Students’ Applied Learning Experience Proves Challenging and Eye-opening
As a part of Grace College’s new Applied Learning initiative, a program that connects students to skill/life-building experiences and opportunities outside the classroom, freshman Daniel Moore traveled to Santa Cruz, Bolivia this summer where he is working with South American Mission (SAM) serving church ministries in need. Moore is an accounting major at Grace and is earning Applied Learning credits, as well as using this trip as his cross-cultural field experience which is a required element in every Grace student’s course of study.
In Bolivia, Moore has visited several orphanages, painted and repaired buildings, and ministered to those in need, among many other activities. He also traveled to Santiago, Bolivia to help further the construction of the local church.
This June, he joined another SAM team on an excursion to the department of Beni on the Rio Blanco, the Itenez, and the Mamoré Rivers. There they provided medical supplies to the inhabitants of ten villages in the jungle. The group used “The Jesus Film” and other videos to reach out to the natives with the message of the gospel.
Moore recounts one particularly moving incident on his first Beni trip: “At one of the villages, there was a six-year-old girl who had meningitis when she was younger. She had to be carried by her father wherever she went. We were able to supply them with a new wheelchair… The best part is that her mother had just dreamt that a boat would bring a wheelchair for her daughter in the morning.”
As a result of this eye-opening experience, Moore explains that this summer is not just about getting credit hours or fulfilling a degree requirement; the trip is changing his worldview as well. He shared three important lessons that he is learning in an essay about his first month in Bolivia: “First, God calls diversity to the mission field; he calls the strong, the weak, the handsome and pretty, the ugly, the educated and the drop-outs. Second, with God’s help, I am learning to talk to people before forming too much of an opinion about them. After I do, I always discover their unique stories and gain understanding into why they act the way they do. Third, God is also continuing to teach me to slow down and be patient… I can be a hard block of clay, reverting back to my former ways, but God is the master-potter and He is molding me little by little.”
Moore will be returning to Grace in the fall. Like many other students who are taking part in the Applied Learning program at Grace this summer, he will undoubtedly have gained a better and bigger picture of the world beyond the college classroom. Thanks to recent enhancements of Grace’s curriculum, students like Moore will continue to benefit immensely from an increasing number of practical experiences that are created to prepare and grow students in ways that they could not have otherwise imagined.
Grace College and Seminary is an evangelical Christian community of higher education that offers undergraduate and graduate degrees and applies biblical values in strengthening character, sharpening competence and preparing for service. Grace College also offers flexible online and hybrid-online graduate degrees, on-campus and online degree completion programs, and highly affordable, easily accessible two-year degree programs in Fort Wayne and Indianapolis. U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review have regularly named Grace as one of America’s Best Colleges and a “Best Midwestern College” respectively. The 180-acre main campus is located in the historic resort town of Winona Lake, near Warsaw, Indiana.