GO Week gives students a taste of mission trips
By Cooper Nelson
GCU News Bureau
Each year, Grand Canyon University’s Global Connect Team holds its Global Outreach (GO) Week to inform students of University-led mission trip opportunities and train them on what they can expect to experience while serving overseas.
Liz Martin, GCU’s global outreach coordinator in the Office of Spiritual Life, said this year’s GO Week – which starts today – will emphasize practical learning through simulated stations, ranging from tasting foreign cuisine and learning new languages to assimilating into the culture of a country and worshiping in secret. Students also will learn to worship like the persecuted church, through whispered singing. The goal is for students to better understand the tribulations faced by Christians across the globe, Martin said.
Most student missionaries are sent to developing countries, such as Kenya and Honduras, and many have felt overwhelmed by the challenges of sleeping in cramped huts and enduring insects and rough conditions.
Martin, 24, said the goal of GO Week is to prepare students to overcome the initial shock and begin serving immediately.
“A lot of the time, students aren’t prepared for the different cultures or the language barriers or even the different cuisines they will experience overseas, so we wanted to create events that simulate those experiences,” said Martin, who will lead multiple trips this year, including one to the Philippines over spring break.
“The idea this year is to engage students in a hands-on type of way so they feel more comfortable when they’re on the trips and can focus more on serving the people we’re there to serve.”
Last year, GCU sent 233 students and 24 staff members to 16 countries across four continents during the spring and summer breaks. Trips last anywhere from one to two weeks to up to three months. The University plans to send 400 students to 22 countries this year, beginning with trips to Mexico, Nicaragua, Haiti and the Philippines in March.
New this year, students must pay a $50 application fee and sign up online. For more information on GCU mission trips, a list of destinations and the application form, click here.
GO Week events include:
- Mission trip passports and GO Week schedules handed out before and after Chapel today.
- A Missions Trip Fair at 7:30 tonight in Tell Science, featuring a guided tour through several simulated “countries” to replicate the language, food and human needs students will experience overseas.
- A message on global outreach from GCU Global Outreach Director Jacob Page at theGathering at 8 p.m. Tuesday in Antelope Gym.
- A refugee simulation, walking students through the stages of immigrant displacement and resettlement, at 7 p.m. Wednesday on the Intramural Field.
- Encounter prayer and worship with music at 9 p.m. Wednesday in the Prayer Chapel on the south end of the College of Theology building.
- A screening of “Nefarious,” a documentary on modern human trafficking, at 6 p.m. Thursday in Antelope Gym.
- Pray for the Nations Day all day Friday, with prayer stations in the Prayer Chapel and a large interactive chalkboard on the Promenade outside the Student Union.
GCU junior Paige Ferrari joined the global outreach team after a positive experience during GO Week. Ferrari, 20, a Global Connect student team leader, went on her first mission trip last summer to the United Kingdom, where she mentored children and helped organize Christian community service events for local residents.
She obtained information on her trip from Spiritual Life as a freshman but passed on that year’s GO Week events. She said she felt overwhelmed until she received hands-on training during GO Week last year.
Ferrari said this week is essential for students who are serious about becoming global missionaries.
“Student will learn that there are a lot of barriers to overcome, and I think it’s very important for them to go through the steps of GO Week and get the info that’s needed,” said Ferrari, a communications major.
“GO Week is fun and silly, but when you look at the heart of it and the message GCU tells, it’s really deep and I think it’s going to be a great experience for students.”
Students have the opportunity to obtain additional information on global mission trips throughout the year from monthly GO Nights, a Global Tour mini-course and semesterlong training during the Global Training Project. Students interested in these events should visit the Office of Spiritual Life in Prescott Hall or email email@example.com.
Spiritual Life also offers students options to participate in local community-service opportunities during the school year. Martin said GO Week is designed to train those students who are unable to travel abroad or wish to make an impact closer to home.
“This week is GO Week and we are going to introduce the trips, but that’s not the whole focus. We want to train students on how to serve locally as well,” Martin said.
“We can’t go overseas and expect to make Jesus famous and share the Gospel if students aren’t prepared and we aren’t doing that at home.”
Contact Cooper Nelson at 602-639-7511 or firstname.lastname@example.org.