DALLAS—Nineteen Dallas Baptist University students—all members of service fraternities and sororities—began their summer vacation ministering in Chile.
Upon arrival in Santiago, the students divided into two teams. One remained in Santiago, and the other traveled to La Serena. Both teams taught in private Christian schools, stayed with host families and attended church in their respective cities over the course of two weeks.
The group in Santiago, led by Chris Holloway, director of global missions at DBU, served with Grace College. The team in La Serena, led by Shannen Smith, director of DBU North, served with Amazing Grace English College.
Most of the DBU students spoke little to no Spanish, and some never had traveled outside the United States.
Jacob Rohrer, senior business management major and vice president of Tau Alpha Phi, bonded quickly with his host family, despite linguistic and cultural barriers.
“I was extremely nervous about traveling to a foreign country for two weeks,” Rohrer said. “But my host family welcomed me into their home and treated me like one of their own.”
In addition to experiencing Chilean culture, the students spent considerable time teaching English, and the interactions with the students proved fruitful. Members of the DBU team explained the Chilean students were incredibly receptive to learning from English-speakers and often asked questions over the course of a class period.
“We were able to scholastically engage with the students in the classroom through practicing English and leading discussions about Christian culture,” said Shannen Smith of the La Serena team.
This eagerness of the Chilean students presented unique opportunities to share the gospel both in and out of the classroom. Both teams taught Christian culture classes over the course of the two weeks in addition to English, and gospel-centered conversations took place daily in that context.
DBU students presented their personal testimonies of faith in the classroom, in chapel services and in church. Each team had the opportunity to lead chapel services for each age group at the schools, complete with games, worship songs, skits and sermons.
On their last full day in the school, the La Serena team washed the feet of some of the older students at Amazing Grace.
“I learned more about Christ’s love and what that looks like than I ever thought possible in a two week period,” said Shelby Hackett, a sophomore psychology major and Sigma Chi Eta member.
These encounters made as great an impact on the DBU students as they did on the students and families in Chile, DBU team members said.
“We truly fell in love with the students,” said Chris Holloway of the Santiago team. “As much as we may have impacted them, they have made a huge impression on our hearts as well.”
The DBU students welcomed the opportunity to strengthen Chilean churches and encourage local believers.
“We had the incredible opportunity to unite as a body of believers and work alongside and encourage the ministry that is already working in the lives of the Chilean people,” said Hannah Hollabaugh, junior biology major and vice president of Alpha Epsilon Chi. “The gospel knows no cultural or linguistic barriers, and it was humbling and awesome to see the Lord move in big ways.”
This trip was part of a Greek life mission trip initiative started in March with a pilot trip to Temuco, Chile.