News - Ongoing Missions Work in Masaya, Nicaragua

Ongoing Missions Work in Masaya, Nicaragua

Rebecca McColl, director of world outreach and missions, led a group of 23 students on an Interterm trip to Masaya, Nicaragua. Two other faculty members joined her on the trip, her husband, Head Men's Soccer Coach Bobby McColl, and Interim Dean of Education Brian Reinhard. The group left on January 7, 2013, and remained in Nicaragua for twelve days. They assisted the Students International base located in Masaya in several key areas: healthcare, social work, microfinance, and athletics ministry.

The students, who wrote letters, sold scarves, and worked to fundraise for the trip, helped run a soccer camp for over 70 children, contributed to a VBS-style boys' club, assisted women with small business plans, worked at a medical clinic, and spent time listening to and caring for impoverished women and children.

Carolyn Fairbanks helped with the soccer camp. "The children I worked with at the soccer camp made the experience amazing. I think this trip changed me even more than it changed them, but I hope by playing with them and loving on the kids that I was able to share God's love."

The ongoing partnership between Greenville College and the Students International base in Masaya, Nicaragua, benefits both for several reasons. It helps Greenville College students who want to serve abroad through short-term missions do so in a healthy and effective way. This emphasis on sustainable short-term missions has been on students' minds thanks to the recent campus-wide conversation sparked by a COR 401 video produced by student Arley Cornell.

McColl explains, "This is so important in missions - that we're not just some group descending upon a community, giving what we have, and leaving. Students International is there all year long, and we get to be a part of their work for a few weeks. When we leave, we do so knowing the community continues to be ministered to."

Krissy Chapman, a junior studying business and Spanish, assisted in the area of microfinance. Like McColl, she recognizes the benefits of ongoing work with Students International. She says, "I was so encouraged to see the positive impact the SI staff are having on the women at the microfinance site. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of their ministry, if only for just two weeks. My presence in Nicaragua did not make a huge impact in itself, but I think the sum of each GC student's efforts in Nicaragua will over time."

The partnership also creates the opportunity for shared experiences for Greenville College students. Even if they don't go on the same trip, participants join a growing number of their peers who have also served in Masaya. McColl points out that students can even decide to return to Nicaragua on a future trip.

According to McColl, "The main goal of this trip was to expose students to a different culture and give them opportunities to serve and grow in their faith."

Working alongside the experienced staff members of Students International who live and serve in Masaya long-term helps accomplish this goal. Chapman summarizes her experiences, saying, "The trip to Nicaragua broadened my view of the world. Growing up in a first world country, I think sometimes we are unintentionally taught that our standard of living is the absolute. After being in Nicaragua for just two weeks though, I grew to like the way they live and have missed it since my return. While I recognize that the Nicaraguans could maybe benefit from better health care or more stable family situations, I have also come to realize that those things aren't the key to a fulfilled life. I saw that God's goodness can exist in all places, and in all shapes and forms."

McColl will lead the next group of Greenville College students who will travel to Nicaragua in the spring. They will be in Masaya for May Term, from May 27 - June 8.

You can follow the adventures of Greenville College's world outreach and missions by reading the department's blog, which students and team leaders update regularly as they travel.


This story was published on January 30, 2013

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