Small Acts of Service Make Great Outreach Possible

London Eye Study Abroad Missions Without a doubt, studying abroad in London, England brought about tremendous personal and spiritual growth in my life. This is due largely to the opportunities provided to me by the Veritas Abroad program.

Through meeting with my missions mentor, serving the city at outreach events, or just being alone with God, I recognize many instances that played an essential role to my spiritual and personal development while abroad. I hope the lessons I learned abroad will be helpful in my life as a student and member of a campus ministry.

My missions mentor, Verity, helped foster my spiritual growth while studying abroad in London. The day after I landed in London, England, Verity met with me, and we had follow-up meetings roughly every week after that.

Verity immediately showed her willingness to help by buying clothes and other short-term necessities for a student whose luggage had gotten lost during the flight. She always had plenty of suggestions of things to see and do in London, and frequently offered to go sightseeing with us during the weekends. But Verity is more than a tour guide—her selflessness, compassion, and availability blessed me during my Veritas Abroad program. Verity’s support and guidance for foreigners inspired me to offer more of my time and resources to people who need it in my community, especially the large population of international students on my campus.

College Mission Trip to Europe

In our meetings, Verity challenged us with scripture. I set my focus on three verses specifically: 1 John 1:5, Matthew 5:16, and Psalm 139:12.

“God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.”

The 1 John verse reminded me of the pure and holy God I serve. He does not deal in sin or death or fear at all—only good and righteous things. He is radiant in his holiness and spreads his goodness over the universe. This became one of my favorite reasons to praise the Lord during my time abroad.

“Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven.”

A mentor from my home campus ministry sent this Matthew 5 verse to me. This command from Jesus reminded me of my role in life no matter where I go; I need to reflect the goodness God radiates so I may bring him glory. The verse gave me a sense of purpose every day, whether I was simply attending lecture and working on my class assignments, or spending a day wandering around the city.

“The night will shine like day, for darkness is as light to you.”

Psalm 139 became a source of encouragement for me during rare moments of fear and discouragement. This verse emphasizes the power behind God’s purity and radiance—God’s love overcomes the evil and uncertainty of the world. This truth comforted me whenever I got lost wandering around the city or felt overwhelmed by the darkness in it.

Because of my Mission Mentor’s encouragement, I had these scriptural truths to guide me and offer me wisdom during my time studying abroad.

Sight seeing in London College Travel Another source of spiritual development in England came from the variety of outreach and fellowship events I participated in, including Bible studies, soccer club, and street outreach

In each of these events, I played a small role—passing out construction paper or giving a high-five or even just watching others care for drunks. Yet, I feel these experiences helped me to get outside my comfort zone and trust God will use even the smallest acts of service for his glory.

Small acts of service make great acts of outreach possible.

This is an invaluable lesson I will no doubt bring back to my campus ministry.

While the time spent in service and with my mentor helped to develop me spiritually, my greatest growth came out of the time I spent one-on-one with the Lord while abroad.

God used this study abroad experience to both grow my independence and make me realize my dependance in different ways. The trip forced me to be completely responsible for my own time, transportation, and navigation, all of which may be important to manage on my own later in life. However, I realized to a greater extent that I am absolutely dependent on God for my provision and protection.

College Student International Mission Work

I experienced firsthand how God is with me, even if I’m 4,000 miles away from home. I have held each of these truths as I have come home and look forward to applying them to new situations in my life.

God has been faithful in using this challenging (and at times frightening) experience for my good and his glory. In my relationships abroad, in my service experience, and in my time with him, he has proved to be the same good Father and mighty King that he is in Lexington, Kentucky—and what a joyful realization that is!


This is a post by Annie Bruner, a student at the University of Kentucky, who studied abroad and did missions on the Veritas London Summer II 2014 program.

Faith can mean taking risks. Taking risks gets you out of your comfort zone. Getting out of your comfort zone promotes growth. Growth produces faith and changes the world. Imagine the personal and spiritual development that comes from taking a leap? Take the leap today. Apply to study and serve abroad.

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Which Study Abroad Program is Right for Me?

