Serving, Leading and Studying AbroadPosted by Paula Paine on March 18, 2014 in Sure, Cadence Ishmael was always aware of India as a country in South East Asia, but beyond that she didn’t know much about it or give it much thought. Until recently, that is, when God seemed to put India in front of her again and again in unexpected ways – right at a time when she was exploring country options for a study abroad experience.
On October 20, 2013, He did it again. Ishmael had signed up to attend the Angell Snyder Business Symposium luncheon but was completely unaware that Jerry Haney, the development director for All India Mission (AIM), was scheduled to speak and receive the annual David C. Owen Leadership Award. God ultimately used the symposium to crystalize his leading in this portion of her life.
During the luncheon, Ishmael, a sophomore at Ottawa University, learned of All India Mission’s work in the Jharkhand region of India to bring health care to hundreds of thousands of villagers who have never had access to anything more than a mobile medical clinic. She learned of the miraculous vision that AIM’s Brother NJ received while in Branson, Missouri, regarding the building of the Shanti Bhavan Medical Center, and the amazing way God raised funds, supplied all the furniture and equipment needed, and expanded the original plans to include doctors’ and nurses’ quarters and an elementary school for hospital staff. Started in 2005, the hospital is scheduled to open this spring.
Following the symposium, Ishmael became determined not only to join the AIM effort herself, but to find a way to provide the learning and serving opportunity to other Ottawa University students, as well. And not just as a one-time experience, but as an ongoing study abroad prospect.
Working with her business professors, the academic dean, a board mentor, and Jerry Haney, Ishmael set about putting everything in place for the trip. She also spread the word to her fellow students, and 11 others are now joining her for the inaugural service-learning experience scheduled for May-June 2014.
Because of the organization’s multi-faceted initiatives to meet the earthly and spiritual needs of the people in the Jharkhand region, Ishmael believes that AIM provides the perfect study abroad opportunity for Ottawa University students. Specifically, the mission of AIM is to “reach the unreached people groups in northeastern India with the love and hope of Jesus Christ, giving them eternal life with Christ and abundant life on earth by evangelism and church planting, medical treatment and training, schools and orphanages, and agricultural and business enterprises.”
As a business economics major with a global operations minor, Ishmael’s AIM experience will focus on business operations of a new hospital in a third world country. For sociology and human services majors, the Mission operates four orphanages and several women’s support groups in which they can serve; biology majors can work in the hospital itself or with goat farms, fish farms or other micro-enterprises designed to provide a better food supply; business majors can also work with these enterprises that give villagers self-sustaining sources of income; education majors will have the opportunity to serve in two elementary schools; and religion or Christian studies majors can contribute in the Bible School or church efforts.
Ishmael’s vision of merging study abroad with servant leadership fits perfectly with Ottawa University’s mission to “provide the highest quality liberal arts education in a caring, Christ-centered community of grace which integrates faith, learning and life.” She hopes others will follow her example in looking beyond themselves when taking their next leisure or study abroad trip.
“I am so excited to be a part of the All India Mission and blessed to have the opportunity to pursue this passion that has been placed on my heart,” said Ishmael. “This hospital will bring much needed medical services to the villagers, and hopefully a measure of peace, as well. Interestingly, the hospital is proving to be a bridge between people of all faiths in the region due to their common need for health care.
“India has been on my heart for a while, but the symposium was a real catalyst to realizing that this was something I could be a part of that would allow me to actively engage in servant leadership. I would be truly amazing if more people began to gear their travels or study abroad towards a greater good.”
By partnering with All India Mission for the study abroad trip, Ishmael has achieved a win-win scenario for both groups. With the students and faculty members staying and eating on-site free of charge, she has also minimized the cost of the priceless other-culture experience.
So for the cost of airfare alone, these OU students have the opportunity for some “feet on the ground” education, for some “get in and get your hands dirty” life and work experience, for impacting a little corner of the universe for eternity, and for having their own lives forever altered.
It is clear to Ishmael and those with whom she is working that this trip is a “God thing,” and she is confident that He will bring it about by supplying the airfare needed for all 12 girls. If you would like to assist with airfare for these students, either through a monetary donation or by purchasing a ticket with your United Airlines frequent flyer miles, please contact Cadence Ishmael at email@example.com. For more information about the work of AIM, visit www.allindiamission.com.