christy-eubank-story5.jpgWhen I came to Candler I knew I was going to be pushed out of my comfort zone. I knew I was going to be challenged to learn and think differently than I ever had before. But those are all part of the reasons I decided to come here for seminary. Going on the World Methodist Evangelism Institute’s (WMEI) travel seminar to Portugal started out as a way to explore a new country while taking a class over the January term. It ended up being so much more.

Don’t get me wrong, I was excited to explore the city of Porto, Portugal, and the food and desserts were certainly an added perk of going on the trip! But those are not the things that will stick with me from the WMEI trip. After coming home and reflecting, I am most thankful for the relationships and connections I was able to make with my fellow Candler students and professors. I knew Candler was packed with great professors, but my busy day-to-day life as a student and intern makes it hard to connect to christy-eubank-story3.jpgprofessors in a meaningful way.

I also made friends with people beyond my cohort. It’s easy to get in a rut where you keep to a routine at school. WMEI pushed me out of the same mundane humdrum groove, and I now have friendships that I would not have if I had not gone. Any time you travel with people you have opportunities to share memories, and we did! Of course, we were there to learn, but we also had some amazing day trips that our host coordinated for us.

christy-eubank-story7.jpgOne of the things that stood out to me the most on this trip was the sheer beauty of Portugal. I love being profoundly entrenched in creation and have always been the most connected to God this way. I think observing a place can always be a way of showing appreciation to the Creator. I did not expect to be as awestruck by the city of Porto as I was. Every time I turned around, I was struck with admiration. I realized that it was truly God that blessed people with the gifts and talents to build up a city this stunning. The Catholic churches there were so beautiful, and I wondered, why shouldn’t they be?! Someone could say that may be idolatrous, but I feel that God deserves and even commands our true authentic selves—so it is right and a good thing to glorify God with the best of everything we have and in everything we do.

christy-eubank-story2.jpgIn addition to the natural beauty of Porto, we had the opportunity to hear speakers from around the world talk about evangelism. The context and speakers added a layer of richness that is hard to reproduce inside a classroom in America. The seminar provoked us to think deeper about evangelism and how it’s done in other places in the world. Imagine what the church could become if we moved past our differences and truly became the living body of Christ. The secret is seeing what God is doing in the lives of others. We need to compromise, be flexible, and be willing to learn. 

If Christianity is a theology for all, then it cannot be done in isolation. Evangelism, mission, and theology all need to be done in transcultural dialogue that is all inclusive. I am thankful that Candler has these global learning opportunities for students. Now we can approach the subject of evangelism with a newer and fresher perspective.