Global Engagement Series: Emily Guerrero’s Experience in Romania'

Emily Guerrero ’24, a senior journalism major, served on a Global Engagement trip this summer in Romania. She and her team of four Azusa Pacific University students traveled to the capitol of Bucharest for nine days in May.

Why did you choose Romania for your global engagement trip?

I really wanted to work with refugees. My mom, my grandma, and my aunt are all refugees from Egypt. Because of the war in Ukraine, thousands of refugees have fled to Romania. I went there to provide support in any way I could.

What did you enjoy most about Romania?

Romanian culture really emphasizes community, helping one another and doing things together. The church we served at in Bucharest was very big on giving your time to others.

How did you serve on the trip?

For a couple of days, we worked at a church, serving and cooking meals. Next, we went to a warehouse where they kept supplies for convoys and helped organize materials. Finally, we went to a camp to clean and set things up for incoming refugees.

What were the biggest highlights of the trip?

Some of the refugees were housed at the church where we served. We spent time with them, sharing a meal and listening to their stories of how they ended up in Romania. You hear about it on the news, but meeting those affected by the war holds much more weight.

I learned a lot on the trip, including how to serve selflessly. For some things, like cleaning bathrooms, I focused not on what I wanted to do, but what the church needed help with most. I enjoyed getting to know the staff at the church. They were so welcoming and kind to us.

What was your team dynamic like?

We didn’t really know each other prior to the trip. We had met a few times, but we really bonded with each other once we got to Bucharest. Because it was a small group, we grew close. There were a lot of funny moments. We also built relationships with our hosts from the Greater Europe Mission.

How did you see God moving on the trip?

Going out of the country definitely broadened my view of God. I saw how God doesn’t stop seeking after people. The refugees had been displaced and had almost no material possessions, but they had God’s love in the church. They grasped onto the hope He provided.

How did you grow personally and spiritually on the trip?

Personally, I learned to be more grateful for what I have. In the U.S., I grew up in a bit of a bubble. We sometimes complain about things that don’t matter. I learned not to complain as much, to be content with what I have, and be grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given. Spiritually, I learned to put aside my own desires, serving with God’s love to help others with their needs.

What was your biggest takeaway from the trip?

I want to take what I learned in Romania and continue to apply it in the U.S. Serving globally was an awesome opportunity, so I’m finding ways to serve locally in my own community. I have neighbors all around me with needs and I want to focus on helping them.

Would you recommend Global Engagement trips to other students? What advice would you give them?

Yes! Going to another country to see their lifestyle really broadened my worldview. It was a great opportunity to see what it’s like to serve in a different culture.

Whatever trip you go on, choose it based on the mission, not the location of the trip. A destination like Greece or France might have been fun, but those missions didn’t align with what I felt called to do. Each trip has a specific purpose. Pray about what mission is right for you.

One of our four cornerstones is service. What does service mean to you?

To me, service is investing your time and energy into others. This doesn’t only mean physically working to help them, but also building relationships with them. Serving is about putting yourself second, focusing on how you can help someone else.

All APU undergraduate students serve 120 hours over the course of four years. There are many opportunities during the school year and the summer to serve both locally and globally. Learn more about global engagement trips here or by emailing [email protected].