Want to study abroad but don’t know where to go? Or maybe you want to go everywhere and can’t narrow it down to one place. Have a heart to serve through missions but not sure where? With programs in Europe, Latin America, and Asia, Veritas Christian Study Abroad offers something for everyone. So which one is right for you?


For the Foodie & History Buff
Hold on, let me Instagram that.

Study Abroad and Missions in Rome ItalyPasta, gelato, cappuccino, gnocchi? That’s amore. Not only is Italy known for its delectable  cuisine and coffee, its history is just as rich as its food. From the Colosseum to the Vatican, explore the history of a global empire that saw the beginnings of the Christian church. In Rome, along with a variety of course offerings in business, fine arts, international relations, economics, and history, you will take a Veritas course on Church History. With Professor Leonardo de Chirico, study the development of the Christian church from the New Testament to present day. Of course you’ll have to take a study break for ravioli every now and then.

For the YOLO-er
Carpe Diem! Study abroad mission trip to BrazilFlorianopolis is a feast for the senses that will have you seizing every moment. You will not be short on water here: from ocean to lakes to waterfalls, whether you want to relax by the sea or raft white waters, there’s h2o for you. Floripa’s 42 beaches aren’t the only bragging points for this island city. This tropical paradise also boasts mountains, rainforests, sand dunes, and other natural wonders surrounding a metropolitan city. It won’t take long for you to join the Brazilian way of life and love for celebration. Let the city’s nature, history, hospitality, and diversity charm you as you study culture and business with locals and internationals alike.

With 40% of the world’s Catholic population residing in Brazil, the nation reigns as the most Catholic country by population. However, religion trends have shifted. Brazilian youth are turning away from Roman Catholic Church—and religion altogether. This nation may host events on the global stage like the World Cup and Summer Olympics but many of its residents live in poverty. Restore hope to lost people as you invest in a local church and community through missions.

For the Metropolitan
Strike a pose, vogue, vogue

Why Study Abroad in Paris

Paris is always a good idea. When you think of Paris, what comes to mind? Romance, fashion, food, sophistication, and art. The City of Lights, Paris is the capital of France and one of the biggest cities in Europe with soaring diversity. From art to architecture, you will never stop witnessing beauty all around you. Study the Renaissance & Reformation in a cultural hub, where centuries of history still influence the culture—and the world—today. Experience a fashion capital and foodie’s dream. The city may be bustling, but there’s always time to break for shopping or a cafe au lait and crepe.

France may come from a long history of faith and reformation but for most it seems to be just that—history. The growing Muslim population has made Islam the second most-widely practiced religion in France. Connect with university students through campus outreach and language exchanges. Share the love of the Father of Lights with those in search of hope and purpose.

For the Adventure Junkie & Tree Hugger
Saving the planet one zip line at a time.

Arenal Volcano Adventure Costa Rica Study AbroadIn Costa Rica, raft rivers, witness breathtaking landscapes, hike around volcanoes, watch bio-diverse wildlife in their natural habitats, and much more. Not to mention the miles and miles of beaches you will enjoy! At the host university in San Jose, exercise your mind with courses like philosophy and theology, and explore a nation who cares about ecology with the university’s many environmental studies courses.

Zipline Costa Rica Veritas Study AbroadThe Dominican Republic is another great program for the thrill-seeker. From caving to white-water rafting, you won’t be bored in this beautiful country. The host university in Santo Domingo offers 16 undergraduate degree programs in Health Sciences, Social Sciences, Engineering, Law, Education, and Arts. Both Costa Rica and the DR are top Eco-tourism nations in Latin America and the Caribbean, respectively.

While you’re studying in Costa Rica or the DR, you may work with social justice ministries fighting human trafficking and sex slavery. Help families in need both physically and spiritually as you build relationships and meet felt needs. Worship with believers in house churches and prayer gatherings, and see God working as you serve the local community.

For the Daring to be Different
I don’t know what it is but I’ll eat it!

Study Abroad and Mission Trip to South KoreaKorean civilization dates back nearly 4,000 years, but the city of Seoul lives on the cutting edge of modern society. South Korea has seen bigger economic growth over the past few decades than most nations and ranks as one of the most developed countries in East Asia. This lively city that boasts over 10 million inhabitants also houses museums, palaces, temples—and did we mention the nearly 1500 miles of coastline? It may not be the typical study abroad destination like Europe or Latin America, but don’t let that scare you. South Korean cuisine, customs, and city living is fan favorite among those who visit or study there.

