NORTH NEWTON, KAN. -- Karey French, junior global peace and justice studies major from Moundridge, has been named the first recipient of the Global Ministries Internship Endowment at Bethel College. Family members of the late Waldo H. and Linda L. (Zielke) Friesen established the endowment in their memory in 2003. The goal of the endowment, which is also cooperative with Mennonite Central Committee and Mennonite Church USA, is to encourage young people to develop their commitment to the global peace and justice ministry of the Mennonite church.
French leaves May 24 for two months in Kingston, Jamaica, where she will work with the Independent Jamaica Council for Human Rights. The IJCHR is currently processing Haitian refugees seeking asylum in Jamaica.
"I will be helping with the documentation, processing and general administration of duties that IJCHR carries out in relation to the Haitian refugees or any other people with which the Council is working," French said.
"I want to work overseas with MCC in the future," she continued. "I think this will be a great stepping stone for me. The internship is right in line with my major and what I would like to do someday, so I think it’ll be a good way to test the waters and see if it really is what I want to do."
Waldo and Linda Friesen were involved with the Mennonite church all their lives, particularly in their home congregation of First Mennonite Church in Aberdeen, Idaho. They were especially committed to the peace witness of the church beyond North America.
The Friesens retired to North Newton in 1976. Waldo Friesen died in 1989 and Linda Friesen in 2001. Their two sons, Duane Friesen and Larry Friesen, are both graduates of Bethel College and are on the Bethel faculty. Duane retires this spring after teaching in the Bible and religion department for 35 years. Larry is professor of social work.
Linda and Waldo Friesen’s three grandchildren--Anne Friesen Birky, Denver, Colo., Sara Friesen-Guhr, Newton, and Katy June-Friesen, Columbia, Mo.--are also Bethel College graduates. The Friesen family created the endowment to honor parents and grandparents "who passed on to us a vision of the church’s active ministry of peace and justice."
In administering the endowment, Bethel College will work with Mennonite Church USA and MCC to place students in internships in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Mexico and the Middle East. Students from any discipline who have an interest in exploring the peace and justice ministry of the church in a cross-cultural setting are eligible to apply for the internships.
"This endowment adds an important new funded opportunity for students in Bethel’s Cross-Cultural Learning Program," said Dwight Krehbiel, professor of psychology and current chair of Bethel’s Cross-Cultural Learning Committee.
Bethel College is a four-year liberal arts college affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. Founded in 1887, it is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. Bethel is known for its academic excellence and in 2004 was named a Top Tier college by U.S. News & World Report for the 7th straight year. For more information, see the Bethel web site at www.bethelks.edu.