Lecturer describes the effects of love in politics

Christ’s love can have monumental effects in politics, an evangelist and peacemaker shared Monday, Oct. 1. Michael Cassidy is a political activist, author and founder of African Enterprise, an evangelical reconciliation ministry that has been crucial in healing post-apartheid South Africa. By following God’s will and listening to his urging, African Enterprise was formed, Cassidy said.

AE has been reaching Africa through leadership training, evangelism, reconciliation and community development in Africa for 50 years, according to africanenterprise.org.

The nature of the ministry was influenced through Cassidy’s experiences in America during the civil rights movement, as well as the extreme segregation in South Africa during apartheid, Cassidy said.

Cassidy came to embrace the messages of Martin Luther King, Jr. as well as the messages of evangelist of Billy Graham, he said.

“I came to the conclusion that the love ethic has huge political implications,” Cassidy said.

With that in mind, Cassidy began his movement to evangelize Africa and promote change through godly leadership. AE went to different political groups during the apartheid struggle and prayed with politicians from the far left and far right, Cassidy said.

Ninety South African politicians over six different weekends experienced a retreat at AE where they shared their autobiographies, told their visions for the new South Africa and heard the enemy humanized, Cassidy said.

“It’s a very powerful thing when you hear someone’s story,” Cassidy said. “You have to understand who they are and why they think the way they do.”

That is a foundation, but still is not enough. One can love individuals but that love must also go further into structures in order to bring social and political change, Cassidy said. Justice is love built into structures, he said.

Godly governance can result in major transformations of entire countries, according to AE’s website.

On April 27, 1994, elections were held in South Africa that marked the end of apartheid. Ten days prior, a prayer rally had been called because a surge of hostility between political parties threatened the lives of a million people, Cassidy said.

The Jesus Peace Rally was called in order to pray for a peaceful way forward through the first democratic elections, he said. Twenty-five thousand people attended the rally. Several of the main politicians from the various parties met in a VIP lounge of the stadium where the rally was held and came to an agreement about a way forward, he said.

Two days after the rally, those leaders announced that they would cooperate, thus avoiding an outbreak of violence, Cassidy said. The election was held over three days, and there were virtually no reports of violence anywhere in the country. It was a miracle, he said.

The United States needs love in its structures just as much as South Africa does, Cassidy said. He said he feels America needs an assembly of Christian leaders and visionaries across the nation who will speak to the social issues.

“I would love to see an American political system that has prayer as part of the system of government. I understand realistically today, that is hard,” sophomore Rachel Gerig said.

AE trains leaders by equipping pastors and citizens to think biblically and live out their faith in their place of work and influence, according to ,a href="http://africanenterprise.org/">africanenterprise.org.

Some of AE’s ideas and principles directly relate to Whitworth’s mission to “Honor God, follow Christ, and serve humanity.”

“Cassidy’s model of leadership meshes well with Whitworth’s inclusive and ecumenical approach,” said Gordon Jackson, professor of communication studies.

Gerig said students can demonstrate leadership at Whitworth even in small ways. She suggested talking to ASWU senators or participating in class as ways to do so. Sometimes, leadership starts simply with friendship, she said.

Cassidy encouraged students to seek God’s plan for their life and enter into it. God is faithful, he said.

“Whatever it is he has for you, He wants to lead you into it,” Cassidy said. “If I look back on 58 years of Christian experience, my testimony is to the faithfulness of God. He has stood by me.”

Kendra Stubbs Staff Writer   

Contact Kendra Stubbs at kstubbs15@my.whitworth.edu.

Past the pinecones and beyond the border

Why study abroad and what the experience of venturing out might teach you College is the perfect time to explore your interests and take advantage of  every opportunity. It’s the time to find your passions and delve into new relationships.

But what if you could do all these things in another country for a Jan Term, or even a semester?  Well, this isn’t just a what-if, it’s a you-can.

So let’s start with a simple question: Why even consider stepping beyond the border?

First, your ability to speak a foreign language will increase exponentially.

