Putting Classes into Practice

m.grevenJourney Missions

Putting Classes into Practice

FLBC Students Katie Strommen and Andrew Carlson reflect on their trip to Oaxaca led by Jon Nelson, head of the Journey Missions department.

Even manual labor can glorify God. Even separated by a language barrier, you can show the love of Christ to others. The FLBC Cross Cultural class witnessed this truth on their ministry trip in March.

Earlier this spring,  the Free Lutheran Bible College offered the Cross-Cultural class which culminated in a week-long mission trip to Mexico. Students Katie Strommen and Andrew Carlson invested in this class and they were excited to share their experience in Oaxaca.

“A takeaway I had is that God works through everything for His good - understanding it’s letting Him take over your life. While I was down there, anything that I saw as bad at first, God turned into something for good. I’m trying to let that impact my everyday life as well. It's trusting that everything that God has for you is His perfect plan,” Katie reflected on her return from the ministry trip.

In the Cross-Cultural class, Journey Missions’ department head Jon Nelson equipped the students for what an international missions’ trip looks like. Jon prepared the students with insight that would practically be applied on their trip. Their team partnered with Foundation for His Ministry (FFHM), which is a ministry establishing Christ-centered children’s homes in Mexico.


The FLBC Cross-Cultural Class Works on the Irrigation System 

Days in Mexico started early. Andrew and Katie both shared that devotional times in the mornings were key in preparing for the day. The team assisted the FFHM location in Oaxaca by working on an irrigation project and giving the facility a fresh coat of paint. A full day on one of the two work crews finished with evenings with the kids of FFHM. Many a bracelet was woven and a soccer game played.

Because most of the team did not know Spanish, connecting with the kids in ways other than conversation was a challenge but a priority. Andrew bonded with Fernando while in Oaxaca. “He was this little, tiny peanut of a boy. And he had a very contagious laugh…Once, on the third or fourth day, we just got done coming in from the field from digging and my hands are all sore and cut up. I was like, ‘I don't really want to go back out to work.’ Fernando turns around and looks at me and his face lights up. It was the biggest smile on his face and he wrapped his arms around me…my heart melted in that moment,” Andrew said. It was a perfect reminder of the reason why they were there.  


Left: Andrew Carlson and Isaiah Miller take a quick break. Right: Katie Strommen reaches  to get every spot

Katie was impacted by the opportunity to see the Kingdom of God in Mexico through the work of FFHM. One story that stood out to Katie was about a young girl who was finally able to forgive her mother because of the love and encouragement she had found at the FFHM home. “I think that really shows how much work is being done in the hearts of the kids and how amazing the ministry is …The staff have such a huge role. The kids are happy to be there. I think the house parents play a huge part in that, providing them with a safe home. They are there for the kids spiritually and emotionally” she said.

Ministry trips often affect how we see the mission field when we get back home. Students like Katie and Andrew emphasized how much this trip opened their eyes to the ways they can respond to opportunities to serve back at home. “Some people are called [to ministry] in other nations, other people are called to do it in our own State. It's being aware and attentive to actually applying yourself to those opportunities. We're here to spread the word of God,” Andrew said.

The FLBC team was willing to serve the Kingdom of God with everything from giving a hug to building an irrigation system. “Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” (1 John 3:18) Praise God for students who are striving to put this verse into practice.

- Madison Greven, Communications Coordinator for AFLC World Missions