Action team backpacking through the Himilayas
Action team backpacking through the Himilayas

You've Been Served: Summer Action Teams

by Micaela Ricaforte '20

While most college students spend their time off from school relaxing, many APU students use their summer breaks to serve God’s people on missions trips and action teams around the world.

In addition to Christ, scholarship, and community, service is one of the four cornerstones that represent the university's foundation. “Each year as we send students all over the world, it reminds us of how APU began as the Training School for Christian Workers,” said Karen Rouggly, M.A., director of mobilization at the Center for Student Action (CSA). Through serving others, our students encounter the Gospel in new ways, find out more about themselves, and see each other through God’s eyes.”

Throughout the summer, 20 teams of students traveled to 18 countries, where they taught English, led music and youth camps, worked in medical clinics, coded for open-source medical record systems, hiked to remote places, encouraged families who are raising orphans, and helped non-profit organizations.

Raechel Chen ’18 co-led her action team through the foothills of the Himalayas. “There are so many unreached people groups in the valley. As we traveled along, I was humbled to realize we were some of the first Christians to step foot in this region,” Chen said. Her team interacted with the residents and prayed over the area. “The people of the valley have such a rich culture and tradition. I pray that it will be incorporated into how they praise Jesus someday and that they would come to know the Father as their own.”

Chen recently graduated from APU’s international business program, and said that this experience has increased her passion for global and local ministry. “I’m praying about returning in the future, because I feel there is more work to be done,” she said.

Jasmine Kolano ’18 also participated in the Himalayan action team. “I was challenged to share the love of Christ with a people so deeply rooted in traditional Buddhism. Yet, the sunrises every morning reminded me of God’s providence and assured me that just as light cannot be contained, Christ's love in our hearts would overflow into our encounters.”

Kolano reflected about an interaction her team had with a Himalayan woman volunteering at a local monastery. “We saw that she had to move a dozen large flower pots on her own so we offered to help, and she shared her story with us. She was seeking answers to life's big questions. Midway through our conversation with her, she looked at our team and said, ‘You each are aglow with light.’ We thanked her, and in our hearts we thanked God for opening her eyes to His Spirit within us.”

“Before we left, I told her that the Bible has answers to her questions, and that she could begin by reading the Gospel of John. She smiled, and told me with a glimmer in her eyes that her birthday was on December 25, which was her way of saying that she knows of Jesus. We praised God for that simple and sweet interaction. It reminded us that God is faithful and gave us hope knowing that His name is reaching even the most remote regions.”

To hear more stories and learn more about action teams, visit the Center for Student Action.

Micaela Ricaforte is a public relations intern in the Office of University Relations. She is a double major in journalism and honors humanities.