Students get opportunity for service in Indonesia

by Emily Roth

The indigenous missionary from Indonesia  had never been to America before and was willing to try anything Sodexo offered. He enjoyed his corn dog while he told his story to Whitworth students he had just met.The missionary, unnamed here for security reasons, visited Spokane to meet with Partners International, which supports and works with his ministry in Indonesia.

Whitworth students were invited to learn about his ministry and a volunteer trip to Indonesia open to students for Jan Term 2013. Interested students had the option to meet him at lunch on Feb. 27 or at evening dessert Feb. 28 hosted by junior Kim Anderson, one of the trip coordinators.

“He was genuine,” Anderson said. “He interacted well with the students. He was willing to share his life with students. I was thinking, ‘What a cool opportunity that I get to spend time with this man.’ I think that’s a huge benefit for the students who will go, meeting him and host families.”

Charlie Nelson, a Whitworth alumnus and representative of Partners International, began planning the volunteer trip last fall.

The trip will take a group of Whitworth students through multiple locations in Indonesia, serving the indigenous ministry by teaching conversational English to high school and college students.

“We’ve talked at Partners before about having [volunteer] trips with Whitworth,” Nelson said. “We’d love to make it a tradition every year.”

The trip is not affiliated with Whitworth and does not offer credit. However, Dottie Mohrlang, an adjunct theology professor, is excited by the opportunity the trip offers to students.

Mohrlang and her husband, another theology professor at Whitworth, have worked closely with Partners International for several years. Dottie Mohrlang joined the students who met the Indonesian missionary when he came on campus.

“I want students to not just think of Americans going and doing good things,” Mohrlang said. “I want them to see Christians from other countries working and spreading the message of Jesus.”

Nelson said he hopes the group will return excited about the work of the missionary partners in Indonesia and possibly decide to raise money to help the ministry.

“Any trip to another country is uncomfortable, but its impact on you lasts much longer than the three weeks you’re there,” Anderson said.

Anderson has traveled on several volunteer trips, both to Albania and in Africa, and witnesses to an improved cultural awareness.

“Short-term [trips] make [students] more world aware. You experience the vitality, commitment and need,” Mohrlang said. “I pray that people will pray for those they have met and know how to give wisely, that they would have a bigger view of what God is doing in the world.”

Mohrlang does not believe that this trip will fit everyone, however.

“It’s not just an adventure, an interesting tourist trip,” Mohrlang said. “It’s for people who want to see what indigenous Christians are doing in their own countries and partner with them and also to stretch their faith about what God wants to do in their lives.”

Anderson hopes to keep the group small, expecting to accept nine to twelve students on the trip, which Nelson will lead. The trip will cost each student an estimated $2,600. Students who are interested in more information or want to apply can contact Anderson at or Nelson at

Contact Emily Roth at

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