SERVE grants are given each year to fund SPU students' service and nonprofit unpaid internships. Three students have experiences to report from their work in Slovenia, The Czech Republic, and El Salvador.
Here are excerpts from their midsummer reflections:
Giselle Gonzales (pictured left) traveled to the "sleepy" Eastern European town of Celje, Slovenia, returning for a second summer to work with a group of missionaries from the Christian nonprofit Josiah Venture. She was part of a music ministry that works to build relationships with youth.
"Throughout the entire summer, one consistent element I have grown to love is the opportunity to disciple young women," says Gonzales. "I can't wait to see what God has in store over the next month and a half."
Nathaniel Ng (pictured right) traveled for a medical internship to El Salvador, where he is working with Operation Mobilization. Learning to be flexible has been his abiding motto as he serves with doctors, nurses, and pharmacists from around the world. Each day he shadows staff, learning to ask patients about their symptoms, explaining medications, and responding to questions. He is also involved in working with school children, and providing education services on a range of topics, including a class on how to raise goats.
He reports he is "learning to live life with a people and place I am not familiar with." Ng is realizing "what it means to be a full-fledged minister in another country."
Another student is also working with Josiah Venture, serving as a short-term missionary in Havirov, The Czech Republic. Melanie Loud (pictured left) is leading evangelistic music and performing arts camps for high school students. She will soon travel to the Ukraine, to work with a local church.
"I am particularly thankful for this opportunity in light of the recent conflict," says Loud. "It provides an opportunity for me and my team to remind the people of Ukraine that they have not been disregarded; that a great injustice has taken place but they are not forgotten."
Loud says her experience has fostered a confidence to follow her instincts and to hone the gifts she has been given.