Mount Mercy students set their sights on Africa for summer missionary work

Two Mount Mercy University students are gearing up to spend their summers doing missionary work in Africa. Dia Brown, a junior nursing major from Urbandale, Iowa, will travel to Sierra Leone and work with a team at Jonathan House Ministries, a house for orphans. Elizabeth Brumm, a senior English major from Cedar Falls, Iowa, will travel to the small village of Dafor, Ghana as she joins forces with the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS).

Brown will put her nursing training into practice as she assists with women's health issues such as birth control and safe family planning. Brown will also help advocate for good drinking habits, as many women there believe water makes one gain weight. "I am really excited to use my knowledge from nursing to help others," says Brown. "It makes me feel that my degree and schooling is worthwhile."

Dia Brown Brown will leave July 5 and return July 19. In addition to her work with women's health, Brown and her team will also provide attention, affection and personal interaction with orphans in need of care.

Brumm, who is leaving July 5 and will return August 3, will also provide support for local children as well as assist with building houses. She and her team will work to establish a local Catholic church in rural Ghana. She will also be volunteering in Ghana's capital, Accra, where she will work with the organization Missionaries of Charity.

"I think the biggest challenge will be adjusting to a new culture and lifestyle," says Brumm. "I will be trading my comfortable showers for water buckets, my closet full of clothes for a few t-shirts, and my perfume for bug spray. It sounds a little high-maintenance, but I think these are things that a lot of us get used to," she says.

Despite the language and cultural challenges the women will face, Brown and Brumm are excited for their upcoming journeys. "This will be out of my comfort zone, but I know it will be worth it," Brown says. "It will be amazing to witness up close a new culture. I think this experience will help me appreciate things that I normally take for granted."

Elizabeth Brumm"I am excited to work directly with the people we will be helping – hearing their stories, getting to know them personally, and seeing how our work is making a difference for them," says Brumm. "I think this will be an adventure that forever changes my outlook on life. I hope that it will make me stronger in my faith and grow closer to God."

Brown hopes the trip will provide her with an added bonus: the chance to meet her future niece. "My sister is currently trying to adopt a little girl from the orphanage [in Sierra Leone]. I am very excited to meet my future niece. I have heard a lot about her and now I finally get to meet her!" says Brown.

The trip provides the perfect opportunity to live out the Mercy mission of service to others. "I have always had a passion for helping others, and Mount Mercy has helped nurture that desire," says Brown. "I have had a lot of opportunities at Mount Mercy to serve others. I guess the more I serve others, the more I want to!"

Brumm agrees. "Mount Mercy really emphasizes giving back to the community through service and encourages faithful living. All of the volunteering I've done at Mount Mercy – outreach days here in Cedar Rapids, service trips and campus events – have really proven worthwhile," she says. "Now I can't just say, 'I've done enough.' I have developed a continuous drive to help others." 

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