Konkuk University in Seoul offers the widest variety of courses of all Veritas programs, which means you’re sure to find something to fit your degree plan. From engineering to humanities and medicine to fashion, study with locals and internationals in a culture unlike most study abroad programs. South Korea is also an emerging player in the international mission field. Second only to the U.S., South Korea is the largest sending nation of international missionaries, making it an exciting place to get involved with the local church. If you’re looking to step outside your comfort zone and be amazed by a new cultural experience, Seoul is the place to start.

That’s not all! Check out Veritas programs in England, Spain, Argentina, Chile, and Peru!


No matter where you go, the team at Veritas is with you every step of the way. Veritas creates intentional academic and mission programs for college students that combine experiential learning with longer-term mission opportunities and offers support on both academic and spiritual fronts. Engage in a culture and make a difference. Go to the ends of the earth with Veritas Abroad.

Questions? Ask us. Ready to go? Apply.

 

Photo cred: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

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How God Used Four Weeks in Rome

Before studying abroad with Veritas Christian Study Abroad, I had never been to another country. College Student trip to Colosseum in Rome

I did not know what it would be like to really travel, like the kind to a new continent and to actually be in front of famous structures like the Colosseum. I imagined having my idea of service completely taken over by the meaningful, life-altering conversations I would have with refugees about the way Jesus has changed my life.

Nothing went quite like I expected it to go, some even slightly disappointing, but the way God worked in my life more than exceeded my expectations.

I traveled with a group of classmates from unique religious backgrounds. Many of my friends abroad said how much they loved to travel and listed it on their Instagram descriptions: “planet-wanderer,” “pursuer of wanderlust,” “coffee-lover always dreaming of traveling.” Of course a person’s life cannot be decided from a social media tagline, but through getting to know the people on my trip, I found that travel itself was their life pursuit, the thing they sought for fulfillment. Interestingly, my friends without faith in Christ as their core belief, were the same ones I found talking about the next weekend rather than appreciating the one we experiencing. Instead of tasting our truffle ravioli, they would be talking about the pesto trofie coming up.

Christian Study Abroad in RomeThis is how God taught me about the idol of travel. Surrounded in class by the sculptural idols of the Imperial age 1 B.C. to 1 A.D., I realized the sinful desire to put idols before God did not stop with Rome’s official state religion of paganism. Our hearts are in the same condition, just in a different historical context. In this modern age, we do not widely worship physical statues, but the new acceptable idol is the “next thing.” We think the next place we travel to will be fulfilling, the next food we taste will finally amaze us, the next bucket list accomplishment will complete our life, even though the last, or even current, thing on the list never did.

God reminded me that only a life for Christ is fulfilling. He gave us a world to explore that we can certainly see His beauty in and enjoy His gifts while we are here, but the things of this world do not satisfy our souls, and the attitudes on my trip confirmed it.

God also used Rome to make me bolder. I grew in boldness by flying over the Atlantic ocean, by crossing streets in front of speeding Vespas, and by navigating a foreign city through piazzas and flaky bus routes. I butchered my way through ordering Italian dishes and critiquing aloud in Art History.

The biggest way God had me conquer my fears was in witnessing to my classmates. Study abroad was not my first experience in evangelism, but it was a huge step in sharing my faith with my peers.

When God put me in classes that discussed the early stages of Christianity, with the opportunity to point out the differences in what Jesus taught and decisions made by the Church, I knew He had something planned for me. “You have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-control,” 2 Timothy 1:7 reminded me.

Striking up conversations about the Gospel—how it could change lives, and how it applied directly to us—came easily, albeit a deeper than normal topic, and naturally. It was as if caring for another person, no matter the conversation that entailed, was completely acceptable.

Thinking about the complete change in me surrounding my idea of evangelism makes me so thankful for the work God did in my life and the walls he broke down in my heart. Who knew that He would use Rome to do it?

