CIU Students Make an Impact in Africa
By Bob Holmes
Michelle Raven says the highlight of her first Columbia International University-led ministry/study tour to Africa was a trip to the slums of Nairobi, Kenya.
Raven is the director of CIU’s International Community Development (ICD) program. She led a diverse team of three CIU students on the tour; an undergraduate Intercultural Studies (ICS) major, an undergraduate Business major and an Intercultural Studies Ph.D. student. She says the goal was for the students to learn about the history and culture of Kenya and experience life and ministry there. That included mingling among the needy at a school in the midst of the slums that offers a retreat from the difficulties of poverty and an opportunity to meet the God of peace.
“After interacting with each class we went further into the slums thorough the sewage-filled alley ways to meet a lovely woman who had been ill for months,” Raven said. “We prayed with her and shared the love of Christ. Her countenance changed and she said she felt better. After a few days we were told that the woman was up and back to normal. The students shared that was an experience that they would never forget.”
The team also visited Malindi and Mombasa on Kenya’s coast which is a largely Muslim area.
“The students learned about life in a Muslim community, the interaction between Muslims and Christians and how they could make an impact,” Raven said. “The students loved the interaction with the local Kenyans. We learned by doing, living life alongside them. Through this we had spontaneous opportunities to share our faith.”
One student remained in Malindi for her ICS internship where she is participating in ministry with a local church plant, working with a NGO on conservation efforts and developing a plan for a community garden in one of the local villages. She is using the skills she learned at The Hunger Education and Resource Training Institute (H.E.A.R.T.). H.E.A.R.T. includes a 40-acre training ground in Florida that prepares prospective missionaries for the living conditions in underdeveloped regions. Training at the Institute is a part of the ICD major.
Raven says traditional study and mission trips are both great, but with this trip she tried something different — a combination of the two.
“I love the combination of academic work and ministry experience this type of trip offers students,” Raven said. “This type of trip helps our students to be culturally intelligent, adaptable to a wide range of possible situations, and to use their minds, hearts and hands to impact the nations. We are already planning the trip for next year.”
CIU has announced $25 million in expansion plans for the campus, including construction of the $20 million William H. Jones Global Business and IT Center. Information on CIU programs and enrollment is available here or call (800) 777-2227, ext. 5024. CIU is accredited by SACS-COC.