love. It made me anxious because I didn’t want to mess up or share the wrong thing or give someone a false impression of God. Feeling that way, I learned to really trust that they weren’t my words but God speaking through me—not my actions but God showing himself through me.
Stop and listen Since returning, I sometimes feel guilty that I went to share with others, and yet I feel like it’s me who grew so much spiritually. I learned how important prayer is—giving every single situation to God, even if I’m fairly certain I already know the answer. Before I left on my SOS trip, I asked God to show me how to be simply at peace in his presence without having to be busy all the time. God showed me time and time again through devotions and prayer that time with God is essential in order to spread his word in a new place.
God is working in the region where I served this summer, but’s it’s still a very spiritually dark place. Pray more missionaries will be called to serve in areas where there is little follow-up or support for new believers who come to Christ through the work of Pioneers. Pray the families I stayed with will be blessed and that any seeds of God’s grace planted in them will be nurtured and grow.
Brianna Petrausk as Public relations Castle Rock, CO
Greece | International Teams Brianna worked for an Athens organization that serves refugees, offering them meals and a shower. Her team also visited refugee camps near Athens, taking families for a day at the beach and attending Bible studies with new believers.
Selflessness While helping with programming for some of the refugee children, I connected with two sisters, ages nine and six. We had a birthday party and played with dolls, and I noticed they never fought with each other. Neither would accept a piece of candy or other treat unless something was offered to both. They’d already experienced such tragedy in their short lives, but they were so selfless with each other. It was beautiful to see.
Meaningful moments Ministry among refugees is challenging because of the revolving-door nature of their situations. I’d establish meaningful relationships with refugee friends, and soon many of them would move on to other countries. I never knew when the time I spent with them might be our last. I felt the pressure of making the most of every moment so I’d have a chance to let them know how much they are loved.
Conversion stories I was filled with joy as I saw God work through the long-term missionaries to bring people who were Muslim to Christ. I felt like I was witnessing years of mission work come to fruition as there were more than 20 baptisms in two months.
Falling in love This summer I learned there is a difference between loving Jesus and being in love with Jesus. Pursuing an intimate relationship with Jesus, falling in love with him is still a bit hard for me to grasp, but I’m learning.
Many of the Athens refugees are Muslim. Pray they will receive visions of Jesus. Pray also the missionaries serving the refugees will remain healthy and that those who want to continue ministry in the area will be able to obtain their visas.
Cai t lin Por ter Theatre Lake Mills, IA
Denver | Open Door Ministries Caitlin spent the summer as a student in the Denver Urban Semester and as an intern with Open Door Ministries. In addition to taking classes about urban living and issues, she and her fellow interns led groups of middle and high school students in activities designed to help them experience and understand poverty and homelessness.
Modern miracle Some of the activities we led with the kids were a poverty scavenger hunt, sock and water bottle outreach in downtown Denver, and a trip via public transportation to a more ethnically diverse part of the city. One of the most exciting things that happened this summer was hearing about a miracle that happened as we were giving out water bottles and granola bars to people who are homeless. One team had put all their allotted water bottles in one bag, and each time they were sure they must be out—that they’d given out so many bottles—they’d reach in and find one more. The story sounded like a modern day feeding of the 5,000!
Growing season This summer I grew in confidence and leadership ability. I became more open and vulnerable than before. I’ve become more thoughtful and sensitive to the needs of those around me, even if I don’t always have the answers for how to meet those needs. (I’ve also become more comfortable being in new places and learning how to live and function there—which is great because I moved to Denver this fall!)
Royal watcher Something I tried to do each week was look for God sightings. I was part of the Northwestern theatre department, and we read stories from Tales of the Kingdom by Karen and David Maines. One of their stories called “Sighting Day” is one of my favorites. In it the main character, Hero, is learning to play the game “seek the King.” Since hearing that story, I’ve taken to trying to “seek the King” or watch for God sightings.
Pray the 14 ministries that are part of Open Door Ministries will continue to have the personnel and resources to serve people who are poor in urban Denver. Pray also for the homeless people in Denver and in so many other communities—that they will find adequate food and shelter each day as well as people who will be friendly and kind to them.
e c i R y z z i L Christian education/youth ministry Grimes, IA
Spain | International Teams lizzystayinggrounded.blogspot.com Lizzy volunteered at Pilgrim House, a center with services like laundry and WiFi for pilgrims who walk Spain’s Camino de Santiago. In addition, in order to relate better with the pilgrims, Lizzy also spent seven days walking a total of 155 kilometers, an experience she says enabled honest conversations and great global connections. She even met four seminary students from Iowa who were making the pilgrimage!
