DBU’s ServantU goes international

The ServantU International group gathers outside the storefront for the Goodwill Store in West Dallas.  The students served with various organizations around the Dallas-Fort Worth area. (DBU Photo / Courtney Hackett)

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DALLAS—More than 120 students from Chile, Peru and Colombia participated in ServantU International on the Dallas Baptist University campus.

dbu servantu sort425A group of students from South America sort books and CDs at Goodwill alongside (center) Desi Henk, director of service learning at Dallas Baptist University, and (far right) Abby Florian, DBU student. (DBU Photo / Courtney Hackett)DBU has offered ServantU the last four years as a weeklong camp intended to offer high school students a collegiate experience that develops leadership skills within the context of service. The camp gives students an opportunity to encounter academics, student life, spiritual life and servant leadership on the campus of a Christian university.

This year, DBU launched ServantU International, geared specifically toward South American students. They participated in classes in Christian leadership, English and their choice of business, fine arts, science or education. They practiced their English with DBU students and learned from DBU professors.

In addition to learning inside the classroom, the South American students experienced Texas-style U.S. culture. They participated in outings to local malls, Six Flags over Texas amusement park, the Fort Worth Stockyards and a Texas Rangers baseball game.

“We had such a fun time sharing our culture with these South Americans” said Shelby Hackett, sophomore student volunteer. “We were able to teach the students how baseball is played, and they laughed at us as we sang ‘Deep in the Heart of Texas’ as loud as we could. We were able to share aspects of each other’s cultures in unforgettable ways.”

True to the camp’s focus on servant leadership, the students spent each afternoon working with local organizations such as Goodwill Industries and Mission Arlington. From sorting clothes and toys to packing boxes and moving furniture, the group experienced service in various venues.

dbu servantu rangers425Two Peruvian students learn the game of baseball as they watch the Texas Rangers play at Globe Life Park in Arlington. (DBU Photo / Courtney Hackett)“Many of the students remarked that serving is not typical where they are from” said Shannen Smith, director of DBU North and ServantU staff sponsor. “They hope to make it a part of their daily relationship with the Lord.”

Tiffany Walker, a DBU student volunteer and worship leader, appreciated the times of worship and learning together that took place over the course of the camp. 

“After spending 10 days with these students, I learned that God wants to be the center of our affections—in every nation and in every tongue,” she said.

Smith pointed to “academic and spiritual learning” that occurred during the week.

“This was a very special camp to be a part of, and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to share our culture, city and university with these students,” Smith said.


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