Marshall student takes mission trip to Uppsala, Sweden


Shaun Thompson

Marshall student Shaun Thompson (bottom far right) poses with friends Katelyn Reece, Mary Margret Gill, Abby Klein and Meghan Reid during a mission trip to Uppsala, Sweden over the summer.

Willingness to learn about religion welcomed a Marshall University student during a mission trip over the summer with Cru, a campus ministry, to Uppsala, Sweden.  

“Many of the people I talked to in Sweden were not only not Baptist, but rather have never heard of that form of Christianity before,” Shaun Thompson, the only member of Cru on the mission trip, said. “When compared to places like the United States, Sweden has much less of a Christian population. When students go to school in Sweden, they are taught more about Greek Orthodox. This further pushed me to go on the mission trip and made me want me to reach out and tell the people of Sweden about Christianity.”

Thompson said despite her eagerness and willingness to spread religion, her money raising was a struggle. 

“It was the night before to put all money in, but I still had about $3,600 left to raise for the mission trip,” Thompson said.  “I thought for sure I was not going to get to go because of my lack of money. All of a sudden, when I woke up the next day, all this money from supporters rushed in.”

Thompson said she was nervous going into the mission due to not knowing how people were going to react in Sweden when she shared her beliefs.  

“Even though I am comfortable with sharing my beliefs, I was still nervous,” Thompson said. “It’s a new country, new culture, and I did not know how they were going to react. I have never been to this area in the world before, so all these likely scenarios of what was going to happen kept popping up in my thoughts.”

Emily Evans, a member of Cru who went on the Sweden mission trip before Thompson, said that this is one of the most frightening parts of a mission trip.

“You do not know what is going to be thought about you or said about you,” Evans said.  “Many people, as they go on a mission trip, are afraid that people will not respond well when you try to reach out to them.”

Upon landing in Sweden and getting familiar with the culture, the people of Sweden were more accepting and willing to talk about Christianity, Thompson said.  

“You’re always going to have people reject or push you away when you bring up sensitive subjects like religion,” Thompson said.  “However, they were very open and eager to learn about my experience with Christianity. They wanted to hear more and more. It honestly surprised me because some of the people were more accepting in Sweden than some of the people in United States, but I was more than happy with how welcoming people were.”

Aaron Dickens can be contacted at [email protected].