Intercultural Studies students minister in the neighborhood

Intercultural Studies students minister in the neighborhood

Michelle Raven, PhD

Michelle Raven, PhD International Community Development Program Director

By Naomi Balk

CIU Student Writer

“Education really happens when students are on the field,” said Dr. Ed Smither, dean of CIU’s College of Intercultural Studies (ICS), as he introduced ICS students who have ministered locally over the past school year. These students applied classroom lessons in ICS Practical Skills Development as they partnered with ministries located near CIU.

One such partnership was with Temple Zion Baptist Church, just a mile from campus. It was there that Lianna Gates, a junior, reported helping clothe two stepbrothers, ages eight and 11 years old, through a clothing drive and breakfast. These are just two children of many in the community who struggle with the problems associated with living in a low-income area. ICS students’ research found that 42.8 percent of the children in one nearby neighborhood live below the poverty line.

Gates said she appreciates how the ICS program encourages ministry within a five-mile radius of CIU.

“These people are our neighbors and we need to reach them,” Gates said.

The ICS students reported in a semester-end review of their experiences that this type of ministry helped them learn the importance of teamwork and adaptability. They also applied skills in ethnographic studies and research before launching into their projects.

Hannah Berglund, a senior, said that the ministry was sometimes challenging, but worth it.  

“The Lord works through our broken efforts,” Berglund said. “It’s good to be honest and learn those hard lessons.”

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