Christian Study Abroad Roman RuinsThis summer in Rome, I learned about living as a missionary. Our Mission Mentor works as a refugee missionary, and we also had the chance to meet relational missionaries and missionaries focusing on victims of sex trafficking. When asked why she decided to leave her life in America and work with men fleeing the oppression in Iran, my Mission Mentor responded, “Well, God called me to.”

In working at the refugee center and hearing from the missionaries, I learned we are not working for the fruit of our labor to be seen, but for the Lord. Of course we should pray and strive for results, but simultaneously be content in doing the work He has called us to do. For our group of Veritas girls, that meant volunteering at the refugee center, one of the only places to welcome these men in Italy, whether or not we could hold a conversation. If we loved them by encouraging them while playing games—motivated by the fact that Jesus loved us first—it did not matter if we could tell they understood the Gospel more. We were living it out, and Christ has the power to open their eyes.

Study Abroad friends in Rome Trevi FountainThis summer, I did not have the experiences I thought I would.

The Colosseum was not life-completing, but it was impressive. My conversations with refugees were not all about the Gospel, but they were spoken in love. The people on my trip were not perfect, but they are loved by the one true God.

This summer, God confirmed that His ways are higher than my ways, and I am thankful for the way He used my home in Rome.

This is a blog post by Kaitlyn Hansen, a student at Texas A&M University who studied with Veritas Abroad in Rome, Italy. 


What’s holding you back from life transformation? Don’t let fear or apathy be the cause. Put purpose in your travel experience: serve a community while you fulfill your degree. Apply today for Veritas Christian Study Abroad! Not ready yet? Get more info or set up an advising session with us.

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Make “Back to School” Better with Study Abroad & Missions

As summertime fades and murmurs of returning to the classroom hang in the air, we thought we’d remind all college students out there why you should make your next “back to school” be abroad.


You could go back to school shopping for supplies like spiral notebooks and a pencil bag…

Or your back to school list could look like this:

Study Abroad ChecklistYou could go back to school and learn about the history of Roman civilization…

Or you could experience it.

You could go back to school to rock climb at the Rec Center or play intramural sports…

Or you could go on a real field trip.

kylieslayden_mtngroupYou could go back to school to a long commute on campus transportation or spend all your gas finding a parking spot…

Or you could get to class like this:

Double Decker bus You could go back to school on a diet of Ramen noodles and $5 Hot-n-Ready Little Caesar’s pizzas…

Or you could munch on Spanish tapas, devour Italian pizza and gelato, savor a crepe in Paris, or indulge in street food in Latin America (Tacos aren’t just for Tuesdays).

Friends Study Abroad in Italy You could go back to school to your same old routine…

Or you could make a difference in a local community and have a life-changing experience.

Study Abroad and Missions to the DR


You are difference makers and world changers. The typical college experience is not enough. You’ve seen unacceptable realities in the world and said, “That’s not okay.” You know there is more: more to learn, more to discover, more to grow, more who need to know the love of Christ. Make your next Back to School experience be a meaningful one—study and serve the nations.

Apply now to study abroad and do missions with Veritas Christian Study Abroad!

Image credit: Thomas Shahan, Kevin Poh, Karen Chan, Emily Motley

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5 Reasons Study Abroad and Missions Are Better Together

Study abroad and missions in ItalyStudy abroad or missions? Yes.

It may come as a surprise to many, but study abroad and missions do not have to be mutually exclusive. Committing to a semester studying abroad does not mean sacrificing opportunity for ministry. Serving through international missions does not mean compromising on academics.

It’s not this or that—it’s both. And the marriage of the two can actually make each one better. Veritas Christian Study Abroad shows you how:

