Corban students Kristen Collins and Mark Morud spent their summers on separate continents, in vastly different cultures with different focuses for their time. However, each returned having learned a similar lesson: the value of building relationships.
Kristen spent the summer in the Philippines on an internship with Brand New Day for her intercultural studies major. During her internship, she was able to observe how ministry is operated in a different context.
“They are so relational,” she commented, “They are still productive, but they focus more on the people they’re working with rather than what needs to be done.”
Her ministry was focused mostly on building relationships herself. Throughout this six-week experience, Kristen participated in outreaches where she and her team would pick up children off the street and take them to a church to spend time with them. Throughout the summer, Kristen got to watch how the kids began to accept her.
“It was cool watching them start to open up to our hospitality and be more willing to let us in,” she said.
Meanwhile, 7,000 miles away in South Africa, Mark Morud was working as a resident assistant (RA) at Camp10. As an RA, Mark was tasked with investing in the students that attended the three-week camp.
“A lot of what I did was follow them around and engage in what they were doing,” he said.
Mark walked through life with students as they studied for classes, did service projects, and even as they ventured out on wildlife safaris.
Over the course of the three weeks, Mark got to watch as students transformed from strangers into friends.
“Lasting relationships can form so quickly,” he commented, “That was kind of a surprise. It doesn’t take a lot to become friends with someone for a long time. It takes both of you to be willing to invest in it.”
Mark and his students left with a changed perspective on what it means to impact the world.
“I think the students came out of it with a lot more of a heart for the world and the people in it. They were all excited to be there with the people.”
Although Mark and Kristen had different summer experiences, one theme of their trips remains clear: whether you are playing with kids in the streets of the Philippines, or watching wildebeest with students in South Africa, relationships are essential. It is through these relationships that we can make a difference in the world for Jesus Christ.