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July 9, 2020 | Andrew Hurst

Waxahachie, TX

Corry Scott, Student Trip Leader

At Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) , many students participate in the university’s Mission TEN (To Every Nation) trips every summer. Mission TEN is an initiative at SAGU to pray, proclaim the gospel, and send workers to every nation on earth. However, due to COVID-19, overseas missions trips were no longer feasible for the summer and fall of 2020.

SAGU Sophomore Corry Scott was one of several student leaders looking forward to the upcoming Mission TEN trips this summer. Scott with the Assistant Team Leader (ATL), Jade Jackson, and the six other team members were expecting to minister at The River Church in Asia Pacific this May, only to learn the trip was canceled. Still, they remained positive and sought creative solutions. They set up a Zoom meeting with the global worker, Amy Farley, to discuss the possibility of a virtual trip.

“When we asked how we could support her and her ministry, I lightly mentioned a virtual mission trip,” said Scott. “I wasn’t hopeful about it because I had no idea or vision of how it would work.” To his surprise, he received an email from Amy a few days later. She and her Associate, Jon, agreed on his suggestion.

Jade Jackson (left) and Haley Cwiakala (bottom) help teach the River’s Conversations Class

“At the time, due to COVID-19, our Life Skill classes were being done online, and it seemed like a great fit,” said Amy. She and her team began lesson planning for the SAGU team to help lead the The River Educational Consultancy Life Skills classes.

The student team split into two groups, with each helping to teach one section of the class. However, due to schedule conflicts and the 12-hour time difference, a few of the students were unable to participate. Starting in May, Scott, along with fellow SAGU students Denise Soerens and Bethany Weldon, led one section while Jade led the other team with student Haley Cwiakala.

Scott explained that the life skills course focused on teaching character traits. Each month, students learned about a specific character trait and how to apply it to their lives. For instance, the month of June’s trait was flexibility, certainly a timely subject amid a global pandemic. Meanwhile, Jackson, the ATL, led the conversations class, which focused on helping children to learn English by having conversations with her and Haley Cwiakala.

“It was super heartwarming getting to see the kids and get to know them,” said Jackson. “Even though our trips in person were canceled, I was able to make connections with leaders and kids that I wouldn’t have got to make if we didn’t have the technology to do it virtually.”

Both Scott and Jade expressed that while a virtual trip provided many conveniences, it also presented some challenges.

“Virtual interaction is certainly inferior to physical interaction,” said Scott. “However, virtual interaction was much better than none at all. We still had the privilege to interact in conversation and teaching, which are the main purposes of the class.”

Amy Farley (far left), Alexandra Hicks (far right), and the River Church Staff

Because of the 12-hour time difference between Texas and Asia Pacific, the team members worked in the early mornings and late evenings. “It was difficult at first,” said Jade. “It started to become easier when it became routine. Of course, we had our obstacles with connection errors, and it was hard getting up early and staying up late… but it was all worth it.”

The SAGU team worked closely with Alexandra Hicks, one of the church’s life skills teachers and a SAGU alumna.

“Communication was something that had to be very planned and strategic due to us being on completely opposite times,” said Hicks. “Last minute connections just were not feasible and had the potential to be more of a hindrance than a help. Planning it all out ahead of time, and staying on top of communication through email made everything much more manageable.”

She went on to say, “It was such a lovely experience, mostly due to the personalities and temperaments of the girls I had working with me. With anything, there are positives and negatives, but they were able to handle it and approach it all with grace and flexibility, which is so important in global work!”

Reflecting on this trip’s unique circumstances, Scott and Jade expressed how blessed they felt to participate still and work with The River.

“Our prayer and hope is that the exposure to the truth of Jesus will one day lead these students on a journey of truth that will lead them directly to a decision to put their faith in Jesus,” said Scott.

While all involved in the trip would have preferred in-person interaction, the virtual trip allowed SAGU students to experience still the impact of interacting with  individuals and people of a different nation and culture.

Global worker Amy Farley is pleased with how effective the virtual trip went and shared how the youth enjoyed their time with the SAGU team.  “Our students continue to ask when they will be able to see and talk with the SAGU students again — and remember all of their names. The SAGU team, even virtually, made a huge impact on our Life Skills students.”

As a leading Christian university, SAGU educates and prepares individuals who want to serve Christ and others. SAGU helps students discover and develop their God-given callings in a Spirit-empowered, learning community.

We believe in affordable tuition, made possible in part through the financial support of donors who embrace the mission of SAGU and the importance of affordable, accredited programs to train Christians for leadership in ministry, business, education, and service.

Most majors are available in-person in Waxahachie, TX, and online through a wide range of associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees.

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