Bethel Students Changed During Spring Break
BY OLIVIA JOHANAN (’11)
Most people shudder at the thought of strip clubs and brothels, but that’s not the case for Emily Henry (’12) and 20 other Bethel students. They spent their spring break outside these types of places boldly sharing their faith in some of the darkest places in Atlanta, Ga. What Henry didn’t know then was that being a part of changing other people’s lives would eventually change her own. As a friend and someone who travelled with her last year on the same trip, I sat down with her in her dorm room to talk about this year’s experience.
Emily was definitely different. Typically soft-spoken and shy, she was excited about something. That ‘something’ had to do with the recent mission trip to Atlanta, a trip started and coordinated solely by Bethel students last year and again this year. This time around, Henry acted as one of the leaders of the trip.
“Last year I loved the trip and I wanted other Bethel students to experience it!” said Henry.
Henry began to prepare early, but it almost ended before it began. The group faced the responsibility of paying for their transportation in the city. That’s when Bethel’s Alumni Services intervened with a plan that would work for both groups. The mission team agreed to volunteer their time at the alumni “Winter Escape” event in return for funds to pay for a bus.
Henry, with a big smile on her face exclaimed, “It was totally God. It was amazing!”
Now that the new leader had transportation covered, Henry, along with the help of another Bethel student, Jennifer Moya (’12), and two other adults, led a group of Bethel students to Atlanta to work with the Salvation Army, Experience Missions and Micah Challenge. Students participated in seminars put on by the three organizations. The team was split into groups. One team did landscaping for a church and another painted a mural for the church’s children’s ministry.
Students would also go out nightly and find homeless people and feed them and talk to them about Christ. Henry recalls the last night where the group went on a prayer walk on Metropolitan Ave., a very dangerous part of Atlanta. The group ended up in front of a strip club and prayed for the people inside and also talked and prayed with people outside of houses in that area that are also used as brothels.
“I enjoyed watching the group step out of their comfort zone,” said Henry.
Another favorite moment for Henry was when some girls from her group went up to a group of men playing football in Centennial Park in hopes that they could witness to them. Henry described that the men proceeded to pray for the girls and they sang worship songs in the middle of the park. The men’s group ended up being a mission house for recovering drug and alcohol addicts.
Henry enjoyed watching these events occur and seeing how it was impacting not only her, but the group as well.
“Just hearing Bethel students say how it [the trip] was changing how they wanted to live, showed me that the trip changed us,” said Henry.
She was quick to add that she would love to return to Atlanta next year.
After hearing about these experiences, I started to realize what that ‘something’ different about Emily was when I first sat down with her. This new leadership role had changed her life. She now saw life as a mission. Not only was she changed during this experience, but her testimony inspired change in me too.