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UC students minister in Guatemala during Christmas break


Williamsburg, Ky. – Instead of staying home for Christmas break, eleven students and alumni from University of the Cumberlands (UC) traveled to San Cristobal, Guatemala to minister with the girls at the Prince of Peace Home for Girls during Dec. 26, 2013 until Jan.1, 2014.

UC’s Baptist Campus Ministries promoted the Guatemala mission trip and Susan Albertson (Greenup, Ky.), Mary Jewell Allen (Williamsburg, Ky.), David and Christen Dierken (Florence, Ky.), Caroline Johnson (Morganfield, Ky.), Joey Koogler (Hebron, Ky.), Haley Ferguson (Hawesville, Ky.), Matt Lawson (Lawrenceburg, Ky.), Haley Swihart (a high school student from Hawesville, Ky.), Leann Wright (Lawrenceburg, Ky.), and Bethany Yonts (Lexington, Ky.) traveled with the UC group. They received monetary support from family and friends and also prayers to go minster at Prince of Peace.

Not only did the mission team minister to the girls at Prince of Peace, they had the opportunity to go to a couple of indigenous villages one day and give the people food and the children toys. They also went to El Refugio (The Refuge,) women’s home for women in need. The girls on the team baked them cookies and the guys did some landscaping by trimming the trees with machetes.

The mission team from UC stayed at the girls’ home to spend every day with the girls. The students were there for them daily, visiting with them, showing them God’s love and showing them that they are special young girls who are needed. The girls clung to the team and loved them.

“Going there expecting to serve so much but it was great to be served and see them show God’s love just as much as we did,” said Koogler. “We were serving with the girls not just to them.”

<>The Prince of Peace Home for Girls’ mission is to provide a place where girls can be emotionally, physically, educationally, and spiritually healed in a safe refuge where they can learn about and experience God’s love.

The girls come from broken homes where they’re not wanted or can’t be taken care of by their families. At Prince of Peace they have an opportunity to seek a good education that will be beneficial to their future. The girls’ home specifically wants the importance of God and a personal relationship with Him to make a great impact on the girls.

“As soon as you step in, you feel God’s presence,” said Yonts. It was her first time, as well as a few of the other students, overseas. According to Yonts, it wasn’t hard to communicate with the language barrier because through smiles, hugs, and showing kindness the mission team and girls shared in the love of God. It was encouraging to Yonts to see the girls’ pure faith because they have nothing so they have to completely rely on God.

“To see girls who have been every kind of abused and then to see them at the girls home being healed,” said Yonts. “It wasn’t just them healing by me loving on them; I was healed by loving on them.”

The Prince of Peace’s motivational verse listed on their website is James 1:27, "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”

"The mission mindedness of UC was the very reason I got involved with UC when I was in 6th grade,” said Haley Swihart. “I have loved the environment there ever since and it has definitely encouraged me to make my final decision on Cumberlands as my college."

Located in Williamsburg, Ky., University of the Cumberlands is an institution of regional distinction, which currently offers four undergraduate degrees more than 40 major fields of study; ten pre-professional programs; ten graduate degrees distributed over eight areas, including two doctorates and seven master’s degrees; certifications in education; and online programs. For more information, visit

Article provided by Lydia Huggins, Multimedia and Athletic Services Department Student Assistant