Rod Light | October 23, 2014

Dr. Karen Tremper, the mild-mannered, congenial director of LPC’s Global Life program, has never met a challenge too big or too demanding. As a veteran missionary, a wife, and a mother of four she knew long ago that God had called her to reach the world for Christ. <Photo of Dr. Tremper>

When new opportunities in her life aligned with her past experiences, she completed her doctoral studies while training LPC students to love the people of the world as much as she does. Today Karen spends her life investing in the lives of students who she believes will be world-changers.

She coordinates short-term cross-cultural experiences for LPC students in China, Israel, France, Myanmar and a host of other countries, and passionately teaches her students how to reach out and make a difference when they travel abroad.

Karen says the Global Life program at LPC allows her students to “test drive” their education in safe, guided global experiences. Using their learning in such a practical way helps them embed skills, theories, and practices that might otherwise be left behind in a classroom.

Recently, we asked Dr. Tremper to provide a peek inside her role as director of the LPC Global Life program.

LPC: What is the overarching vision of the Global Life program at LPC?

The trips in our Global Life program practically apply what students are learning in their other formal studies, and allow them to function effectively in a global environment. We partner with a student’s education and help provide practical output for them when they graduate.

This is their world – not the world of the future, but the world of today – in which students live and serve. They must learn to put theory to work in a real world situation and they must know how to live as disciples, and how to make disciples in this global environment.

LPC: How many LPC students typically travel abroad?

Twenty percent of LPC students participate in study abroad experiences. Some go on trips ranging from a few days to several weeks at a time, others serve as interns, and some students live for longer periods of time in another country. These students participate in online learning while getting a first hand look at what it’s like to be an active part of a different culture, often far from the comforts of home.

I firmly believe that we need a bit of personal discomfort to discover how devoted we are to following Jesus. Traveling and serving abroad strips a person of everything that makes us comfortable.

LPC: What do students do when they travel abroad?

LPC faculty prepare our students in the classroom before they go so they get the most out of their travels and their education. Dr. Terry Samples trains his students for months before they travel to Myanmar so they are ready to teach pastors in Bible school classes. Dr. Dan Stewart helps students gain the experience necessary to lead church groups to the Holy Land by training his students to understand the significance of biblical passages that relate to the region.

In addition, this year, students in our newly launched Business Administration program and our Human Development and Psychology program will find new opportunities to apply what they are learning during study abroad trips tailored for their programs.

Dr. Mick Bates, founding chair of the new business administration degree program will lead a trip of LPC business students to Costa Rica this spring and further their understanding of business as mission. Students in our new Human Development and Psychology program regularly minister to orphans and also to people in Mexico who have recently been deported and returned to their homeland, sometimes with very few resources to sustain them.

Global Life is all about service and discipleship. Our students must know the world in which they live – for instance, did you know that one in five people in the world are Chinese? Our students need to know this culture and understand the Chinese way of life. LPC wouldn’t want to miss the opportunity to meet this culture, and so we send students there. This year, I will accompany as many as four students to language school in China and I am excited about this opportunity.

LPC: Describe some of your hopes and dreams for the Global Life program at LPC.

We have a responsibility to share the good news around the world and we must do everything possible to remove cultural, linguistic, and geographic boundaries in order to accomplish this goal.

When students travel abroad, we are able to capture their attention and expand their personal experience, often opening their eyes to the needs of the world. I want students to have this experience and to let God use them anywhere He calls them to go.

Rod Light, M.A. is an ordained Foursquare minister, LPC adjunct professor, and Communications Coordinator for Foursquare Missions International.