Huntington, Ind.—While sitting in the airport in Durban, South Africa, Katie Rodgers heard the familiar sound of an American accent, something she hadn’t heard in a couple months. As she turned and looked over her shoulder, she saw a man wearing a St. Louis Cardinals baseball cap. As a Chicago Cubs fan, that was strike one against him. She then noticed he was wearing a Taylor University T-shirt. Strike two. Despite the two glaringly obvious strikes against him, she ventured over to the man and began a conversation about what led him to South Africa. A recent graduate of Taylor, the young man explained how he is living in Durban and working with a ministry in the same area as Rodgers. It was an encouragement to meet and talk with a fellow American that had a bit in common with her. “My ‘enemy’ in America turns out to be a friendly face abroad!” Rodgers said.
Rodgers is studying in Mophela, South Africa, a town located near Durban, through the PRIME experience offered at Huntington University. PRIME, Practical Research and Immersion through Ministry Effectiveness, is a part of Huntington University’s Department of Ministry and Missions. Through the program, students devote seven months to hands-on ministry away from the classroom.
Through her experience, Rodgers has encountered new obstacles and challenges each day. Although it is challenging, she feels as if she is gaining practical learning experience while being abroad.
“I have loved my experience,” said Rodgers, a senior missions major from Lincoln, Ill. “It is challenging each and every day, but I truly enjoy being challenged. I am getting to use everything I’ve been taught in the classroom in the last three years.”
In Mophela, Rodgers is working with an organization called Lily of the Valley, a home with 112 children, most of them having some medical problems. She heard about the orphanage through a church in Indianapolis and felt a strong desire to work with the children. Every day brings different tasks, but Rodgers enjoys being there for the children. Her responsibilities include a great deal of driving to appointments and school, grocery shopping, helping with a homework club, and generally assisting the house mothers.
“I am learning more and more every day,” Rodgers said. “Something that I’ve realized so much while being here is that even though you might not be talented or gifted in an area, that doesn’t mean that you can’t do it to glorify God.”
With summer approaching in the Southern Hemisphere, Rodgers is concerned with the increasing threat of malaria. With 112 children to care for, health is a major concern.
“Lily of the Valley can use your prayers for health and healing,” she said.
# # #