Two students becoming world travelers

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 17, 2001

MANCHESTER – Ben Back is headed to the Holy Land this summer to do mission work.

Thursday, May 17, 2001

MANCHESTER – Ben Back is headed to the Holy Land this summer to do mission work. It’s one of several exotic locales he will see over his 10-week trip.

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Last year it was Nepal. This year it’s the Middle East and Europe. As part of a team of traveling student missionaries through the Royal Servants program, Back will spend his summer on the streets of the world’s cities ministering to youth and adults through music and drama.

And even though he has to pay for the privilege, Back said he is hooked on world travel.

&uot;I think the travel and street ministry has done a lot for my world view. To see how people live in other countries – how they think and act – I love it,&uot; Back said.

Back will join Albert Lean Kristy Swanson on the trip. They will spend the next month raising money to pay the $5,650 cost. Though they will get some assistance from their church, Crossroads Evangelical Free Church, most of the money will come from individuals and family.

Swanson said the experience of street ministry is unforgettable. She says she has had a &uot;heart for missions&uot; ever since her first Royal Servants trip to Scotland in 1998.

&uot;It’s wonderful to help so many people and meet so many interesting people,&uot; Swanson said. &uot;The conditions are a challenge. It can be exhausting, but these trips have helped me grow in my faith.&uot;

Back said the teams of students, numbering about 40 including several adult supervisors, are on the move every day, sleeping in tents and washing their clothes in sinks and basins. A three-week training course prepares them to communicate their faith and deal with the culture shock, he said.

&uot;You are out of your comfort zone every day because of language and everything else,&uot; Back said.

When they arrive in a new city, they simply set up their operation on a street corner or city square, Back said. The ministry involves music, along with dramatic presentations, telling the of story of the Bible from creation to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The teams always learn to put a portion of their performances in the native language of the city they’re visiting, he said.

Swanson said some teams use puppets or clowns, while others may use contemporary Christian music to carry their message. The performances appeal to both children and adults, she said.

&uot;I guess we just use the talents we have. Everyone finds a way to contribute,&uot; she said.

Swanson said she and Back will be joined on their trip by Louis Inks, the founder of the Royal Servants program.

For more information about the Royal Servants youth ministry program, or to help Back and Swenson pay for their trip, call Back at 507-826-3585 or send him an e-mail to