DBU Greek Life Members Spend Two Weeks of Summer Serving in Chile

Group of students in Chile.

Dallas, TX - While most students are quick to head off for vacation or home to relax after finals, a team of 19 students, all members of Greek organizations at Dallas Baptist University, spent their first two weeks of summer serving in Chile.

The team arrived in Santiago, Chile, on Saturday, May 16, and from there, part of the group went on to La Serena, Chile, while the others remained in Santiago. Both teams taught in private Christian schools, stayed with host families, and attended church in their respective cities over the course of two weeks.

The group in Santiago, led by Chris Holloway, Director of Global Missions, served with Grace College, while the team in La Serena, led by Shannen Smith, Director of DBU North, served with Amazing Grace English College.

For the students from DBU, the two weeks in Chile provided a cultural experience unlike anything many of them had ever experienced. The majority of the DBU students spoke little to no Spanish, and some had never traveled out of the country.

Jacob Rohrer, senior Business Management major and vice president of Tau Alpha Phi, bonded quickly with his host family, despite linguistic and cultural barriers. "I was extremely nervous about traveling to a foreign country for two weeks," Rohrer explained, "but my host family welcomed me into their home and treated me like one of their own."

In addition to experiencing the cultural aspects of Chile, the group spent a large amount of their time teaching English, and the interactions with the students proved fruitful. Members of the DBU team explained that the Chilean students were incredibly receptive to learning from English-speakers, and often times would ask questions over the course of a class period.

"We were able to scholastically engage with the students in the classroom through practicing English and leading discussions about Christian culture," said Shannen Smith of the La Serena team.

This eagerness to learn from the Chilean students presented unique opportunities to share the Gospel both in and out of the classroom. Both teams taught Christian culture classes over the course of the two weeks in addition to English, and Gospel-centered conversations took place daily in this context. DBU students were able to share their personal testimonies of faith in the classroom, in chapel services, and in church. Each team had the opportunity to put on chapel services for each age group at the schools, complete with games, worship songs, skits, and messages.

On their last full day in the school, the La Serena team had a unique opportunity to wash the feet of some of the older students at Amazing Grace. According to sophomore Psychology major and Sigma Chi Eta member Shelby Hackett, "I learned more about Christ's love and what that looks like than I ever thought possible in a two week period."

These encounters were equally impactful for the DBU groups as they were for the students and families of Chile. "We truly fell in love with the students," stated Chris Holloway of the Santiago team. "As much as we may have impacted them, they have made a huge impression on our hearts as well."

"We had the incredible opportunity to unite as a body of believers and work alongside and encourage the ministry that is already working in the lives of the Chilean people," said Hannah Hollabaugh, junior Biology major and vice president of Alpha Epsilon Chi. "The Gospel knows no cultural or linguistic barriers and it was humbling and awesome to see the Lord move in big ways."

This trip was part of a Greek Life mission trip initiative that was started in March of 2015 with a pilot trip to Temuco, Chile. Additionally, the relationships that Dallas Baptist University has with schools in Chile have been strengthened through this trip, and the DBU students hope to continue to strengthen this relationship in the years to come.

Written by Courtney Hackett

Courtney Hackett (Smith) served as the Assistant to the Vice President for Communications in the University Communications division at DBU.