By Brandy Campbell
Twenty-eight Hannibal-LaGrange College students and sponsors ministered to English-speaking youth at the foot of the Swiss Alps this summer.
On July 3, HLG students traveled to Grindelwald, Switzerland, to help with EuroVenture 2004, a camp sponsored by the International Baptist Convention. This year's theme was "Never Too Lost to be Saved" from Luke 15, which includes the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin and the lost (or prodigal) son. The trip marked the seventh year HLG has helped with EuroVenture.
More than 300 youth and leaders from 19 different countries attended the six-day camp. Most campers were children of American military personnel, missionaries and corporate workers.
"We often refer to this trip as a 'Barnabas Mission Trip' because our main purpose is to life up and encourage missionary families, military families and church youth groups," sponsor Rhonda Hufty said.
Many campers have lived throughout Europe, often in areas where there are few Christians. EuroVenture is, for them, a time of renewal and refocus. HLG students sought to offer these students Christian fellowship and friendship.
HLG students provided a variety of activities, including small-group discussion time, Bible studies and worship services.
In addition, they led workshops on a variety of topics, including spiritual growth, personal worship, drama, sign language, personality profiles and spiritual lessons learned from "The Lord of the Rings."
Hannibal students noted that blessings went both ways.
"We came on this trip to encourage and build up these kids, and without them even knowing, they have encouraged us," sophomore Michelle Thompson said. "This experience has been a privilege and a blessing. God is amazing!"
After finishing EuroVenture, HLG students traveled with a youth group to Kaiserslautten, Germany, where they stayed in the homes of military families and members of Faith Baptist Church.
HLG students worked with Faith Baptist youth and led a worship service. Members of New Edition, HLG's traveling repertory theatre troupe, taught the youth several dramas.
"The central purpose of the Germany leg was to encourage the students and their families," Hufty said. "To travel back home with the students from EuroVenture and experience life where they live was a great experience."
After spending four days in Germany, HLG students returned home.
"What an incredible opportunity the Lord gave me with this trip to Switzerland and Germany," said senior Jana Corkern. "It was so encouraging to see the Lord move in and through our team as we worked with these kids from all over Europe. I am thankful that the Lord was able to use me as an encouragement and model in their lives, and I am thankful for the encouragement and blessing each one was to my life."