On a Mission for God

By Tiffany Talley

Dorothy Talley, 68, never thought she would see the day that she would sit on her own front porch. Thirty years ago, the very house she is living in was but a shack with four rooms.  

Talley raised all 7 of her children in that very shack. Laundry was done in the bathtub, hot water boiled on the stove, and home heated by a wooden furnace. Life was hard but she made it through only to commit to caring for and raising eight of her grandchildren in addition to her own.  

Then on a bright day in 1996, God answered her prayers –the workers came.  

It starts with a love of God, and people. Mission trips provide a variety of unique opportunities to respectfully serve and experience other cultures. A commitment to any one of our mission projects yields a myriad of opportunities to be challenged to grow, be of service, be humbled, and be forever changed. 

 

Here at USF, these student-led organizational advised projects provide grounds for amazing and often life-changing experiences.  They also require extensive preparation and fundraising. 

 Each project is carefully designed to facilitate growth in spirituality, servant leadership, intercultural understanding, social justice, and the connection between service and learning.   

“It definitely stimulates personal growth. Mission trips take you out of your comfort zone when you are serving other people”, said Kylie McCracken of USF Christian Challenge Baptist Collegiate Ministries.  

 McCracken, along with 50-60 students participate in mission trips to England, Peru, Africa, Australia, Mexico and most recently New Orleans to participate in the Hurricane Katrina clean up.  

Our soul passion is to love God and our neighbor with all we have,” reads the banner that hangs in the lobby of the organization. Students raise funding and receive support from local churches to finance mission trips taken.

Talley now resides in a renovated five bedroom, two-bathroom home fully refurnished and funded by mission groups from all across the US.

“It’s a blessing to know even with all the travesty in the world, there are still good people willingly to do the work of God,” said Talley. 

Jennifer Smith, Director of USF Crosswinds Wesley Foundation agrees with Talley. “Mission trips give you a sense of love for all people. God loves you, you should love others,” she said. 

Crosswinds of USF recently re-opened as a ministry in January of this year. Already off to a fast start, the servant –minded organization provides services to local homeless shelters and domestic violence shelters including food give-aways.

They will participate in an AIDS Awareness “Walk-through South Africa” experience in connection with the Van Dyke Church on November 16, 2007. In addition to its service in local communities, USF crosswinds supports and sponsors two South African children. Njabuliso Gwebu, ages 3, of Swaziland and Memory Tembo, age 2, of Zambia are children of AIDS ridden families that receive care from Crosswinds every month through fundraising from concerts and donations. 

 USF Crosswinds along with other service organizations will participate in “One Voice,” a Thanksgiving service held on November 19, 2007 at 8:00pm in ENA 105. 

USF provides several opportunities to get involved in serving the community including its Center for Civic Engagement and Volunteerism located in the basement of the Marshall Center. The Center offers different resources to get involved and provide memorable and valuable experiences of a lifetime, not to mention boost your resume. 

 “We might do little things, but we make big impacts,” said McCracken as she reflected on her mission trip to New Orleans.    

 

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