CU students aboard diverted flight share Niger, Africa mission trip experiences

CU students aboard diverted flight share Niger, Africa mission trip experiences

May 25, 2012
For Immediate Release

 

 
 From left, Megan Parson, Alexa Moore and Trent Creason spend time with the children in the village of Boubon in Niger, Africa. (Photo submitted)

By Christina L. Kern, office assistant

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky.—For some Campbellsville University students this was their first-ever mission trip, and for others it was even their first flight aboard an airplane. The 11-member team was aboard the US Airways flight diverted to Bangor, Maine when a woman said she had a device implanted inside her.

Amidst the chaos of the media attention from this story, however, Campbellsville University sees the real story of their mission experiences in Niger, Africa. Nine students and two staff members delivered the Gospel and painted seven school buildings in the village of Boubon.

 
 John Harbold, left, and Kevin Metzger
celebrate with children after winning a game
of Foosball. (Photo submitted)

Tyler Tucker, a freshman of Greensburg, Ky., is one of those students who had never been on a mission trip or a plane until this trip. “I expected there to be a large amount of poverty and trash, but I was blown away by how much there actually was,” Tucker said. “There were mounds up to 8-feet tall of solid trash along the side of the road.”

Tucker said the children stood out the most to him. “They had never really known love and attention because it is not common to hear parents compliment their children there. They hung around us because we played with them and loved it.”

Tucker said “it broke my heart when we had to leave” and he wanted to give them everything he had. He did leave a large amount of his clothes behind for the missionaries to share with the children.

“The trip opened my eyes to the real world poverty, and I very much wish to go back.”

 
 Alexa Moore holds a baby on a mission trip
to Niger Africa. This was her first mission
trip. (Photo submitted)

Alexa Moore, a sophomore of Clarksville, Tenn., also said one thing she will take away from the trip is the poverty level. “Every day it’s a struggle to survive. It really makes you appreciate everything that you have,” she said. “You can watch movies and try to understand and picture it, but once you’re there and living with them, it’s a totally different picture.”

Moore said it was “eye-opening to see that part of the world. The main focus, of course, was to try to share the Gospel with the people… a lot of them had never even heard who Jesus was.”

The team witnessed a Muslim man accept Christ and be publicly baptized. After this, Moore said, “A lot of people in the village then knew why we were there, and then didn’t want to talk to us, but the little kids would follow us everywhere. We did a lot of VBS stuff with them. We told them stories from the Bible and sang Jesus songs.”

Haley Probus, a sophomore of Lebanon, Ky., said the trip “really changes your world view to see how people live on so little.”

“Our translator laid out our leftovers (for the children) and they literally fought for a handful of rice,” she said. “It really shows you how lucky we are in America to have food to eat for every meal when they barely have enough for one meal a day.”

 
 John Harbold spends time with the children
in Niger. (Photo submitted)

This was Probus’ first international mission trip and first time to share the Creation to Christ story, she said. “I feel like some people we shared with really believed what we were saying but would not say it out loud because they did not want to be shunned by their community.”

The music major also had the opportunity of teaching a music lesson on rhythm in a classroom with the director of the school in Boubon.

Many of the students say they already want to go back to Africa soon. John Harbold, who graduated from CU May 5, said, “Being on this mission trip (his fourth international mission trip) reiterates my calling into mission… God has placed missions on my heart, and I can’t wait to be back in Africa!”

Harbold and Kevin Metzger, who also graduated May 5, are making plans to return to Africa next spring if they aren’t attending medical school at that time.

Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with more than 3,500 students offering 63 undergraduate options, 17 master’s degrees, five postgraduate areas and eight pre-professional programs. The athletic department fields 25 varsity programs in 15 sports. The websites for complete information is campbellsville.edu and campbellsvilletigers.com.
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