Developing Servant Leaders. Transforming Lives.
David Cook, J.D. lecturing students in front of Wartburg Castle

Dallas, TX – Travel Study trips are one of the best ways for DBU students to take learning to a higher level. Recently, a group of students returned from such a trip, exploring the lives and legacies of Martin Luther and Dietrich Bonhoeffer while venturing through the country of Germany.

From the Protestant Reformation, which is being commemorated this year for the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s posting of the 95 Theses, to the era of World War II and the Christian resistance to the Nazi regime led by Lutheran pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, students journeyed to some of the most pivotal locations in history.

The sun setting over the Nuremberg town square, Nuremberg, Germany

One of the most powerful settings was the small village of Wittenberg, where Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church. Stevi Perkins, a senior communications major, described the experience: “To read about Luther in a textbook is certainly impactful, but to walk in the steps of Luther stirs something in your soul. It causes you to question the depth of your personal convictions.”

At each spot, DBU professors, including Dr. Brent Thomason, Dr. Michael Whiting, Dr. Jay Harley, and David Cook delivered compelling lectures about the importance of these historical figures and their times, offering insights into how Luther and Bonhoeffer’s influence continues to this day.

While seeing the sights is an important part of the travel study experience, perhaps the greatest learning takes place through the myriad of conversations cultivated and shared throughout the trip. Thomason noted how valuable these conversations are to the overall learning experience: “When we are able to have time to answer specific questions from students and branch off into a discussion about a particular observation they have made,” Thomason reflected, “it makes the trip come alive in a different way. I love being able to engage the students beyond the lecture.”

The class in front of Lutherdenkmal Statue depicting Luther and his greatest supporters

As the group finished the trip, other students reflected on the impact that it had already begun to make on their perspectives. Jojo Villagonzalo, a student in the Masters of Arts in International Studies program, said “Being able to learn about Martin Luther, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and World War II while visiting a number of historic places was nothing short of amazing.”

These students, walking metaphorically in the steps of Luther and Bonhoeffer, became witnesses to the impact a Christian servant can have on the world. The lessons they have acquired through their travel study immersion will continue to shape their perspective as they press on in their larger journey of lifelong education.

Weston Schubert, a student in DBU’s MBA program, reflected on this lesson. “The two primary figures, Martin Luther and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, displayed profound courage and resolve when standing firm against those who opposed the Christian faith,” Schubert stated. “These God-fearing men served as great examples for how I am to imitate Christ, not only in joyous times, but in times of suffering, trial, and pain.”

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