Twelve students participate in summer Inquiry Programs

Every summer, students have the opportunity to serve at a camp, in a congregation or with a service agency across the country or abroad as a part of the Camping, Ministry and Service Inquiry Programs. These students get the chance to explore the intersection of faith and vocation through active participation, observation of others and intentional reflection, all while building leadership skills.

This year, 12 students have chosen to participate in these programs. At the placements, each student will have a mentor that will help guide them and serve as a resource.

Camping Inquiry Program

Students serving in the Camping Inquiry Program (CIP) are connected with a church-related camping or retreat center where they are immersed in nature and experience first-hand outdoor ministry and other intersections of the church and vocation. CIP students are expected to be actively engaged with the camping or retreat center community, as well as a local congregation.

CIP began in 2002 and has had over 115 students participate throughout the 16 years since its start, including the five students serving this summer.

Aidan Friesen, a junior environmental science major from Goshen, Indiana, is serving at Camp Friedenswald in Michigan. Camp Friedenswald provides a space free from distractions and encourages campers of all ages to grow in relationship with God, self, others and nature. Throughout the summer, campers can enjoy swimming, kayaking, hiking, cooking over an open fire and more. Aidan is the son of Jeremy Friesen and Elise Garber and attends College Mennonite Church.

Andrew Nussbaum, a junior TESOL major from Galena, Ohio, is also serving at Camp Friedenswald in Michigan. Andrew is the son of Jerry and Virginia Nussbaum and attends Columbus Mennonite Church.

Dillon Hershey, a sophomore sociology major from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is serving at Camp Deerpark in New York. The purpose of Camp Deerpark is to extend the ministry of Jesus and to exemplify hospitality, stewardship and respect for creation. Throughout the summer, campers have the opportunity to hike, swim and grow in their faith. Dillon is the daughter of Brent and Lorie Hershey and attends West Philadelphia Mennonite Fellowship.

Rae Ann Miller, a junior mathematics major from Elkhart, Indiana, is also serving at Camp Friedenswald in Michigan. Rae Ann is the daughter of Darren and Sheri Miller and attends Silverwood Mennonite Church.

Taylor Zehr, a senior elementary education major from Wauseon, Ohio, is serving at Little Eden Camp in Michigan. Little Eden offers youth, families and churches a Christian environment that allows campers to grow closer to God, nature and others through a variety of activities like tennis, sand volleyball and kayaking, as well as times of fellowship and worship. Taylor is the daughter of Michael and Rebecca Zehr and attends North Clinton Mennonite Church.

Ministry Inquiry Program

Students serving in the Ministry Inquiry Program (MIP) are engaged in a congregation as they learn more about the inner workings and challenges of church ministry. MIP students are responsible for a number of tasks which may include worship planning and leading, teaching in Bible or Sunday school, leading music, preaching and more, depending on a student’s gifts and interests.

MIP began in 1988 and is now in its 30th year. It was the first inquiry program at Goshen College, and since then, 213 students have participated, including the two students serving this summer.

Danny Aramouni, a junior double majoring in molecular biology/biochemistry and Bible and religion from Manhattan, Kansas, is serving at Reba Place Church in Illinois. Danny is the son of Fadi and Mary Aramouni and attends Manhattan Mennonite Church.

Emily Stoltzfus, a junior social work major from Goshen, Indiana, is serving at Madison Mennonite Church in Wisconsin. Emily is the daughter of Duane and Karen Stoltzfus and attends College Mennonite Church.

Service Inquiry Program

Students serving in the Service Inquiry Program (SIP) are exposed to societal inadequacies and injustices as they work with a church-related service or mission agency. SIP students are expected to provide direct, meaningful service to other and will experience people from other cultures and become familiar with the needs and requirements of service agencies.

SIP began in 2001 and has had 109 students participate throughout the 17 years since it began, including the five students who are serving this summer.

Hannah Friesen, a junior psychology major from Fresno, California, is serving with Central California Mennonite Residential Services (CCMRS) in California. CCMRS is dedicated to providing Christ-centered services to persons with developmental disabilities and empowering them to meet goals while being a part of a supportive community. Hannah is the daughter of Steve Friesen and Christine Landis and attends Mennonite Community Church.

Jill Steinmetz, a senior art major from Bluffton, Ohio, is serving with Mennonite Central Committee East Coast in Pennsylvania. MCC works to share God’s love and compassion for everyone through responding to basic human needs and working for peace and justice. Jill is the daughter of Joel and Teri Steinmetz and attends Grace Mennonite Church.

Jose Ortiz, a senior molecular biology/biochemistry major from Goshen, Indiana, is serving with Oaklawn Psychiatric Center in Indiana. Oaklawn provides mental health and addiction treatment for people of all ages through healing and growth of the whole person in an effort to help people live in harmony with self, others and God. Jose is the son of Gloria Ortiz and attends St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church.

Sara Azzuni, a junior nursing major from Dubai, is serving with the United Muslim Relief in Jordan. United Muslim Relief focuses on building humanitarian coalitions in order to address basic human needs, like access to clean water and more, with the belief that everyone has the right to live free of poverty. Sara is the daughter of Mu’Awiya Azzuni.

Simelwe Dlova, a senior informatics major from South Africa, is serving with ITS Media at Goshen College. ITS Media is responsible for supporting all of the campus audio and video systems and providing audiovisual technology solutions. While students aren’t usually placed at Goshen College, there is a special project that Simelwe is working on that directly relates to her major through helping to install the new phone systems at the college. She attends Berkey Avenue Mennonite Fellowship.

Over the years that the Camping, Ministry and Service Inquiry Programs have been in existence, over 437 students have participated. This summer, Bob Yoder, campus pastor, and Joelle Friesen, a 2017 graduate, are doing a Maple Scholars project about the impact of the Inquiry Programs.

They sent out surveys to all past Inquiry Program participants, and so far have over 60 percent return rate, with questions like “My Inquiry Program experience helped me to understand the intersection of my faith and vocation” and “I gained a deeper understanding of faith through my Inquiry Program experience” receiving nearly 80 percent of responses being “strongly agree/agree.” The summer will be spent analyzing that data further in addition to interviews and more open-ended questions, but initial data demonstrates the highly positive impact these programs have had on students.