by Kayla Lutes, Features Editor

Freshman Lindsay Rennick moved from Kenya to Indiana at the age of five. Though she was young when she left Africa, Rennick carries a passion for the global church, plans for cultural advocacy and memories of monkey attacks from the time she spent in Kenya.

“I was attacked by monkeys on two separate occasions,” Rennick said. She cites a fear of monkeys as just one of what she calls “secondhand effects” of her family’s time in Kenya.

Rennick is a social work major who plans to do cross-cultural advocacy work after she graduates. She is also considering a minor in Christian ministry. Though Rennick spent most of her childhood in Indiana, watching her parents work as missionaries has influenced Rennick’s future plans.

Rennick said, “[plans for advocacy work] all started from having parents who really valued other cultures and helping programs become better than they are.”

“I have a huge heart for the global church that you could trace back to growing up in Africa,” Rennick said. “Even though we worship differently, we’re all united by one purpose. Growing up in a different culture has helped me learn about and love those differences.” 

Rennick’s parents left steady jobs in Washington D.C. to move to Kenya. There, her father helped co-found a pastoral training institution that drew students from all over Africa. Seeing her parents sacrifice so much to follow God’s plan has helped her to grow in her faith.

“My parents are so much cooler than I’ll ever be,” Rennick said. “Having a family who has valued wherever Christ goes has really influenced me. Having that example of trusting God even when things don’t make sense has been really crazy.”

Rennick can also trace her passion for the global church back to her earliest childhood memories in Kenya.

“I have a huge heart for the global church that you could trace back to growing up in Africa,” Rennick said. “Even though we worship differently, we’re all united by one purpose. Growing up in a different culture has helped me learn about and love those differences.”

A love of difference is what Rennick views as the key to understanding the global church.

“What’s normal for the western church isn’t what’s normal for everyone and that’s okay,” Rennick said. “We’re all worshiping the same God even if it looks really different.”

When asked what the western church could learn from the church in Africa she said, “The church here could be more expressive and free in worship. We go into a church service expecting a program instead of being open to what the spirit may doing and rolling with that.”

While Rennick does not see herself becoming a long-term missionary like her parents, their example and her experience in Kenya have shaped her hopes for the future. She said, “Tangibly growing up in a culture poorer than ours in rural Kenya definitely influenced me. Seeing poverty as a norm gave me an awareness of it. It’s hard to see poverty and what it looks like and not do anything with it.”