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Summer ministry promotes cultural appreciation

This article is the second in a two-part series about summer experiences in Africa. For the first installment, read South Africa experience impacts sophomore.

While spring and winter breaks provide opportunities for students to work with church groups and ministry teams, summer vacation allows for extended experiences throughout the world.

After finishing his first year of college at University of California, Irvine (UCI), Josh Yee spent five weeks participating in a ministry outreach in South Africa.

A group of Campus Crusade for Christ (CCFC) students committed to spend their summer serving in a foreign country, with the goal of establishing Christian leaders at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. The team was composed of 17 people: six guys and eight girls, along with three-year-old triplets of the lead couple.

“My Bible study leader at UCI was leading a team there [South Africa],” Yee said. “I’ve been on mission trips to Mexico, but the opportunity to serve in a country I haven’t been to was something I didn’t want to pass up. I also thought that helping to create an environment for Christian fellowship would be an amazing experience.”

After arriving in South Africa, the group was briefed for one day in Johannesburg, the nation’s largest city. Then the team reached the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth.

Yee describes the South African culture as very similar to that of the United States, with a diverse mixture of races and religions.

“Most people spoke English, along with other languages such as Xhosa (Tulsa), Zulu and Afrikaans,” Yee said. “The main thing that stuck out to me about the people was how friendly they were: They were very warm and sincere when you talked with them.”

Although being 11,000 miles from home was tiring at times, Yee said that encountering a different culture was interesting and exciting. While in South Africa, Yee sampled exotic foods such as ostrich and springbuck (antelope), but says his favorite meal was mopani (similar to caterpillars).

“The caterpillars were part of a hot stew,” Yee said. “The insects were soft and easy to chew. Because they were considered a delicacy, I devoured about 20, relishing every last bite.”

The experience of serving in a different country left Yee with many memories and created a bond between the students within the missionary team, he said.

“My favorite part about the trip was seeing a ministry get started, and to reap the fruit of what we sowed,” Yee said. “Fifteen students came to know the Lord, which is unheard of in the area we stayed. It was cool to see people so involved and excited about the ministry that we planted.”

For more information on Africa, read the Sept. 13 article, South Africa experience impacts sophomore.

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