The Master's College global outreach teams have started returning to Southern California and members are bringing stories of fruitful ministry and service with them.

Teams that have returned home spent five weeks to two months serving churches and various ministries in Taiwan, Ireland, The Philippines and Malawi. Teams from South Africa, China and Latvia will return in late July/early August.

The global outreach teams reflect the college's commitment to global ministries and are an extension of its Biblical Studies Department. Each year the college offers several trip options to students who have taken the prerequisite classes and maintained a satisfactory grade point average. From there, students go through an interview process. Once selected and assigned, they set about the tasks of raising support, obtaining passports and updating immunization records.

Associate Professor (Biblical Studies) and International Ministries Director Dr. Lisa LaGeorge has has been helping lead and organize the Master's College's summer missions trips since 1998. She sees the program as an excellent way for students to flesh out what they're learning in the classroom.

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Team Philippines: Andrew Kaiser , Trent Thelen, James Ubay,Monique Benitez, Rebekah Tsang

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Monty the Mustang is reported being spotted all over the world. Here he is at Saint Basil's in Moscow. For more photos and Monty sightings...go to our global teams' Facebook Gallery.

"These trips challenge students by forcing them out of their culture and their comfort

LaGeorge says most of the students who take one summer missions trip come back for a second. The taste of serving such great needs worldwide, she says, leaves you craving more. This has little to with destination, however. LaGeorge and the rest of the leadership team made sure of that.

"A study came out recently and it showed that the most desirable destinations for short term missionaries are also the most desirable destinations for vacationers," LaGeorge said. "We don't want that. If you look at our destinations you see third world nations, impoverished nations. They don't land on most people's list of places to visit. Our students go there to serve."

Team Taiwan spent almost six weeks teaching English to junior high and high school students in Taipei. Its seven members formed relationships with the students they met and were able to share the gospel on many occasions. They were most struck by the number of Buddhist temples that dominate the city and by the faithfulness of the local pastors and missionaries there to proclaim the truth.

Hampton Jackson was most impressed by one pastor who was serving Taipei's outlying, impoverished villages - training them to farm and raise chickens, establishing programs for the elderly and forming businesses to support the community.

"He was being a godly man for a dying village," Jackson said. "This guy made a real impression on me about service."

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The Master's College's Team Russia. In this photo...Candace Brady, Kenneth Piester, Kaylin Youngs, Cindy Youngs, and Anna Wilson

Story by Bob Dixon

Team Malawi connected seven students with TMC graduates Matt and Rachel Floreen in Lilongwe. There, they canvassed 51 regional parachurch organizations for International Bible Fellowship Church (IBF). The church is looking to partner with indigenous ministry organizations, but it must vet them first. Are they truly Christian? Do they fit with IBF's mission?

The five-and-a-half-week trip saw team members meet with local missionaries, Christian hip hop artists, medical outreach workers and pastoral trainers. They got a sense of the spiritual need in a country where most pastors are itinerate, serving churches only twice a year. They interacted with villagers who, in spite of how little they had, shared with them without reservation.

"I met a missionary there who had lost his support," said team co-leader J.P. Dennis. "He was so rooted in the gospel. He understood the need for it and was willing to forsake all for it. He told me that when he lost his support he decided, 'These people need the gospel and I can preach the gospel, so I'm staying.' I will never forget those words."

Six students travelled to The Philippines, where they served with Action International and Compassion International. Action International allowed the team to work at a birthing clinic (the girls) and a construction site for a new ministry building (the guys). Right now, the one-room clinic, which is the ministry of Master's graduate Ruth Ortiz and her husband, Paul, must juggle about 135 patients and eight births a day. More the 90 percent of those women are not married.

"It was like we were living out Genesis 3," said team member Monique Benitez, "The women were helping with childbirth while the men were toiling at the construction site.

Team member Trent Thelan, whose father works from Compassion International in Colorado Springs, was moved by seeing the need firsthand, as well as the passion shared by people to meet it.

"The church is powerful," he said. "The main goal of the churches and ministries there was discipleship. You get that a lot at school: love God, love others. It was neat to see that there. Compassion International gave team members an opportunity to work with an outreach that connects needy children with sponsors from other countries.

Team members also travelled to Mozambique to minster to village," she said. "It's one thing to read about missions work. It's another to actually go there and do it."