These stories are related to the testimonies and explain particular activities or trips that inspired the students portrayed below.
For me, Uganda was a leap of faith. Many of us had never been before. All of our normal routines – regarding food, dress, sleep, communication, health, personal hygiene, even time – were removed from us, and we learned to wholly rely upon God. In the village of Odek, we saw the smiling faces of children affected by Nodding Syndrome. Starting with a seizure, this disease affects the mental and motor abilities of its victims, and becomes life-threatening if the children are at risk of falling into water or cooking fires. Hope for Humans has established treatment centers in Uganda to meet the needs of children affected by this disease. We came to share our lives with the children, to teach them about God and our lives in the United States. It opened our eyes to the spiritual poverty in materially wealthy America. If this trip becomes a reality again, I encourage you to go! In the meantime, please keep all of the children affected by Nodding Syndrome in your prayers, as well as their nurses, teachers, parents, volunteers, and researchers who seek a cure. “Yecu mara nino ducu (Jesus loves you every day).”
Hello, my name is Alex Needham, and I arrived at Appalachian in August 2015 as an exchange student, travelling independently for the first time in my life. I came to Appalachian, with a mixture of anticipation and trepidation, for I feared that I might not be accepted as part of the community. These worries soon vanquished when CCF started reaching International Students through Facebook, inviting them out on all kinds of amazing excursions! As I started to hang out more with CCF and build closer connections, I began to question their motives, in particular, I remember asking the questions, ‘how is it that you can be so generous in your giving?’ And how do you have so much energy to do this? In response, I was encouraged to attend core group sessions, where students could gather to discuss their personal relationship with the Bible and how it affected and related to ‘real life’ scenarios. This was a critical moment for me in that it helped bring light on the relationship between the abstract symbology of the Bible, and its actual manifestation through the hearts and minds of these extraordinary people as a way of living. Through Church, and core sessions, I started to realize that their motives were never self-centered but rather by products of serving God faithfully and loving thy neighbor irrespective of background. From this point on, I understood what it meant to follow in the light of Jesus Christ. In the final few weeks of term, As a declaration of this new found faith and as a testimony to the unbelievable work that CCF continue to provide, I decided to get publicly baptized. From that moment forwards, I have continued to grow in my faith. Infact, I recently just finished reading the bible from page 1! Which I am very proud of! More so, I now feel this deep sense of inner fulfillment and self admiration which led me to volunteering as a global education advisor back in England, as a way to encourage students to study abroad and give back to society, what Appalachian gave to me. I now understand how it is possible, that these people have so much energy, strength and inner radiance. God Bless.