Staff Celebrate Year with Students from Africa at Meal Night

Former Lutheran Brethren Missionaries to Africa, Dan and Rachel Venberg. Dan is pointing to Chad where the couple served.

Former Lutheran Brethren Missionaries to Africa, Dan and Rachel Venberg. Dan is pointing to Chad where the couple served.

On Sunday, a dozen Hillcrest students from 5 countries in Africa traveled to Fargo to enjoy native African cuisine. The group visited a restaurant owned by a pastor and his wife from Ghana. The experience united a growing population in the Hillcrest community, highlighting special historical ties to the African continent.

In 1914 Berge Revne ventured to Africa to share the Gospel. His training at Lutheran Brethren Schools directed his passions after receiving special training from E.M. Broen on the state of Christianity in Africa. Revne forecasted deep friendships with the Lutheran Brethren and Africa, noting that “the prospects are that missionaries can make the trip from the center of Africa to France in just a few days. Oh, yes, some of you probably sit and smile at my optimism. Just go ahead and smile (Ja, ja, bare smil were the words written in Norwegian). But, I believe that airplanes will be no small factor in spreading the Gospel, especially in Africa. I for one won't waste much time in thinking about this kind of a trip if a couple of months of travel time can be saved by plane travel.” It is unlikely that he foresaw the connection spanning from Africa to the school system that catapulted him into mission work.

Hillcrest currently has over five African countries represented, with more students from Africa set to attend in the 2019-2020 school year. In conducting an end-of-the-year survey, Student Connections Director Dawn Synstelien discovered that some of the students from Africa wanted an evening where they could enjoy African cuisine. To celebrate the year and the students from Africa, Dawn organized an evening meal, chaperoned by two former missionaries to Africa, Dan and Rachel Venberg.

Dawn Synstelien enjoying a photo opportunity with Abraham Burleigh before dinner was served.

Dawn Synstelien enjoying a photo opportunity with Abraham Burleigh before dinner was served.

The group sat around a long table and swapped stories describing “the first goat they ever skinned,” while waiting for chicken, beef, and goat meat dishes. Dawn called the time together “a rich blessing,” enjoying an evening with our students from Liberia, Ethiopia, South Africa, Nigeria, and Tanzania to demonstrate, first-hand the colorful tapestry of God’s human design and the cultures that make up the amazing community at Hillcrest Academy.