  1. Go long(er) term. Short-term missions are great for people with schedules that allow only a week or a long weekend for a mission trip. As a college student, you have the advantage. When you study abroad for a semester or summer, you have the chance to spend one to four months—even a full academic year—abroad. You’re not giving up undergrad time because you’re still working on your degree while you serve overseas. Two birds, one stone, they say.
  2. Double your return. In the same two-for-one spirit, think of the time and money you’ll save when you combine study abroad with missions. Save money on flights, accommodations, visas, and more. Instead of using scholarships and financial aid for one program and fundraising for another, why not combine your efforts and increase the affordability of your experience!                                                                                                                  French Language Exchange Paris
  3. Immerse yourself. The Veritas model is designed to let each component support the other. As a student, you want to learn the language and culture of your host country and experience it to the fullest. Through your Mission Mentor and involvement with local churches and ministries, you have  intentional access to the local community and culture where you’re living. In addition to the exposure you’ll get from your classes and excursions, you’ll take local transportation to your ministry site; you’ll worship and pray with locals in their homes; you’ll serve in  a variety of ministries with children, youth, and adults. As a missionary, you want to build relationships and share the gospel. Studying abroad widens your field of ministry beyond the locals. Not only will you have the opportunity to serve the local community in your host country but also the students and professors in your academic community.                                                      Christian Study Abroad
  4. Get support on all fronts. Before you go abroad, you’ll receive comprehensive advising and support from our U.S. office. Once you’re abroad, you have access to a full-time resident staff who will provide support in all areas from academics to culture to excursions. Your Mission Mentor offers spiritual support and helps you connect to ministry and community as well as process your experiences and expectations abroad.
  5. Develop a mission lifestyle. When you study and serve with Veritas, you will learn how to manage your time between school, social life, ministry, and everyday living. Instead of spending five days, eight hours a day doing solely volunteer work, you will spend five weeks to several months building relationships and serving a community while still living life as a student. Veritas alumni say this aspect always surprises them but they are so glad they can return home with experience living a life on mission.

You know the reasons, now go! Leverage the cross-cultural benefits study abroad affords alongside the spiritual support and ministry opportunities missions provides. You don’t have to choose one or the other.

Apply now to study and serve with Veritas Christian Study Abroad!

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How Spain Changed What I Thought About Faith & Missions

When I began the ministry portion of the Veritas program, I was almost underwhelmed.

Four days prior to my arrival in Madrid, I had arrived home from a two-week medical mission trip in Haiti. From a pre-medical student perspective, medical clinics earned the gold medal of serving.

Thus, the relationally-minded and less direct mission opportunities in Sevilla perplexed me. I found it difficult to place volunteering at an English fair or a university English club on the same level as medical missions.

My participation in Veritas Christian Study Abroad challenged me and brought me far outside of my comfort zone. From the moment my feet touched Spanish soil, surrounded by foreign streets, routines, and concepts, I have encountered different types of people from Spaniards to Americans to Danish to Argentinians and more. Some have been Christians while others have been agnostic or Muslim.

study Abroad Mission Trip to Sevilla Spain

Through my work at the English fair, I informed the surrounding community about the new Christian school, and connected our missions mentors with local Spaniards for more ministry opportunities. While frustrating to a point, we still sowed seeds—we just couldn’t immediately see the fruits of our labor.

Now I know our ministry helped lay the foundation for future ministry.

We prayed over the actual foundation of the school that will house children learning English, art, music, science, and most importantly, the love of our Savior!

As I experienced more and more in Sevilla, my world became bigger with more things for
me to think and see and try to reconcile with my world beliefs.

I spoke to Sharon Owens, my missions mentor, on several occasions about how uncomfortable Spain had made me. I felt as though this experience challenged everything I knew and believed—even the way I saw myself. She directed me towards the book of James. Although I was trying to figure everything out, this questioning and doubting of what I knew was actually helping me grow in my maturity, faith, and love towards others.

This experience took my perspective outside Western culture and my American ideas of faith and Christianity. I saw my faith for its biblical truth and theology without having to look through a cultural lens.

After this Christian study abroad program with Veritas, I have gained patience with myself and others. Now, I understand that learning and  adapting is a process. You must actively seek to understand and respect your surroundings and see the God breath in every person.

Through engaging in these ministries, I realized my short-term work with these organizations paved a way for long-term results.

My interactions with each person, however short and insignificant they seemed, accomplished the greatest amount of good in the smallest amount of time in the most significant way.

Mission Trip Church in Spain After doing missions in Spain, I realize cross-cultural ministry cannot stop at short
term. It takes consistency and relationships. Charity is not the only form of ministry nor is
manual labor. The laid-back pace of life in Spain taught me to slow down, savor, and take things in. The passion of the people showed me to seek adventure and beauty in each smile
and street and sunbeam around me.

