Mission trips at Redlands College are not just about overseas travel and a cross-cultural experience – as exciting and enjoyable as that is. Redlands College Mission trips are essentially about character and leadership development and enabling students and staff to practically ‘live out’ our mission – equipping our students to make a positive impact on the world around them. They are therefore not merely about ‘crossing the seas’ but ‘seeing the cross’ and allowing the transforming love and grace that we have received to be shared with a hurting world.
With both excitement and trepidation, nine students and three staff boarded a plane for their final destination of Cambodia on 15 September 2016. Landing in Phnom Penh the group was immediately overwhelmed by the heat, traffic and contrast to Australia. The team were met by the Cambodian leaders of Milk & Honey English School and taken to their hotel by tuk-tuks to drop off their 24 suitcases, most of which were filled with items for Milk & Honey. Over the next two days the team visited the Royal Palace, braved eating tarantulas and were confronted with the atrocities inflicted by the Khmer Rouge whilst touring the Killing Fields and S21 Genocide Museum. They also were able to attend a local church conference with more than 1000 believers worshiping God together.
Then it was time to travel by bus to Sihanoukville to begin a week serving at the Milk & Honey English School, where the Redlands College students soared to new heights as they were thrown into teaching English classes to local children and youth. They gained a new appreciation for their own teachers back home as they planned a variety of lessons each day and delivered their lessons with warmth and enthusiasm. The long term vision of the ministry is to help educate Khmer students to be able to help their own people out of the despair and fear they live in following the genocide which happened only 40 years ago. Whilst there the team also helped with painting, gardening, cooking and cleaning. They bartered for produce at the marketplace using Khmer phrases and enjoyed visiting the beauty of the beach and waterfalls. The most valuable part of the week for the team was building relationships with the Khmer students. It was very difficult for everyone to bid farewell at the end of the week.
A final day was spent in Siam Reap visiting the Buddhist temples before flying out. Arriving back in Australia on 28 September 2016 each member of the team knew they had left part of their heart in Cambodia and they were forever changed for the better.
Three teachers, one assistant and twelve students shared the Gospel in Uganda between November 29 and December 24 as part of the first ever Redlands College mission trip to Uganda. Members of the team (consisting of both current and past students) were busy fundraising prior to their trip, for the purchase of building materials to support the building of teacher’s quarters for Barnabas Project-Uganda at Busoke and a classroom block and pit latrine for Kyampisi Childcare Ministries at Kyampisi.