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The Echo
Taylor University, Upland, IN
Tuesday, April 16, 2024
The Echo
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TWO sends team across the world for spring break

Nine trips of students will serve

In the months leading up to spring break, students across campus prepare to be sent both across the country and the world to serve the Lord on Lighthouse mission trips.

The week of March 25, nine teams will serve in various locations with Taylor World Outreach (TWO).

Chip Bii, director of TWO, and his team coordinate Lighthouse ministries, which connect the university with local churches, organizations and ministries — both domestic and abroad. 

“Most of the trips come out of ongoing, existing partnerships,” Bii said. 

Two teams will travel to Brazil — one to Sao Paulo to serve with Zion Church and the other to Caxias do Sul. This is the first year TWO has organized a trip to Brazil. 

One team will serve at ECHO Global Farm in Fort Myers, Florida, where students will assist on the farm and interact with global agriculture researchers. 

Another team is headed to Daytona Beach, Florida, to minister to residents, vacationers and the homeless. 

A team will also travel to New York City to serve alongside International Project in street evangelism — a trip disrupted by COVID-19 in the past.  

Two trips will bring students to the Dominican Republic — one, a first-time Olson Hall trip with GO Ministries, and the other, a returning trip partnering with Students International to serve in the occupational ministry realm. 

Another team will return to Cancun, Mexico, to serve with children and orphans alongside a ministry called Back2Back. 

The final team will return to the Bahamas with Praying Pelican Ministries to assist local pastors and relocated Haitian communities. 

In comparing the level of student engagement with Lighthouse trips this year with past years, Bii is encouraged to see a growing desire in the Taylor student body to go out and serve. 

“The metric here is not the numbers,” he said. “The metric is the engagement, the level of engagement and the enthusiasm that comes with that is very different than the past … I pray that that continues and that eventually, it will just become a culture of like, we’ll have fun on campus, but also, we are very serious and thoughtful about what we’re doing and we’re engaging in what God is doing around the world.” 

In preparation for their various trips, students serving with Lighthouse ministries participate in a class on Monday nights where they pray, discuss fundraising and are equipped to serve in whatever capacity their trip will require. 

Maria Fish, a junior politics, philosophy and economics major and co-director for Lighthouse and spring break trips in TWO, recently traveled to the Basque Country, Spain, on a combination J-term and Contemporary Christian Belief class Lighthouse trip led by Brad and Kiersten Seeman. 

The team of 14 spent their time teaching English to Spanish students, ministering to international workers and witnessing to and relating with Spanish college students.  

Several of these students remarked that Fish’s team had a different way about them — a tangible winsomeness that Fish attributes to the sense of unity they had built before leaving for the trip. 

For those preparing to serve on a Lighthouse trip, Fish emphasizes the power of prayer. 

“Pray fervently, for your trip, for your team,” Fish said. “I mean, the Lord answered so many of our prayers. So many little things, unexpected things, like the weather.” 

Like Fish, sophomore marketing major Lily Gerry works with TWO as co-director of community outreach. 

Last spring, Gerry participated in a spring break trip to Nassau, Bahamas, led by Jeff Wallace and Bahamian Taylor alumnus Nick Cartwright. 

While there, the 12 of them stayed at an inland retreat center and worked alongside a local Baptist church to build a new sanctuary for their congregation. 

“If you feel a calling to go, just go,” Gerry said. “Pray about it a lot but also just do it. Even if you don’t feel like, ‘Oh, the Lord’s making it abundantly clear to me that I should go on this trip,’ he’s gonna use it if you’re obedient — if you feel a slight call.”

This spring, as nine Lighthouse teams prepare to leave, Bii and the TWO team remain expectant for gospel impact and transformation.

In thinking about his excitement for this year’s spring break trips, Bii’s true joy is in the power and plans of the Lord.

 “Whatever God does is what excites me,” he said.