By Dr. Lattis Campbell
Led by Dr. Lattis Campbell, a group of Evangel students took the first Global Connections Trip of 2023 to Alaska. While in Alaska, the students experienced a variety of different Alaskan cultures.
When most people think of Alaska, especially wintertime in Alaska, they do not consider homelessness to be a predominate issue. But, across the state, there is a significant homeless population, especially in the Anchorage, Alaska area.
On January 1, 2023, a team of Evangel students and a sponsor left from Springfield to provide service and compassion outreach to the homeless in downtown Anchorage. This trip, sponsored by Global Connections, allowed these students to experience winter in Alaska and gain a better understanding of the harsh and unforgiving environment those without a home experience on a daily basis. This experience also allowed EU students to gain a better concept of the homeless, whether national or international, as people created in God’s image and needing the same love and compassion that God extends to all.
After preparing meals in a downtown Anchorage soup kitchen all morning and then interacting with those who were hungry that lined up in the bitter cold outside to receive a warm meal, one student wrote:
“This trip impacted how I look at homeless people, they are still people and I just feel for them now. Before this I never really paid attention to them and thought very little about it but now I think about why they’re homeless and what they might be going through…I’ll do my best to view homeless people (and really anyone) as brothers or sisters who aren’t yet saved, who need compassion, and I hope I can give them that [and] most importantly I hope I can be shining the light of Christ, pointing them to the one who can save,” said Evan Brinson
Because of this winter trip to Alaska, at least two students on the team feel a vocational calling to go back to Alaska and apply the fruits of their Evangel University degree toward helping meet the social and physical needs of those living in the state. Without trips involving service, compassion, and ministry, Evangel students might not have the opportunity to realize how their Evangel education could enable them to meet the needs of a lost and broken world.
Visit our site for more information on Global Connections opportunities and Evangel’s Center for Compassion.