Anna Stampfl, a missions major and a senior at Huntington University, is in Tasmania, Australia, working as the international students intern at Wellspring Anglican Church for her PRIME.
Stampfl felt that she was called by God to go into missions her senior year of high school when she went on a short term missions trip to Romania. It was in Romania that God opened her eyes to how big He really is. “God truly burdened my heart for those people and gave me a passion for wanting to share Jesus with people of other cultures,” Stampfl said.
The reason Stampfl, of Kenosha, Wis., chose Huntington University was because of the missions major. As a ministry or missions major at Huntington, it is required that students spend seven months of their senior year obtaining real-life experience on the ministry field. The internship is called PRIME, or Practical Research and Immersion through Ministry Effectiveness.
At the Wellspring Anglican Church in Tasmania, Stampfl’s has restarted English conversation classes, assists with the international student ministry on Monday nights, leads Bible studies, and helps with the Friday night Chinese Youth Fellowship.
One of her responsibilities is helping lead the Introduction to Jesus Bible study. One of these Bible studies resulted in a memorable moment for Stampfl. Participants were talking about the amazing acts Jesus did in his lifetime. The last passage they discussed was about Jesus’ crucifixion. The leaders shared that Jesus, in all His power, could have easily saved Himself from dying on the cross but allowed it to happen for the salvation of people. God worked through Stampfl by sharing with the students a story from her short-term mission trip to Romania.
“When I was in Romania, I had this image in my mind of how Jesus took all the pain and suffering of those children who live on the streets, who are starving and cold,” Stampfl said. “One of those lashes Jesus took on His back during the crucifixion was for them and all the pain He suffered was because he loves us so much. The students, by the grace of God and by the work of the Holy Spirit, were captivated when I told this story. I was truly touched that God used me to speak of his love to these students.”
Stampfl said that adjusting to the culture change is a constant learning process. She is learning a great deal about several different cultures by working with international students, and finds the work not only challenging, but also fascinating.
Stampfl’s biggest challenge so far has been working with the Chinese Youth Fellowship because she is the minority. The study, intended for high school students, is conducted completely in Mandarin. The first meeting she went to she felt every one was staring at her, silently wondering why she was there. She said it was a strange feeling completely helpless. Stampfl is the only English speaker in the youth fellowship, so she said it has been difficult to feel like she is an important part of the ministry because of the language barrier.
Stampfl has learned many things from being in Australia thus far and gives one piece of advice for Huntington University students: “Never forget that there is a much bigger world outside of our HU community,” she said. “God has created a beautiful world with beautiful people. There is so much that we can learn from people of other cultures. We are truly equal in God’s sight, no matter who we are or where we have come from. Always be open to God’s great plans.”