By Laura Benson
This year over Iowa State’s spring break, 12 college freshmen in The Salt Company hit the road to spend the week together in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The trip was an opportunity to learn about world religions and cultures and spend time interacting closely with people of different backgrounds. While many college students spend their spring breaks relaxing or partying, these students contributed their time and money to learn more about God’s heart for the nations. The group carpooled up Friday after classes and started off the next morning in the classroom studying the Bible together. Their eyes were opened to a thread that runs throughout the whole of scripture: that God desires for us to both enjoy his grace AND extend his glory.
Each day the students learned about a new world religion following the THUMB model: Tribal, Hindu, Unreligious, Muslim, and Buddhist. They then had the opportunity to go out and engage with people within those religious. Afternoons were spent at a Buddhist temple, a Hindu temple, a Somali mall, and a Hmong market. Each meal was ethnically diverse, pulling most of these small-town Iowa kids out of their comfort zones. The students met people who may have had to flee their home as refugees during a time of war to come to an unknown city across the world. This helped them develop new empathy and openness to internationals.
The impact of this trip was felt deeply by students. Each day the group had an opportunity to share what they had been learning and how they were processing things. Two students decided through the course of the week that they wanted to give their lives to missions, committing to set their sights on the 10-40 window. Another girl spoke through tears on the last night, saying “I’m realizing I have absolutely no excuses for not doing the things that God wants me to do. God is worthy of absolutely everything I can give him and so much more.” Along with learning about God’s heart for the nations, these students created lifelong memories and friendships with one another. Praise God for how he is shaping students early on in their college career, setting them on a new trajectory of living for him and caring deeply for those he loves.