Honors Spotlight: International Mission Trips

By Emily Ghena
Biology Major,  Honors College

Clothes on a drying line

The Grand Canyon University Honors College mission trip drew our team closer as we served the native people of the Dominican Republic. Together, our team was the hands and feet of Jesus as we worked with the Student International Missions Organization to make an impact for Christ in the city of Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic.

Mission Trip to the Dominican Republic

For the duration of our two-week trip, our honors team was able to select an occupational ministry site to serve such as medicine, dental, social work, PT, sports, education, special education, marketing and more. Passionately, our students served the poor, cross-culturally encountered God, shared the Good News and grew in discipleship.

During my stay in Jarabacoa, I had the opportunity to couple my passion for mission work with dental care. For two full weeks, I worked at the Students International dental office as a dental assistant for a full-time missionary dentist. This unique ministry site, functioning as a clinic, provided free dental care to the impoverished people living in Jarabacoa. To best serve the missionary dentist, I prepared for incoming patients, handed the dentist instruments during procedures and shared with patients the importance of dental hygiene.

Consequently, I left my heart to the beautiful people of the Dominican Republic that I was fortunate enough to serve during my time in Jarabacoa. Not only did I meet many indigenous people, but I also met many brothers and sisters in Christ. I also came to the realization that God is the ruler over the nations. Even with my best intentions to bless the lives of others on a mission trip, the Lord blessed mine.

Honors Trip to Europe

Along with the meaningful experience of the mission trip, the honors Europe trip provides a prime opportunity to connect with fellow honors students. We toured through three different countries in 12 days’ time, visiting England, Ireland and Scotland. Despite all of us going to the same school, nearly all of us went on the trip not knowing each other, but sending time oversees connected us together like cloth fabric. We all left the heat in Phoenix as strangers and came home as a family.

Additionally, the trip was also full of educational opportunities! Developing global citizens remains one of the pillars of the Honors College. There is no better way to learn about cultural awareness then having the opportunity to travel. This trip proved that education is not limited to the four walls of a classroom, but rather prevails as an ongoing process that challenges our thinking and broadens our horizons.

For two weeks, my classroom was on wheels as we passed through the magnificent Scottish Highlands or looked out over the Cliffs of Mohr in Ireland. I learned about the royal monarchs of England, the importance of the family’s Scottish clan and corresponding tartan and the division of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland rooted in conflicting religious beliefs and loyalties to the queen.

While the trip was an investment of both time and resources, the trip was undoubtedly a priceless experience. Simplistic though it may be, Dr. Seuss sums it up best: “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

Interested in learning more about your opportunities to join the Honors College at Grand Canyon University? Visit our website or contact us using the Request More Information button at the top of the page!

More about Emily Ghena:

Emily Ghena is a junior majoring in biology with an emphasis in pre-dentistry and a minor in entrepreneurial studies. Emily has dedicated herself to the Honors College, serving as the College of Science, Engineering and Technology liaison, developing the Honors STEMists organization and serving as a peer mentor to fellow biology majors. She also is on the Honors Club board as the secretary. Emily even serves the GCU AZ Health Occupations Student Association (AzHOSA) as a chair for the academic excellence strategy area. Emily plans to attend dental school with goals to one day open up her own general dentistry private practice.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.