During Clarks Summit University’s Spring Break, Paul McGuinness, D.Min., and a team of CSU students and alumni traveled to Tumutumu, Kenya, to help and encourage fellow believers.
Dr. McGuinness, CSU’s Intercultural Studies professor, has led multiple trips to Kenya and has built relationships with the people in Tumutumu. This was his first time leading a group of CSU students. Their energy and positivity encouraged him throughout the trip.
CSU students Bethany Hogan, Emma Mitten, Debbie Cheetham, Daniel DuMond and Roman Chastain traveled with CSU alumni Aaron Palczewski and Pastor Tony Laidlaw. Dr. McGuinness and his wife Aimee guided the group.
Bethany Hogan, an Intercultural Studies major, says, “It was so encouraging to see brothers and sisters in Christ in Kenya and the joy of the Lord that they have! We were able to go on home visits as well as just connect with those in the communities. It was a great opportunity to talk more about Jesus and make those connections too! God is so good.”
Being able to see and encourage her teammates reminded her of the truth of the body of Christ. “One thing I learned the most was the body of Christ. I saw it in such a real form,” Hogan says. “I saw it, and that’s what made it real.”
This trip was extra special for Hogan, as she plans to return to Kenya in the summer for an internship. She has a deep passion for the children there. Her favorite part of the trip was being able to interact and play with the children. Through this trip, she felt God confirming her passion by talking with her team members. “I just love how God uses different people to speak into your life,” Hogan says. “I feel like it’s so special.” She would like to continue helping children in the future and plans to go back to Kenya during the summer to work at an orphanage.
Every group member got involved in meeting village needs and looking for opportunities to live and share the gospel. The team leaders and students preached at churches and made connections with many of the people there. On Monday, they visited with students at a camp. They did beadwork and ran a soccer tournament; there was a lot of high energy and dancing. Tuesday, they started a house construction project to help one of the more vulnerable members of the community. They visited with people in the community to help them with their household chores. Then on Friday and Saturday, they prepared for their trip home.
Though they faced many challenges throughout the trip, Dr. McGuinness thought it was important to remember: “These aren’t the headlines. They are the footnotes.” When their flight to Kenya was cancelled after they arrived at JFK Airport, and they had to scramble to get a different flight through Germany to get to their destination, the students helped the leaders rethink the situation. “These didn’t define the trip,” Dr. McGuinness says. “but they were opportunities for God to come through.” Instead of focusing on all the problems, the team would say “I wonder how God’s going to work through this.”
Hogan encourages everyone interested in going on a trip like this to “go, 110 percent.” She says, “You don’t have to be [an Intercultural Studies major], or you don’t have to be a ministry major.”
Dr. McGuinness hopes to continue CSU’s relationship with the people of Tumutumu by making this an annual missions trip. He values the time spent traveling and making an impact for Christ. Students who are interested in participating in the future should start considering and planning now. He will be glad to help them.
“You won’t regret it!” Dr. McGuinness says. “Go where God is leading, and do what God is doing.” There are so many ways people can impact the people in Kenya. Dr. McGuinness says, “Pray specifically, Give wisely, and [seek] God.” Pray for the people there by name; pray for the rain that the people depend on, and pray for the students as they prepare for the next school year. Consider sponsoring students and providing the things they need to develop and continue to grow. Sponsoring students is a great way to have an impact on children and families in Kenya.
By Ainsley Hall, Communications major