New grad goes on mission before starting college

News editor

New graduate Andrea Nordquist is taking a different approach to her last summer before college.

Thursday night, she arrived in Accra, Ghana, in Africa to spend 56 days helping teach preschool-age children at an orphanage. Nordquist decided to go on the mission trip after meeting organizers of Feeding the Orphans last summer at King Solomon Church Camp, said her mother, Jana Nordquist.

“I thought, ‘Hmm, could I do that? Could I go?’” Andrea said Friday night. “Before I knew it, instead of thinking the questions to myself, I began to ask them out loud.”

“‘How much does it cost for a person to do that?’” she asked. “‘How old would I have to be to go?’ I ended up replacing the general pronoun with the very personal ‘I.’”

Andrea said she prayed for a half hour that night. The next day, she got a chance to see the children at the orphanage via Skype.

“When they came up on the screen, they were all singing,” she recalled. “I just remember thinking how extraordinary it was that these children who seemingly have nothing could worship God so loudly and with truly pure hearts.”

She spoke with Marion Christian Church pastor Carl Helm, and he told her, “If you are truly serious about this and you want to go to Ghana, I will make sure you get there.”

She said that was the moment that she knew God wanted her to make the trip.

“She felt that was what God wanted her to do, and she always liked working with kids,” Jana said.

Andrea spent part of the past year raising money. A friend planned to go with her but had to cancel.

Jana isn’t especially worried about her daughter. She said she is strong and strong-willed. But she will miss spending the summer with her daughter.

“That will be the hardest part, right there,” Jana said. “But it’s something we knew she really wanted to do.”

Andrea, who graduated from Marion High School in May, will return Aug. 8 and begins college Aug. 21 at Manhattan Christian College. She plans to study psychology and art therapy for children.

She has had some complications with her travel to Ghana. She was supposed to meet another missionary in Washington, D.C., but her flight was rerouted to Newark, N.J. From there she flew to London, where she had a long layover before she could fly to Accra, the capital and largest city of Ghana.

Early indications are that the complications were worth it.

“Met the kids this morning!” she wrote on Facebook Friday morning. “The are so precious! I never want to leave!”

 

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