Thursday, September 28

Students recount their summer TAG trip experience

By Alayna Simons

Assistant News Editor

Group photo on TAG trip to England – Photo courtesy of Hanna Block

Trevecca Around the Globe, referred to as TAG, is an experience-based opportunity for students to both travel and get outside of their comfort zone. 

Reetu Height, director of TAG, oversees the details of recruitments and plane tickets with the help of other leaders and staff.

“The purpose behind these trips is service, along with that is learning,” said Height.

Ella O’Malley, sophomore, and Hanna Brock, junior, each went on separate TAG trips this past summer, but it was the first time either had been out of the country.

“A lot of the time, working with people was mainly just loving them and being the hands and feet of Jesus,” said O’Malley.

Both O’Malley and Brock found out about the trips at a chapel service that highlighted the different TAG opportunities. They then went to an additional informational meeting after that service.

“When you apply for TAG, you’re applying for it as a whole. Then, throughout the application process, there’s a box that you can take the TAG trips that are listed and move them in order of preference,” said O’Malley. 

After filling out the application, students are interviewed, placed as they are deemed fit onto a team, and sent to a location. From there, the financial meetings and training services begin.

“Two months before we left, we had a TAG training. It was just one night, we ate dinner together with our groups, and they went through what the whole process would look like – of what international travel would look like with going through intense customs and everything,” said O’Malley.

Brock, who joined a team to England, explored cities like Manchester, London and Wales. Her team participated in projects like gardening, cleaning the church where they served, helping with a Ukrainian fundraiser, working with youth at the church, and helping with worship.

“We helped in a pantry where we served tea and coffee to people as they came into the shopping center that was set up there,” said Brock. “We were just being and enjoying fellowship with anyone who came in to shop and receive canned goods.”

While in Germany, a team visited Mainz, Darmstadt, Strasburg, France, and Offenbach before flying into Frankfurt. There, they explored and watched how the church was still thriving in a post-Christian society. The team also participated in working directly with refugees and an organization called “Church in Action.”

“Short-term missions in the past were all about doing a project or going in with all the answers. This was quite the opposite. We went in as learners, seeing it as the ‘Church in Action’ has something for us to learn,” said JP VanDelsm, adjunct faculty and leader of the Germany TAG trip.

Height said TAG trips are more centered around how we are changed rather than how we have changed other people. 

“I found things that I want to dive into more with my career that I wasn’t expecting like working with kids,” said O’Malley. “It opened my eyes to how urgent it is that we need to be reaching people and how much pressure there should be on us reaching out to a community because I saw what that looked like there and the emphasis they put on that mission.”

“The unexpected things were the best, showing the love of Christ to people that aren’t necessarily like us because they have a different religion, but you love them just the same,” said Brock.

Though the preparation and the price may seem daunting, O’Malley and Brock said it is possible to accomplish. Trevecca helps by setting up a fundraising page with a picture, the goal amount to raise, and a way for people to donate.

“I mainly sent out letters to people I knew, made a few Instagram posts, and posted the fundraising link on social media. Trevecca provided all of the letters and envelopes so that you can mail out letters and not have to buy them yourself,” said O’Malley.

The students both expressed having to release control and trust in the Lord through the process.

“If you’re unsure, go get coffee with someone who’s gone on a trip and ask them questions. We learn so much from being outside of our normal culture, even just across town, when we encounter another culture with a posture of curiosity, then that allows us to learn and grow,” said VanDelsm.

The TAG trips for this school year include Appalachia, Kentucky over fall break, Alaska over spring break, Columbia and an undisclosed location in Africa in the summer. To see a list of future TAG trips, look up Trevecca Around the Globe, click the link, and a list of future trips and their prices will be available.

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