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Gateway to World Service

Simpson University educates Christian workers for the home and foreign fields

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Simpson University’s motto “Gateway to World Service” is embodied through the passion of its students, faculty, and staff. Together they serve locally, nationally, and internationally by participating in the university’s WorldSERVE student missions program and Strike Teams ministry.

For more than 20 years, students have participated in spring and summer missions/service trips. More than 1,700 students have traveled to 71 countries across five continents to share Christ’s love in practical ways by participating in a variety of activities. They have ministered to the homeless, planted churches, played sports, and helped with after-school programs, community outreaches, and building projects.

Gateway to World Service
Team members receive hugs from Taiwanese students.

Dannielle Stahly, coordinator for student missions, believes the WorldSERVE program benefits students by helping them experience another culture.

“Whether they remain in the United States or travel internationally, they experience another way of life and expression of the global church,” she says. “These experiences allow them to encounter their understanding of God, the Bible, and their role in partnering with God in mission.”

The roots of Simpson’s student missions program date back to the university’s days as a Bible institute, founded by The Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA) to educate “Christian workers for the home and foreign fields.” Throughout Simpson’s history, its students have been encouraged to take time during their college years to travel the world, helping in orphanages, churches, camps, and other ministries.

A Shared Purpose

A unique feature of the WorldSERVE program is its ability to unify the campus by bringing together various student groups.

“Many students have said they loved meeting and serving with students from other areas of the campus who they would not have easily gotten to know otherwise,” Dannielle says. “The team experience is a great way for students to learn how to depend on others and see others use their strengths.”

Faculty and staff members play a key role in the WorldSERVE program by training and mentoring team leaders, fund-raising, and sometimes traveling with their teams. The Board of Trustees also plays an active part in student missions by praying, hosting, and financially supporting team members.

Love Is a Verb

Sophomore Kelsie Jurin participated in her first WorldSERVE trip last summer. She was part of a 10-member team that traveled to Chile and helped long-term workers and church leaders with a building project.

Gateway to World Service
Team Mexico members visit with a lady at the shelter.

“My favorite part of my trip was seeing how God is already moving in the hearts of the people in Chile,” she says. “A lot of times when we think of missions work, we think of sharing the gospel and preaching, but one of the things I learned was how we can share the love of Jesus through our actions.”

Kelsie said her favorite part of WorldSERVE was being involved with others who shared a purpose in ministering to others.

“I loved getting to be in community with a group of people that all have a heart for God and sharing His love in other cultures,” she says. “It was very humbling to serve alongside so many amazing people and realize that Jesus can use me in multiple ways, whether that be washing dishes or sharing my testimony. It was really nice learning that God doesn’t have to use me, but He wants to.”

Committed to Serve

Students share on campus each fall about the impact the trips have had on their lives and walk with the Lord. For some, the experiences become life-changing. In 1994, Jenny (O’Leary ’96) Kelly served at an orphanage camp in Ukraine during a student missions trip. She returned to Ukraine after graduation and cofounded two homes for orphanage graduates. She met her husband there, and they opened a Ukrainian Christian camp for orphans and at-risk youth.

Rachel (Jump ’08) Machava traveled to Mozambique during her time as a student. She returned after graduation and continues to work with Iris Ministries, serving girls ages 5 to 18.

In addition to influencing the lives of the students who serve, the WorldSERVE program also impacts those who are being served.

“As we partner with ministries and organizations, we assist in putting on events, make new friendships, and bring encouragement to midterm and long-term workers,” Dannielle says. “One of the biggest values of a student’s trip is to see the long-term work on the field and encourage those who have committed to serve.”

Meaningful Service

The Strike Teams ministry, which started out as an annual Day of Service to the local community but expanded into a yearlong “way of service,” addresses the needs of those in the Redding, California, area and beyond. E-mails and texts alert volunteers who are ready to serve on short notice to help with yardwork, moving, nonprofit events, and much more.

Gateway to World Service
Students help clean up the debris from a mobile home fire.

“It is an absolute privilege to partner with our city and show the love of Christ through meaningful service,” says Hannah Dewater, coordinator of community services. “We experience what Jesus talked about when He said it is better to serve than to be served.”

Those who have a need or are aware of a need can reach out to Strike Teams by phone or e-mail. Hannah fields the requests and notifies the Simpson community about various service opportunities.

“We want to have eyes and ears for our neighbors and not just pass by needs but do something about them,” Hannah says. “We believe that simple acts of service can make a lasting difference in people’s lives.”

Since 2012, hundreds of students, along with staff and faculty, have served more than 6,000 volunteer hours on more than 230 projects, including cleanup, maintenance, construction, moving, and helping at nonprofit community events.

“Over the last few years, the Strike Teams have spread out all over this area to meet immediate needs in our community,” says Dr. Mike Loomis, associate vice president for student development. “This tangible sign of Christ’s love in action has helped numerous people as well as been a tangible life lesson for our students. We look forward to continuing a tradition of service to Redding and beyond.”

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