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07-13-2014


UC Faculty and Students Leave Macedonia with Missioned Hearts

 


Williamsburg, KY, - University of the Cumberlands’ (UC) Mission and Ministries professors Dr. Bob Dunston and Dr. Fred Cummings do more than just tell their students how to be servants and advocates for Christ; they show them. This past May, they journeyed to Skopje, Macedonia with four of their students, along with Cummings’ wife Marge, to share God’s word in another culture.

Dr. Fred Cummings, who had been to Macedonia twice before, organized the trip with the help of his wife, Marge. Cummings realized from his past experiences that the trip had been a great blessing to the students who participated and felt called to return. Dunston, who has been a frequent international traveler over the years, wanted to be a part of this trip as well.

“My interest arose from a desire to see not just what the needs in other nations were but also what God was doing in other nations,” said Dunston. “We sometimes think nobody does Christianity better than Americans, but God is doing amazing things around the world. It is also great to have an opportunity to meet, talk with, and worship with fellow Christians around the world.”

The group prayer-walked through parts of the city, encouraged young Christians, participated in Bible studies, developed relationships, and toured the area. Cummings and his wife provided a seminar based on Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages that was attended by over 30 individuals. Dunston preached and the service concluded with “How Great Thou Art” being sung simultaneously in both Macedonian and English. The service was a joyful reminder that God’s Kingdom includes people of all nations, ethnic groups, and languages.

The group enjoyed listening to Dunston preach in God’s Voice Baptist Church on Sunday morning through an interpreter and Dunston considers these times to be some of his fondest memories of the trip.

“This was a new experience for me,” said Dunston. It was so moving to hear two languages being used in singing, praying, and speaking and realize God was being praised in both languages and that the different languages did not prevent us from worshipping as brother and sisters in Christ. Hearing ‘How Great Thou Art’ being sung simultaneously in both Macedonian and English, along with the service, was a joyful reminder that God’s Kingdom included people of all nations, ethnic groups, and languages.”

The trip concluded with a day and a half in Greece including an extended visit to the ruins of Philippi and the traditional site of Lydia’s baptism. The group had the opportunity to dip their feet in the stream where Lydia washed away her sins for Jesus. Lydia was the first convert to the Christian faith in Philippi. On the last evening in Greece the group enjoyed a dinner in Thessaloniki on the shore of the Aegean Sea. The beauty and the history of Macedonia and Greece were a wonderful reminder and confirmation of God’s love and existence.

Whether students who participate in international missions are religion majors or not, they will most definitely be affected by a trip such as this one. Many missionaries travel to different parts of the world with the expectations of being a blessing when indeed most of the time, they are the ones who are blessed by the experience.

“It helped our students see a greater world out there – a world that is different in some ways from the world they know but a world with people who need Christ and other people who are giving themselves in Christian service,” said Dunston. “Christians we met were encouraged that we would come from America to meet and be with them. We were encouraged by their commitment. We came back aware of the difficulties the Macedonian Christians face and of the difficulties we face, but more aware too of God’s empowerment to overcome the obstacles we may face.”

The trip was a great success and everyone on the trip wants to go back. They all developed new relationships with people in another nation. Everyone on the trip experienced God’s presence and grew as Christians. They were all blessed by God and were blessings to others as well.

“The experience provided an inspiring opportunity to see God at work in another part of the world and to witness God answering prayers,” said Dunston gratefully. “All those who participated were moved by the faith and commitment of those they met and challenged again to have a greater vision of God’s Kingdom and their role in it.”

Located in Williamsburg, Ky., University of the Cumberlands is an institution of regional distinction, which currently offers four undergraduate degrees in more than 40 major fields of study; 10 pre-professional programs; ten graduate degrees distributed over eight areas, including two doctorates and seven master’s degrees; certifications in education; and online programs. For more information visit www.ucumberlands.edu.