Emma Secrest, a sophomore at Palm Beach Atlantic University, has had Africa on her mind for several years now. Some time after PBA announced their need for mission trip leaders, Secrest was contacted by the missions department and asked to co-lead Africa Trek, a three-month journey through four to seven African countries.
“I thought I had passed the deadline to apply,” Secrest said. “Then the missions teams reached out to me and asked me to co-lead it. So that helped me think about it more, pray about it more.”
The Africa Trek trip is designed differently than other short-term mission trips PBA offers. The length and community-focus offers students a chance to better understand what long-term missions work might look like.
Students going on the trip can expect to experience a broad range of ministry and outreach. “It’s a wide variety since we will be in a lot of different places,” Secrest said. “It’s called a trek, but for a lot of the time we are just driving and using transportation from place to place. We’ll be using hiking backpacks since some of the places are more rural and a car can’t get to them.”
Secrest says the team will engage in children’s ministry and orphan ministry, but there is a central focus on connecting and bonding with each community they serve.
Secrest hopes to make the most out of the experiences with various cultures.
“You know how you share the gospel differently with different cultures?” Secrest asked, “Hopefully I’ll be able to know each community well enough to use the gospel in their community, not just coming in with my Western way of the gospel, but understanding them and reaching them with an overarching gospel message.”
Belgium, Albania, Macedonia
Clay Gloetzner and Abigail Martineau, both sophomores at PBA, are excited to lead PBA’s mission trip to Belgium and several other countries in Europe.
Clay Gloetzner wasn’t expecting to lead a summer trip.
“I initially applied to lead the Guyana trip,” Gloetzner said.
He received a phone call and was asked if he would be willing to lead a summer trip. Shortly afterward, Gloetzner was told he would be leading the team traveling to Belgium.
Abby Martineau has had refugee ministry on her mind since traveling with PBA to Finland, Germany, and areas of the Middle East.
“I realized I have a passion for the Middle East and for refugees,” Martineau said. “So I went into this semester knowing I wanted to do something with missions, but I didn’t know what that would look like.”
Martineau knew because she is a Resident Assistant at PBA she would only be available to lead a summer mission trip. “Besides that, it was up to God,” Martineau said.
The team traveling to Belgium will be serving the homeless, working alongside churches in several European cities and possibly working in a refugee camp.
“There’s a lot of relationship stuff, playing music in the street, stuff like that,” Martineau said. “We’ll be doing some prayer walking, especially through the red light district. In Macedonia we will be working with a college cultural exchange, helping them with their English, just handing out coffee and stuff. Then we will be working in a gypsy camp as well.”
“Also, we’re working in three elementary schools, I believe it was, in Albania,” Gloetzner said.
Gloetzner wants to see students have a love for people cross-culturally, as well as a better understanding of short-term missions.
“I’m looking forward to a lot of new perspectives on different cultures… With being in all of these different countries, we’ll be able to have this huge diversity of cross-cultural experience. It will be such a gift, being able to see the Lord be in that and work through that,” Gloetzner said.
“It’s really cool we’ll be seeing so many cultures in three weeks,” Martineau said. “In a way it’ll suck; it’ll be like culture shock, like five different times. But that’s also really awesome to have that experience of being smacked in the face like that. It’s kind of nice, which sounds weird, but it is.”
Both co-leaders ask that students continue to keep PBA’s many mission trips in their prayers.