While I have been far removed from the familiar, I have discovered the beauty of life and fallen more in love with the people my Savior has created. I have embraced my times of doubt and discomfort and taken to the words of James, knowing that the more uncomfortable I am with the world around me, the more I must rely on my faith and the stronger my love for Christ will become.

Even though there were moments where I was discourage beyond help it seemed, I learned more about myself. I know I have greater capacity for compassion and empathy than I realized, and patience is something I will always be learning.

As an individual constantly seeking adventure and new experiences, my time in Spain
with my mission mentors and my fellow Veritas peers proved to be more than I could have imagined. It was not what I expected in any capacity, but it challenged and stretched me in ways I didn’t know I could be challenged and stretched.

I feel a sense of humility and gratitude at being given such an experience and can only pray other students have as meaningful as an encounter with such a vibrant culture.

Never have I been more aware of the world past my front porch. The five weeks I
spent in Spain overwhelmed me with new experiences and taught me to take life as it
comes, with my eyes fixed on my Savior.


This post is by Maddison McBurnie, a Veritas Christian Study Abroad student who completed a program this summer in Sevilla, Spain.

Have you ever been “let down” by an experience? Have your worldviews ever been challenged? Get your world rocked and your expectations shattered when you study abroad and do missions with Veritas.

Veritas Christian Study Abroad offers a unique spiritual component to an accredited study abroad experience. Don’t just earn credit toward your degree, change lives, including your own. Find out how on veritasabroad.com.

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This Is Not What You Think—It’s More

So, it’s study abroad and a mission trip? Like that time I went to New Orleans with my youth group, and we cleaned houses for eight hours straight, then did kids clubs and ended with worship and devos every night?

Not exactly.


 

Short-term missions: you come in, you work long hours with an itinerary full of service, ministry, and outreach.

These experiences are great. In fact, they serve as a good starting point for people getting involved with missions. That week you spent handing out toothbrushes in Nicaragua helped children practice better hygiene. The two weeks you did VBS for kids and sang “My God Is So Big” more times than you thought possible—that brought a smile to a child’s face, and made them feel more love than they’ve felt, maybe ever.

More than any impact you had in-country, is the impact the trip had on you. Maybe you had never seen poverty like that in your life, and the joy of the people in spite of this poverty inspired you. You laughed, you cried, you came home with friendship bracelets and a full heart.  This experience rocked your world, and you saw the Lord work in ways you’ve never seen back home.

Back home—where you return to the normal, everyday routine of life.

We don’t all completely forget about our experiences on short-term missions, but we may reserve ministry for a designated mission trip, rather than incorporate it into our day-to-day lives.

Veritas Christian Study Abroad aims to change that.

wilson_merrygoroundHolly Travis, a student at Mississippi State University, had been on a number of short-term mission trips before she studied abroad in Cusco, Peru. Cusco was nothing like those previous trips, she says.

“With short-term trips, I spent a week focused on ministry and woke up each day with the sole purpose of building relationships with kids or painting schools in order to share the gospel. However, in Cusco, I woke up and had to do household chores, attend class, and take public transportation to meet friends or shop for any needed groceries. Although we were part of ministry work in the girls’ home, our days were filled with numerous other activities.

The Lord taught me the importance of allowing him to be part of my daily routine and look for ways to share him with others as I went about my day. I began searching for opportunities to be a light on the buses and in classrooms with other American students.

It is easy to stay focused on sharing him with others on an intense short-term trip, but upon return to the United States, that routine loses its hold…Thankfully, I learned how to minister as I went in Cusco which is something I have brought back to my home in the United States.”

Veritas aims to develop mission-minded students—students who do not compartmentalize their faith and missions apart from their everyday living. After a session or semester abroad with Veritas, students will have a better understanding of their faith and how missions fits into that. With Mission Mentors, students have spiritual support alongside the academic and cultural support a study abroad program provides.

Looking for something more out of your study abroad experience? Join students who are learning first-hand that study abroad and missions are not mutually exclusive. Study abroad with international missions—that’s what makes Veritas different.

“I am incredibly thankful for all I have learned during my time in Cusco. I am confident the lessons I have learned will ripple through the rest of my life.” -Holly Travis

Study Abroad Mission Trip

 

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