HIU Faculty Making an Impact around the Globe
Between semesters this winter break, many HIU faculty members could be found, not relaxing at home, but traveling the globe to share Christ’s love with those in need. Here are just a few examples of the many faculty members who chose to use their time off to exemplify what Hope is all about: Servant Leadership.
Drs. Steve, Associate Professor of Intercultural Studies, and Linda Whitmer, Associate Professor of Intercultural Studies, and Dr. Grana, Church Ministry Department Chair, spent their winter break teaching and training 96 Egyptian church leaders in Egypt. Egypt is known to be the "Cradle of Christianity" in the Middle East because, of the 75+ million people in Egypt, some 10-12 million are believed to be Christian. There are more Christians in Egypt than any other Middle Eastern Moslem country. Although the environment can be dangerous, the Christians in Egypt feel a responsibility to be a beacon for the Gospel. Church leaders from all over the Arab world come to Egypt for leadership training. Drs. Whitmer and Grana are pleased to be a part of the on-going church leadership training in this country. Hope has now graduated almost 100 individuals with a Certificate of Ministry in the Arab world, with 24 individuals graduating this last trip.
A number of HIU Professors visit the Hope Bible Institute (HBI) in Cambodia annually to offer their expertise and knowledge to individual’s intent on serving their communities as church leaders. HBI was founded by Christopher LaPel, a Hope graduate, and, through partnership with Hope International University, offers a Certificate of Christian Leadership. Dr. Gene Sonnenberg, Chair & Professor of Biblical Studies, and Dr. Chris Gillete, Associate Professor of Music & Ministry, taught 125 church leaders from northwest Cambodia this trip. Dr. Steve Richardson, Chair & Associate Professor of Biblical Studies, had done the same just one week prior. This trip marks Dr. Sonnenberg’s eleventh trip to Cambodia to educate church leaders. Dr. Sonnenberg is also the president of Hope for Cambodia, a non-profit organization which educates church leaders and plants churches throughout Cambodia. Three students from HIU accompanied the group and taught English to Cambodians at the Bible Institute.
HBI was founded by Christopher LaPel, an HIU graduate whose own family was victim of the Khmer Rouge that terrorized the Cambodian nation in the 1970s. LaPel has planted over 300 churches in Cambodia.
The trip also included visits to a handful of noteworthy organizations including the Foursquare Children of Promise who are responsible for 106 orphanages throughout Cambodia, the Rahab House ministry to about 50 women and children who are victims of the sex trade, and the Rapha House which serves about 100 women and children who are victims of sex trafficking.
Assistant Professor of English, Natalie Hewitt, was invited to join a team of women to lead and organize a women’s conference for female leaders who work with Operation Mobilization, India. Hewitt’s Church, Yorba Linda Friends Church, and OM India have been partnering together to empower and serve the Dalit people, a group of people severely oppressed by the caste system. The team of women leaders from Yorba Linda traveled to Bangalore, India, from January 4-14, 2009, and joined one hundred women for a conference entitled “Shaped for Service.” At this conference, Professor Hewitt led daily worship sessions and taught a seminar on Women of Worship. The trip ended in Hyderabad, India, where the team visited slums, villages and schools where some of the women who attended the conference serve on a regular basis. The conference is scheduled to be an annual event and a continued component of the partnership between Friends Church and OM India.