Visiting Egypt ‘Gave the Word Sacrifice New Meaning to Me’ — Toni Svonavec Offers Insights on Serve to Learn

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Today, I’m proud to present the reflections of Serve to Learn superstar Toni Svonavec! She went on the summer 2014 trip, and we were very excited when she visited our Virginia headquarters just a few weeks ago to talk about her experiences!

For those of you who don’t know, Serve to Learn is a three-week service trip to Egypt to serve the world’s greatest kids. (By the way, you can find your application for the July 3-25 2015 Serve to Learn trip here!) Each year, people from all over the world come together in Egypt and teach basic English skills with their time — and hearts. It’s a life-changing experience, so brush up on your Arabic, get your arts and crafts supplies, open up your hearts, and get ready to be forever changed.

Toni Svonavec currently lives in Fredericksburg, Virginia. where she works as a second-grade teacher in the Stafford County Public School System.

If you want to read other Serve to Learn stories, here are interviews with JohnGabyMinaAndyVeronikaDavidBen, Kirollos, MariamAlex, and Mirelle.

Here’s what Toni had to say about Serve to Learn 2014:

After coming home from Egypt, did you see things in a different light than before you left?

Living short-term in a part of the world that the media often portrays as very dangerous gave me perspective on my own anxiety and fears. I learned that the only healthy fear is fear of the Lord. When you are following after Christ there are no fears in life. The only thing to fear is being disobedient to God’s plan for you.

Did you have any “Eureka moments” while you were on the trip? Something that helped you understand why Christians in Egypt do what they do?

Visiting Insina [a mountain where many Christians were martyred long ago] gave the word “sacrifice” new meaning to me. I learned what it truly means to suffer for your faith.

Did you meet anyone in Egypt who really impacted you? What was their story? How did it make you feel?

I was greatly impacted by all of the servants from the Church who ran the school and the visits to the homes. Their commitment to volunteer in their community was amazing.

What is the most powerful thing you would say to someone to convince them to sign up for Serve to Learn 2015?

I personally did Serve to Learn as a test for myself, to see what teaching in a foreign country would be like. I would encourage other teachers who have the summers off to try Serve to Learn. It’s an amazing way to serve and it gives you so much insight to education in other countries.

Apply now for Serve to Learn’s July 3-25 trip in 2015! If you still have questions, you can learn more by reading the Serve to Learn FAQ, or by writing to us directly at info@copticorphans.org.

Also, you can read “Top 5 Myths Why You Can’t Take Part in Serve to Learn Debunked.” 

PS  Please go to the top of this post and hit the “Like” button, then share the post, tweet it, email it to everyone you know, print it out and pass it out to five of your friends, and finally, go (cautiously) stand in the middle of a busy intersection with a megaphone and shout it out!  

About Nermien Riad

Nermien Riad founded Coptic Orphans in 1988 after volunteering for an orphanage in Cairo. When she saw that most of the children had living widowed mothers who simply couldn’t afford to feed them, she gathered family and friends to sponsor children in Egypt. Today Coptic Orphans works through a network of 400+ church-based volunteers in Egypt, who visit fatherless families in their homes and make sure they get everything they need to unlock their full potential. That way, they don’t have to get married off as child brides, work as 10-year old family breadwinners, or go to live at an institutional orphanage.