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Meaningful Connection in Colombia

Red Hawks journeyed thousands of miles during spring break to form lasting connections with the community in Bogotá, Columbia.

By Christian Valdez

Photo from SU World Serve Instagram page

Caitlin Bennet, Joy Taylor, and Katie Graham traveled to Bogotá on March 11 for a mission trip. Marjorie Kennedy accompanied the Simpson students as their mission trip leader. The group embraced the call to service. The Red Hawks served at two different schools working with kids from as young as 4th grade to high school.

The students participated in an after-school program. The missions team sang songs, performed skits, taught English, played games, and gave testimonies. Joy Taylor said they gave testimonies every day.

“A majority of the kids felt really touched by what I said and a lot of them would come up to me afterward and hug me and tell me they felt really connected to what I said,” Taylor said.

Taylor had never been on a mission trip before. Taylor was initially intrigued by the idea of leaving the country for the first time and her dad’s experiences on mission trips. Taylor had a revelation before the trip. Taylor explained,

“I think that it's more than just going across the world for an experience. Getting to do something for God and using what I've learned from my whole life, made me feel like I can make a big impact on them.”

The students made an impact in Bogotá according to their mission trip leader, Marjorie Kennedy. Taylor discussed a particular memory that may stick with her forever. Taylor noticed that there was a young boy who was disengaged while she was giving a testimony at the after-school program.

Taylor found this initially to be frustrating. That same kid broke out into tears as she finished her testimony. He ran up to Taylor and embraced her. Taylor described the moment as,

“The most surreal hug I've ever experienced, it was so genuine.”

Katie Graham illustrated the trip as unexpected in chapel last Wednesday. Taylor’s connection with the young boy was an example of this. Their shared experience conquered a language barrier establishing a bond between the two.

Joy Taylor said she would go on another mission trip to share her story with those who may benefit from hearing it. Taylor was not the only one who felt this way.

“They are all gung-ho to go back,” the team leader said.

The group returned on March 18 after a week abroad. They had a great time serving. If you are passionate about helping a community, a mission trip may just be the thing for you. You can hear more of these stories on WORLD Serve Celebration Night on Wednesday at 6:30 in the Student Union. There will be snacks, prizes, and spiritual formation credit available. See you there.

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