Jesus’ feet I started my trek enthusiastically, but before long my feet were in agony. At night I spent what felt like an eternity unwrapping bandages, peeling off blister protectors, and hobbling to the nearest pharmacy. I had to use athletic training skills learned from my NWC roommates to bandage the most awkward parts of the human foot. Every step I breathed a prayer for healing. As I continued to trek through dirt and over rocks and cow droppings, my dirty, sunburned, calloused feet changed. They literally became what I imagine a first century disciple’s feet might look (and smell) like. I had been praying to be more like Jesus, but I never imagined that would involve losing a toenail.
Pilgrims’ journey I’ve often heard a common Christian saying: to pick up one’s cross and carry it. With every painful step on the Camino, I understood that better. I think picking up one’s cross probably looks a lot like a sweaty pilgrim tightening her dusty shoes, slinging on her worn and heavy pack, strapping it tight around her waist, whispering a little prayer for strength, and starting to walk, aiming for the end goal and a welcome that includes the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Marks that remain I have a few scars left over from the blisters this summer, but more lasting than that is what I learned about fulltime mission work—what it really means to move into a neighborhood and connect with people. As I remember my time at Pilgrim House, I’m still learning who God is and how to live with a servant’s heart every day.
Pilgrim House just celebrated its two-year anniversary. As a new ministry, it’s still growing and changing, and I’d ask that you pray God will guide and give wisdom to the Pilgrim House team and leaders. Also pray the pilgrims who rest at the house will find a listening ear and feel the love of Christ.
Alison Schutt Biology-health professions Alton, IA
Ghana | Luke Society During her medical mission experience at a Luke Society hospital in the village of Kasei, Alison worked alongside medical staff in various departments: maternity, surgery, general ward and the pharmacy.
Not the lead role I grew a lot this summer in my trust for God and his timing and plan for my life. Often I wasn’t in control of what I’d be doing or when I’d be doing it, which made me, a planner, very nervous. I had to loosen my grip on control of my life and let God direct my plans. I also learned that it’s much better to play a small part in a grand story than to star in a small production. I admit that I often behave as though I am the protagonist in life. Anyone who crosses me is a villain, and it’s a great tragedy when my plans don’t work out. This summer God reminded me that in this wide world, I’m not the star. God is both the star and the director of a story he wrote. My privilege is simply to play a part.
Love letters Before we left, each of us SOS team members received a book of letters and pictures from people back home. Mine made me feel loved and supported and is one of my favorite things from the trip.
The Luke Society hospital in Kasei has many material needs; pray these are met with donations of money and medical equipment. Pray also that construction progresses on the hospital’s new maternal and children’s wings, as well as on housing for the hospital employees and teachers.
Taylor Ste phens
Biology-health professions Colorado Springs, CO
Ghana | Luke Society During her six weeks at the St. Luke’s hospital in Kasei, Taylor rotated through various medical departments, including the general and outpatient wards, maternity, surgery, emergency, lab and pharmacy.
Good medicine Every hospital department presented unique and ample learning opportunities for me. In the general ward, the nurses took time in the midst of their busy patient loads to teach me basic things such as drawing up medications and giving injections. In the pharmacy, technicians taught me how to fill prescriptions, count medications, and even managed to sneak in lessons about drug mechanisms. In maternity, I learned to feel for a fetus’ position in the womb, how to perform pre- and postnatal care for mothers and, best of all, how to deliver a baby. Perhaps my favorite learning experiences, however, occurred in surgery, learning to set up sterile surgical trays, caring for anxious patients and even performing a suture or two. 12
Victoria Stokes Nursing Orange City, IA
Denver | Mile High Ministries Victoria was confirmed in her decision to pursue a nursing career as she volunteered at a hospital and ministry in Denver. Working with a lead nurse, she helped improve a hospital wing and cared for patients. She also worked at Hope House with teenaged mothers and their children.
Feeling blessed Every day this summer, there was a gentleman on the corner near where I lived, standing on the side of the road with a cardboard poster that read, “Have a good day.” I learned he had been homeless for four years. He never asked for money or anything else, just smiled and blessed those around him. He inspired me to be a blessing in whatever circumstances I find myself too.
Broken hearted I have always enjoyed the feeling of being productive, so it was a challenge to sometimes be unproductive this summer—to be content and peaceful in un-busy moments. Beyond activity, I learned to rest in God’s peace and seek God’s love amidst brokenness. We fail, but God’s love is unfailing. I learned, when I see brokenness, to not be angry with God, but to try to understand society’s role and my own role. I feel like I see both the world’s brokenness and my own mission more clearly.
