Through its service-learning program, MVNU provides students the opportunity to visit various locations around the world with the intention of serving the global community. These trips include visits to Belize, Swaziland, and Guyana.
Students and faculty are able to live in a different environment and share life with those individuals who possess an entirely different worldview. They help build churches, explore new traditions, and become fully engrossed in a new culture. It is a huge investment.
This past spring break saw a group heading down to Orealla, Guyana to work alongside "Bags of Hope,” a charity organization led by Pastor David and Diana Rambarran. MVNU's Student Success and Testing Specialist Cara Boyd was one such individual who had the opportunity to lend her aid as the mission trip leader. She has been on the mission trip to Guyana since its inception in 2016.
"Going to Guyana, disconnecting from the business of school and work and all other things, and just living life with people and getting to know people from another culture – that is what keeps me and others coming back on this trip,” Boyd said. “We can go anywhere in the US or another country to work but going to Guyana is different because of the people there. Knowing them and their hearts, getting to encourage them as they encourage us, and bringing the Kingdom of God closer together is what this trip is about.”
Taking trips like this broadened the perspective of those who observed different cultures and introduced a whole different kind of world. Boyd’s previous experiences abroad have awarded her many opportunities to become well-acquainted with the Guyanese residents. "The people of Guyana are resilient and kind," Boyd said. "I think anyone on our team would say the same. We were welcomed in with open arms and taken care of by our new friends."
Mission trips of this nature are usually centered around fulfilling a series of goals for the natives living in that particular area. For the people of Guyana, one of their primary issues was being able to fully apportion their resources and use them to the fullest extent. The community center that the MVNU students participate in helps the locals find jobs and teaches them how to use technology, which proves to be extremely beneficial. "The best part is that we are not there to provide what they need," Boyd says. "Instead, we are there to say, ‘how can we help?’”
Boyd knows the necessity of mission trips but is fully knowledgeable of how large the investment is. It is very difficult to uproot one's life and move into a foreign environment for weeks on end. This can be quite intimidating. For those on the fence, she offered some encouragement to students who might be considering going on any trip abroad.
"If you’re looking to do some hard work, to meet some amazing people, to change your normal pace, and rough it a little bit, then going on this trip is for you! We are well taken care of while there, but it is hard work. I think that the biggest part of this trip, though, is building relationships with the people we meet and with the team."
If you're interested in taking a mission trip abroad, there will be opportunities available in the upcoming school year. Be prepared to make a difference and make an everlasting change in the life of someone in the global community.