March 10, 2016 | 5 p.m.
By Suzanne McInroy, Director of Communications
President Jay Barnes led a group of about 24 people during a Friends of Bethel trip to Kenya and the Netherlands in February. The group enjoyed the beauty and complexity of Kenya, learned about the history of Christianity in East Africa, and experienced the contrasts between the majority world represented by Kenya and the “old world” of the Netherlands. “Traveling with a group of Bethel friends was a special treat,” says Barnes.
One of the trip’s highlights was visiting Bethel students spending a semester studying at Daystar University at the main Athi River campus in Kenya. “We were encouraged by the quality of study abroad experiences our current students have,” says Barnes. “They see the world differently, themselves differently, and God differently. I’m thankful for great partner universities like Daystar."
In addition, four Bethel alumni joined the group for dinner in Nairobi, including Bruce Dahlman ’76, alumnus of the year from 2010, who currently is the head of the Department of Family Medicine and Community Care at Kabarak University in Nakuru, Kenya. Also joining the group was Dahlman’s son Ryan Dahlman ’07, who is in his eighth year of teaching at Rift Valley Academy, a boarding school in Kijabe, Kenya. Rounding out the alumni group were Melanie Elden ’96, who works with Wycliffe on Bible translation projects in Kenya and the Congo; and Katie Toop ’00, who works with World Concern, a global relief and development organization, and divides her time among South Sudan, Somalia, Chad, and Kenya. “Seeing Bethel’s mission lived out in the lives of our graduates inspired our group,” says Barnes.
In the Netherlands, the Friends of Bethel group was inspired by a visit to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, and sobered by visits to the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam and the Corrie ten Boom house in Haarlem.