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Lighthouse Service Trips offer students the chance to travel, learn, and serve around the world during January.

Serving and Learning Across the Globe

  • By: Emily Kozlowski
  • Published:
A student in Spain

All the travels in the story below happened prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Lighthouse Service Trips are a unique travel opportunity for students during J-term, Taylor’s January term. Every year, Taylor World Outreach (TWO) organizes trips to Central Asia, Greece, Nepal, Southeast Asia, Spain, and Uganda. Lighthouse trips go above and beyond regular study abroad programs by allowing students to serve and learn abroad while gaining a life-changing experience. 

We interviewed four students who went on Lighthouse trips this past J-term to learn more about how they saw God working, both at their trip location and in their own hearts. 

Nepal 

Cali-Saunders

Cali Saunders was drawn to travel to Nepal over J-term because of her passion for fighting against human trafficking. 

Throughout their time in Nepal, Saunders and her team learned about ministries that fight human trafficking, taught in a school and Vacation Bible School, spent time with kids in children’s homes, and discovered more about Nepal’s culture.

Saunders was impressed by the importance of community in fighting the war against human trafficking. Rescuing women involves an entire community, which gives the rescued women protection and connections to help them build a new life. 

“Intentional community is not just happening at Taylor, let me tell you,” Saunders said.

Students who travel together on Lighthouse trips often experience deep bonds within the team. The Nepal team shared 65 meals together during the trip which opened the door for vulnerability and meaningful conversations. 

“God is not regulated to a place,” Saunders said. “You do not have to be in the Himalayas to experience God’s majesty.” 

The power of prayer was one of Saunders’ major takeaways from her experience in Nepal. She learned from the Nepalis women who asked for prayers for wisdom.

“Prayer can have the biggest impact,” Saunders said. “God is faithful to answer even when we can’t feel it.”

Spain

Maggie-Anderson

Maggie Anderson was originally drawn to the Spain Lighthouse trip because of the academic element of the trip. Her team received credit for Contemporary Christian Belief, one of Taylor's core general education requirements, while partnering with ministries and students within Basque communities. 

Realizing that my Taylor experience is so much more than the classes I take, I have always wanted to go on a trip with TWO,” Anderson said. “Lighthouse gave me the perfect opportunity to do this as an accounting major and student athlete.”

Prior to traveling together, the team did not know each other very well. So, in the months preceding the trip, Anderson and her team focused on and prayed for a “community of kindness.” 

Our team couldn’t have been a more random group of people from so many different parts of campus, yet we were able to come together under a shared purpose,” Anderson said. “It was then that we were able to enjoy each other and live into our differences while appreciating the hidden similarities.”

In response to how Anderson saw God working in Spain, she said, “God’s work felt muted by the spiritual darkness of the Basque Country at first, but He quickly taught me that I couldn’t limit Him to my own ideas of what ministry should look like.” 

The “global-ness of God” was Anderson’s biggest takeaway from her Lighthouse trip to Spain. Whether it was worshiping in Spanish or seeing God actively working in a place that was so far away from home, the Lord’s presence was undeniably evident.

Greece 

JD-Fritzeen

JD Fritzeen and Cam McLean both went on the Lighthouse trip to Greece, where the team assisted with humanitarian aid work in a refugee camp on the island of Lesvos. Fritzeen said that he has always been passionate about the refugee crisis. Both McLean and Fritzeen said that they felt that God led them to go on this trip.

During their time in Greece, their Lighthouse team served in a crowded refugee camp housing 21,000 refugees, although it was only constructed for 2,500 people. 

“I saw God in the refugees I was working with—in their grace, patience, and hospitality,” Fritzeen said. “They wanted to welcome and make us feel at home in a space they themselves did not feel safe or welcomed in.”

Cam-Mclean

McLean explained his experience ministering to the people as a Matthew 25:45 experience: “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.” McLean gained a new appreciation for the Lord’s sovereignty and a deeper understanding of the implications behind the word “refugee.” 

Not only was God working at the refugee camp in Greece, but He was also working through the team and growing each member. 

“If you go through any sort of difficult experience, it will bond you to the people you’re with, and Lighthouse trips are certainly no exception,” McLean said. “Working in the environment of the refugee camp, we saw some incredibly difficult things, things that broke hearts and melded them together through the process. I grew close with some of my teammates because I was able to share the thoughts of my heart with them as we processed the camp with each other. This vulnerability is the basis for very close-knit, and rich friendships.”

Expand Your Horizons With Lighthouse Service Trips

As they watched the Lord’s work unfold, students learned more about different cultures while partnering with ministries around the world and forming new bonds with friends. 

Each student that was interviewed said the same thing when asked what they would tell someone who may be interested in going on a Lighthouse trip: do it! 

“It will stretch you in so many ways but you will see God in a totally different way,” Fritzeen said. “I highly recommend it.”

“God moved in ways I didn’t think He would, and I was changed and softened in ways I thought I would never be,” said Anderson. “Lighthouse is such a great opportunity to expand your horizons in terms of the globalness of our God. He truly is everywhere and it is crazy to be a part of that.”