Mission minded Since this summer, God continues to soothe my questioning heart and anxious mind about the future. He reassures me he is in control and continues to whisper in my heart that he has big plans for me—and that we are just getting started. Pray that Mile High Ministries and the Denver Urban Semester—which connects college-aged volunteers with the ministry—will continue to be a place where students like me have the chance to grow and develop open minds and hearts.
Good memories As amazing as my time in the hospital was, the things that stand out in my mind have nothing to do with medicine. Most memorable are the wonderful friends and beautiful customs. The craziness of the market, the ecstatic church dancing, the kids playing soccer and the Ghanaian cooking lessons.
Enlarged heart I knew, without a doubt, that I would get great medical experience in Ghana, but I never guessed living in Kasei for six weeks would transform my world—the things I saw, the people I met, the chances I was given. My heart is overcome with joy for the memories I’ve made and burdened with a longing to return to a place that became home to me. I’m forever grateful to those family members, friends and supporters who enabled me to have this experience.
Pray there will be better cooperation between the Ghanaian government and the Luke Society Clinic—that the government will make timely payment on the clinic patients’ insurance claims.
Courtney Tu cker Social work Winterset, IA
Uganda | Sovereign Wings of Hope Courtney traveled with a medical hospice staff in Uganda, assessing patients suffering with incurable illnesses such as cancer and HIV/AIDS. She says, “My presence with them was an opportunity to simply be Christ’s love and pray with them in their evident pain. While God sometimes answered these prayers and healed people physically, more often God used me to intercede for greater spiritual healing in the lives of many Ugandans.”
Healing touch While visiting patients every day was rewarding, the daily experience of hearing local Ugandan languages and only being able to guess at what was going on was difficult. It was challenging to want to be fully immersed in the cultural dialogue and activity going on around me, yet sometimes only being able to smile and pray for patients in English. Yet God taught me patience, and that his love and healing power transcends all language and culture barriers.
Holistic care One of the most surprising opportunities I had was to help Hospice Jinja start a psychosocial program for their ministry. While the hospice had a solid medical staff, they desired to offer more holistic services, so when they discovered I was a social work student, they asked me to develop a program for them. Feeling totally unprepared and having not even graduated from my own program, my efforts to fulfill their request was only by God’s grace and wisdom. After a month, a very basic program had been written, the staff had been oriented, and God answered my prayer for a local volunteer to come and take over what I had begun.
Seeking souls Our God is a God of unconditional, passionate and intimate love. God relentlessly, daily pursues his people. My time in Uganda this summer revealed to me that missions is simply the fusion of two kinds of people: those who have been personally changed by this all-powerful love and those who have yet to experience God’s life-changing gift of radical love and grace.
Poverty was all around me all the time in Uganda. Physically, there are incurable illnesses everywhere. Materially, people do not even have basics such as daily bread and water. Spiritually there is ignorance of God or anger toward God. Pray God will reach hearts and call people to meet unmet physical, material and spiritual needs among the people of Uganda.
Marissa Wiese Elementary education Orange City, IA
Eastern Europe | Pioneers Pioneers sends volunteers to areas considered unreached by the gospel. Marissa participated in Pioneers’ relationshipbased ministry in three locations this summer. She had opportunities to form friendships with locals as they taught her about their language, culture and history.
Place of worship In the first town I stayed in, we participated in a church dedication, which was a huge event in this community that had been without a public place of worship for so long. More than 60 believers from across the country came to praise and worship.
New in Christ I met a friend and her family who had become believers and been baptized within the past two months. Having coffee in their home, talking about life and praying together was an incredible experience. Their joy and enthusiasm for spreading God’s good news was contagious. It was a joy to encourage them and be inspired by them as brothers and sisters in Christ.
Great Commission I have a new perspective on the Great Commission and the need for multiplying disciples. There is a new urgency in my heart for the unreached. After my summer experience, I understand what a blessing comfort is—and also how important discomfort is for increasing our dependence on Jesus.
Pray more Christians will be called to serve in areas unreached by the gospel. The area I volunteered in suffers from high unemployment. Pray jobs will be created for the people living there and for Christian workers who could then live and work in the area. Pray for reconciliation in this area that has suffered genocide and religious strife.
101 7th St. SW Orange City, IA 51041
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in e c n e ll e c x E f o s Standard n io s is M m r e T Short 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 wellâ€”from preparation through follow-up. Northwestern is a covenant member of the SOE. Look for the SOE seal on any mission literature you receive.