Students and Faculty prepare for 2017 TAG trips

By Hannah Pollok

Teams of students and faculty sponsors will head out on on mission trips to serve in Mexico, Croatia and the Philippines.

The first Trevecca Around the Globe trip of the year will be to Monterrey, Mexico during spring break. Matt Toy, associate vice president of marketing and communications, and his wife Melissa will lead a team of nine female students on the trip. The team will be working with Back2Back ministries, an international Christian non-profit organization with a holistic approach to orphan care ministry.

Toy worked with Back2Back ministries in 1997 on a high school mission trip. After learn-ing about the connection, he was asked to lead Trevecca’s spring TAG trip.

“The trip that I took 20 years ago really shaped my life. I pray that this trip can have some of the same effect on the students that go on the trip,” said Toy.

The team will be doing manual labor depending on the needs of the children’s homes and the communities that Back2Back serves in Monterrey. They will also be spending time with the children in the homes.

Sophomore Anna Cypher, student leader on the trip, has been on several trips with Back2Back ministries and has interned with them in Monterrey.

“I have formed so many meaningful relationships with staff, kids, and caregivers that I am so eager to work with again. I am most excited for this trip because I love Trevecca, the city of Monterrey, and the heart of B2B so much, and getting to see all of those parts of my life collide is going to be so beautiful,” said Cypher.

Trevecca will also be sending a team to Croatia, led by Levi Osborne, Terrace Apartments resident director. This trip was originally planned as a trip to Serbia, but has recently been changed to Croatia because the team believes the country is better suited for Trevecca’s TAG team.

“The changes were not made for safety reasons, which we monitor closely. Serbia and Croatia share much in common and offer an incredible opportunity to learn a new and rich culture. Pray for our students as they go out to be salt and light,” said Shawna Gaines, university chaplain. “We send students out to be servants and ultimately felt they could best be of service in Croatia. Since we announced the trip, many factors in Serbia have changed, primarily related to our partnerships with local personnel and secondarily related to legal perimeters imposed on aid and assistance for refugee communities.”

From May 8-23, the Croatia TAG team will be working alongside local personnel and serving diverse people groups, including refugees.

“We anticipate a really wonderful Croatia trip this summer. We have worked in Croatia every summer for the last five years and have strong partnerships with local leaders and missionaries in that region,” said Gaines.

This summer, Trevecca will also be partnering with the church of the Nazarene in Manila, Philippines. The trip will be led by Jason Adkins, environmental projects coordinator and Sara Hopkins, director of counseling services. From May 9-24 the team will be working with families in poverty and focusing on sustainable gardening and education. They may also be working with sex trafficking rescue organizations while in Manila.

Jasmine Hiland, coordinator for Trevecca Around the Globe, said students should strive to encounter a different culture.

“This is a really good opportunity to catch a vision of what God is doing in the world. Usually when people get out of their typical bubble and rhythm and see people doing ministry in a variety of ways, it impacts them. It makes them start to discern what mission looks like in their own life,” said Hiland. “TAG is for everyone, not just for people who want to be missionaries. We really hope these trips are foundational for all.”

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