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Evangel Spring Break: More than 120 to participate in service trips around the world

Published on Feb 29, 2016 by Katie Haney

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – More than 120 Evangel University students, faculty, staff and alumni will be participating in service trips around the world during spring break. Seven groups will visit different countries, and five groups will travel stateside.

“Research has shown that students who participate in a cultural awareness experience expand their worldview,” said Dr. Sandy Friesen, chair of the Intercultural Studies Department and service opportunities coordinator.

Friesen, Dr. Sandy 200dpi
Dr. Sandy Friesen, coordinator of service opportunities and intercultural studies at Evangel University (CLICK TO ENLARGE) // Photo by: Paul K. Logsdon

“While each trip will be unique, each will work toward fulfilling the mission of Evangel University; to serve and impact the church and society globally,” she said.


A team of six students and faculty will travel to Volgograd, Moscow, and St. Petersburg to visit historical sites. While there, they will collaborate with Chi Alpha ministries and serve with local churches. Dr. Steve Smallwood, assistant professor of biblical studies, will lead the team, and Elissa Raatz, junior, will serve as student leader.

England – Birmingham & London

Dr. Jeremy Harris, associate professor of computer information systems, will lead a team of Evangel students on a 10-day cultural and service trip to London and Birmingham, England. Six students will accompany him, and they will serve with Sheldon Community Church. McKenzie DeWitt and Tori Pursell will serve as student leaders.

England – London

Students in Evangel’s Adult Studies Program will travel to England to experience and visit historical and academic sights in London. Lisa Tyson, director of adult and graduate studies, will lead the team of eight as they visit sights such as Buckingham Palace, Kensington Gardens, and the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, and volunteer at a local church and their charity foodbank.


A team of seven will travel to Thessaloniki, Greece, to taste a variety of experiences. Students will visit a Roma camp and travel to the historical, biblical city of Philippi. From reaching out to and building relationships with university students by inviting them to iHeart Café, to partnering with the A21 Campaign in order to raise awareness of human trafficking, the team will also assist Tony and Jamie Sebastian in their entrepreneurial work in Greece. Donna Trower, career marketing coordinator in the career services department, will lead the team along with student leader Karen Gomez.


Shonna Crawford, assistant professor of education, will lead a team of 10 students to Corozal, Belize. Students will spend the majority of the time teaching students and training teachers in PreK-8th grade schools. The team has planned family literacy events and professional development for teachers after school. The team will also have the opportunity to enjoy a snorkeling expedition together

El Salvador

A team of six will be working with Kenton and Elsie Moody in the beautiful, but impoverished area of Santa Ana, El Salvador. Team activities will relate to ministries of their church, La Puerta Abierta, their school, La Escuela Hosana, and the community. Dr. Brenda Adcock, assistant professor of Spanish, will lead the team. Alyssa Wadlow will serve as the student leader.


HeartSong, Evangel’s dynamic traveling music group will travel to Jamaica to work with Teen Challenge International. The team of 19 will be ministering in churches, public schools, and will perform an outdoor concert in the city of Montego Bay. Dr. Bonnie Jenkins, director of HeartSong, will lead the trip.

Five groups travel within the United States

Washington DC

Dr. Jon Spence, director of student leadership studies and ESGA senate advisor, will lead a team of ten students to Washington DC to take part in an intensive two-week study program. While there, the group will tour the White House, the Pentagon and Capitol Hill, as well as sit in on a Supreme Court session. In addition, the team will spend time with Senator Roy Blount, Faith in Action, and the Heritage Foundation. Hannah Beers, Evangel’s student body president, will serve as student leader.

Orlando, Florida

Catalyst, one of Evangel’s traveling student ministry teams, will go to Orlando, Fl. to volunteer at the Orlando Dream Center and Habitat for Humanity, as well as minister in five different churches. Evangel University senior, Alex Ferren, will lead this multifaceted team of 20 as they use their talents of speaking, singing, and coordinating to serve.

Niagara Falls, New York

Rain, another student ministry team at Evangel, will be traveling to Niagara Falls to partner with Pastor Jim Cassidy at Walnut Ave Christian Church. The team of 18 will lead three full church services, and serve people in the community through youth rallies, community service projects and street ministry.

St. Louis Dream Center

Tina Moore, director of career services, will lead a team of four to the St. Louis Dream Center. The vision of the St. Louis Dream Center is to impact St. Louis by addressing peoples’ physical, material, and spiritual needs in a practical way. The team will have the opportunity to participate in doing this through community outreach, children, youth and food ministry.

East St. Louis, Illinois

Encounter, a children’s ministry team of six led by Zachery Johnson, will travel to East St. Louis, Illinois. There they will volunteer at the Christian Activity Center, and serve at REVIVE Church in Collinsville, Ill. While at the Christian Activity Center, the team will offer their services in leading nightly devotions, spending time with the kids, and helping the center in whatever capacity it may need. While at REVIVE, the team will conduct two services and minister to the children there.

For additional information, contact Sandy Friesen at 417-865-2815, ext. 8525.


WRITTEN BY: Katie Haney — read about her EU experience here —