Adelaide and her global engagement team posing in Greece

Adelaide Towne ’26, a sociology major, spent three weeks serving in Greece on a Global Engagement trip through the Office of Service and Discipleship this summer. She deepened her faith by connecting with people through engaging acts of fellowship. 

Why did you choose Greece for your Global Engagement trip?

I chose Greece because when I looked at the description of what work we’d be doing there and met the leaders it felt like the right fit for me. What stood out the most was that the heart of the trip was very people-focused, allowing me to care for others in different capacities.

How did you serve on the trip?

We partnered with an international Christian student organization that does outreach on college campuses around the world putting on events for students to gather, enjoying food and good conversations. We also worked with anti-human trafficking organizations to learn about their ministry and help with any logistical needs. For example we helped Threads of Hope, a nonprofit that employs women who were formerly exploited, teaching them to sew. We did a prayer walk with another organization in the red light district, which was challenging to face, but it was such a unique opportunity to discover what Christians are doing around the world to serve others. Lastly, we partnered with One Collective to participate in relational ministry with refugee populations, such as having art days with teens, taking them to the beach, and overall creating fun experiences for them. 

What were a few highlights of the trip?

There were so many things! It felt like there was a new highlight every day, but some of my favorite memories include witnessing a beautiful monastery at the end of a hike with refugee teens. We were going to have a picnic but it started to rain, so we sat underneath some ancient ruins and ate inside. There were olive trees right outside and we all got to enjoy being together in such a beautiful place. We played a lot of games and connected despite the language barrier. 

What was the dynamic like on your team?

If I had to choose one word to describe my team, it would be sweetness. There were seven girls and myself. It was so fun to spend time together and play Bananagrams every night. We all got along really well and there was a lot of laughter. Our team also had really good conversations and debriefed about the things that were hard to witness. 

How did you see God move on the trip?

He moved in so many different ways! The biggest thing for me was seeing God show up in every person I met there. I saw how near He is to His people. God is close to the brokenhearted, the needy, and the oppressed. Despite the heavy things we learned, I left that trip feeling incredibly hopeful. 

How did you grow personally and spiritually?

Seeing the passion and calling through so many different people, especially those working for One Collective, sparked something in me that I’ll continue to explore. In general, I learned to seek to understand people before wanting to be understood. Observing Christians pour themselves into others and gain so much life out of doing so was encouraging. I want to live my life that way, leaning into relationships and serving others. 

Would you recommend Global Engagement trips to other students? What advice would you give them?

Definitely! It’s not just an experience that will change your life, but the transformation you experience will impact others tremendously. It will make you a stronger follower of Christ, which makes a difference in the lives you touch. In terms of advice, I’d say to be adaptable. Be prepared for things not going the way you expected it to.

Service is one of APU’s four cornerstones. What does service mean to you?

Service means seeing and understanding other people, forgetting about yourself for a little bit. It’s showing up to do the work God has asked you to do. When you’re leaning into who He created you to be, that is the best form of service because it’s not coming out of any selfish motive. Service shouldn’t be something you check off a box. It’s what God is calling you to do.

All APU undergraduate students serve 120 hours over the course of four years. There are many opportunities during the school year and during the summer to serve both locally and globally. Learn more about Global Engagement trips here or by emailing [email protected].