“There are certain idioms that you don’t pick up on until you actually go [to a foreign country],” sophomore Sarah Sauter said, who went on a Jan- Term trip to Costa Rica.

Senior Lauren Davies, who studied abroad in Costa Rica for a semester, admitted she was nervous about the language barrier, but she found it to be more of a puzzle that gradually fell into place than a stubborn roadblock.

Both Sauter and Davies agree that language should definitely not be the reason you decide against taking the leap of faith into the unknown.

Assistant professor of international business and management Todd Friends led a Whitworth study abroad trip to China.

“Just yesterday I had [a] student in my office glowing about their international experience from the summer, a student athlete that thought it couldn’t happen,” Friends said. “Their second language ability went from conversational to fluent. The challenge and joy of communicating cross-culturally had clicked.” How to get started

Hendrick Hall, the intercultural student center, has tons of resources for those seeking an abroad experience. Sue Jackson, director of international education, is available to answer questions and help students make study abroad decisions.

Whitworth has crafted its study abroad programs in such a way to give students the chance to do internships. Whether you do an internship while abroad or just soak up the unfamiliar, the experience is sure to be beneficial.

“It looks very good on your resume because companies are looking to hire people that are adaptable,” Jackson said.

In February there will be a study abroad fair in the HUB Multi-Purpose room where students can get informed about the upcoming trips Whitworth will be providing. Jan Term trips are perfect for those who have never traveled abroad or are not quite ready to dive into multiple months of complete immersion.

But if exploring the unknown sounds exciting, the International Student Exchange Programs (ISEP) are for you. On the website (isep.org), you are able to single out a field of study you are interested in and see the countries with universities that offer that field. Or if you have a specific country in mind, you can simply search that country and explore the opportunities.

It’s important to apply for ISEP by the previous January if you are looking to study abroad in the fall, and the previous August if you are looking to study abroad in the spring.

“I’ve developed amazing relationships with people all across the world,” senior Ryan Knight said, who spent his sophomore year abroad in China through ISEP.

Knight also spent the spring semester of his junior year in Tanzania with a Whitworth group, and he said what distinguished the two trips was that through ISEP you have a lot more freedom to, for example, plan a weekend vacation to another city or country. What you’ll learn once there

Once abroad, it’s important to have the right mindset. It would be a shame to go to a whole new country and stay holed up in a hotel.

“The most important thing is to experience as much as you can,” said senior Hunter Freeman, who went on the UK semester abroad program through Whitworth.

Freeman said to follow the saying: if you’re going to do something, why not jump in with both feet?

Envision yourself in the country of your choice. Are you willing to go with the flow? Sue Jackson said her goal is for the student to be able to blend in, to culturally and socially assimilate and to make an effort to become a part of the culture.

Studying abroad can definitely be intimidating, but what comes out of the experience is a newfound sense of independent cultural awareness.

“Studying abroad for a semester will triple the value of everything you’ve learned. The experience transforms the depth of your global view,” Friends said. “It’s no longer the world your parents grew up with, it’s an intensely complex world of emerging countries.”

He also said you learn more about your home culture when you’re away because the experience gives you time to reflect on your culture and learn how others perceive it.

“It’s so important to create more awareness about how you live and how others live,” Marisol Rosado said, who went on the South Africa trip this last Jan Term.

The biggest impact studying abroad for a semester in Costa Rica had on Davies was that she was able to take lessons she learned and apply them to her life back home.

“In Latin America there is such an emphasis on relationship over time,” Davies said.

After coming back to the hustle of everyday life here in the states she had a new appreciation for the simplicity of genuine relationships.

What are the benefits of studying abroad? “A newfound sense of confidence, problem solving skills and relationships. Not to do it means you’re depriving yourself,” Jackson said.

To Sauter, studying abroad is beyond worth it and isn’t quantifiable in dollar signs. Find out if you agree.

Christina Spencer Staff Writer

Contact Christina Spencer at cspencer15@my.whitworth.edu.