Eastern Christian School offers a for-credit program called Cross Cultural Perspectives and Service (CCPS). This service-focused class begins in September and culminates in April with Missions Sharing Day, when students in the program have an opportunity to tell family and friends about their experience on Spring Break Missions Trips. EC works in conjunction with Touch The World, a local organization that helps facilitate group missions trips. Their ultimate goal is to actively engage students in service, culture, and poverty to build their belonging, competence, and worth in the Body of Christ.
CCPS’ aim is to prepare students for global service by engaging them in spiritual preparation such as mentorship and prayer. Students participate in numerous service and training sessions throughout the school year, and ultimately, plan the daily events of their week abroad. Some spend time helping local communities with tasks like painting and building projects, evangelizing, or running Vacation Bible Schools, but all seek to explore local culture and cuisine, and engage the local people in dialogue that leads to a deeper understanding of how God is at work in the world, both within America, and in the rest of the world.
At this year’s Sharing Day, CCPS director Andrea Kroeze said, “Our God is not the God of America, but of the whole world.” Students who participate in the program have the opportunity to understand this first-hand, and friends, family, staff, and students had 2 different opportunities to hear them speak from their own hearts about their adventures.
Our Kansas City KS team, lead by EC teachers Anna Bazanowski, Joel Apol, and Stephen Bailey, served a community of Burmese refugees. They helped by doing physical labor and running a VBS. At missions sharing night, the students meaningfully spoke of the community the Burmese people have created, even so far from their Myanmar homes. They talked about how the Burmese people welcomed them freely, treating them so kindly, and actively showing them what God’s love looked like by how they lived in peace and with respect for one another.
In Guatemala, students evangelized to children and families living around a garbage dump. Led by EC teacher Alisa Engelhard and alumni Joan Hoogerhyde and Mat Matthias, students helped renovate areas of a local school, spent time ministering to the children of the area, and visited local homes to evangelize and pray with Guatemalan families. Sophomore Gianna Chiciarelli spoke poignantly in our Sharing Chapel about how she was reminded of the way God chases after us, relentlessly, until we stop and allow him to consume us in his love.
In Tanzania, Tim Steen, myself, Chantelle Pazmino (of TTW) and parent Sam Vazquez took a team to organize and implement a VBS for underprivileged children in the city of Dar es Salaam. Another primary goal of their trip was to be an encouragement and support for some of the local missionaries working in Tanzania. At sharing night, sophomore Emily Steen spoke about God’s provision during the trip, stating that God repeatedly showed up to make their plans even better than they had originally been, causing them to see over and over how he was in control, and that they were safe in his hands.
Missions Sharing Day is a special day. If you weren’t able to join us this year, plan to come to Missions Sharing Chapel, Missions Sharing Night, or both, next year!
Are you an EC student interested in coming on a missions trip with us? Next year’s trips will be announced in the next few weeks! You’ll be able to fill out an application, and Spring Break 2019 could be when you encounter God in a whole new way! We hope to hear from you next year, on Missions Sharing Day!