The McKendrean Magazine for McKendree Univeristy - Winter 2023

McKendree Alumni Couple Shares God's Love, Serves People in Need in Zambia

by Tina (Napper) Tebbe ’08

Curtis Stahl ’06 with African Students
Curtis Stahl ’06 and Monica (Todich) Stahl ’06 took part in separate mission trips to Zambia this year with members from their church, Copper Creek Christian Church, in support of one of their mission partners, African Vision of Hope (AVOH) in Maryville, Ill. The couple decided to venture to Zambia to see AVOH in action, especially since they sponsor a child named Clement through the organization. Curtis went from July 4 to 14, and Monica visited from October 28 to November 6.

“Sometimes when you support an organization, it’s hard to know exactly what they do just from a website. When we got to see what they do in person, it is amazing the impact they have in Zambia,” Monica said.

While in Zambia, Curtis fixed computers and their Internet network and also visited the AVOH’s schools and played with the children. The nurses on the trip with him measured the children and cared for those who were sick. Monica, meanwhile, interacted with children and visited the schools and the House of Hope, a rescue home for vulnerable women, children and families. At the schools, Monica and her group separated into classrooms to pray for the children. She also visited some homes in each of the villages. “It is very humbling to see how little the people here live with, yet they feel so blessed,” Monica said.

Perhaps the most impactful thing that happened to both Curtis and Monica was the joy that the children showed, even when they were hungry or sick. “Every school we visited, the children greeted us with songs about praising Jesus,” Monica remarked. “They were so grateful to be at school and to know someone cares about them.”

“Many of the children do not have any toys, so they make their own out of trash,” Curtis said. “For some of these children, lunch at school is their only meal of the day. With all this said, when we visited the schools the children were just so full of joy. They feel loved and cared for at school; it is a safe space where they can be themselves. They are viewed as a treasure.”

Of course, mission work can be challenging; even the most fervent struggle with knowing they can’t fix everything they see. “It was heartbreaking to see children in the streets that might not have any shoes or food to eat,” Monica said. “We gave many families and children some food we had in our backpacks, but we couldn’t help everyone.”

The Stahls have been serving others on mission trips since they were students. They both visited Mexico three times on mission trips to Loma de Flores with McKendree’s Campus Ministries. As alumni, Curtis has been to Oklahoma and Mississippi to serve those affected by Hurricane Katrina, and Monica visited the Ukraine on a mission trip in 2018 to see their church’s missions partner, Pioneer Bible Translators, in action. However, the couple stresses that real change can happen even in one’s own backyard.

“You don’t have to travel across the world to make a difference. You can support organizations that help others around the world,” Monica said. “You can pray for them and become involved. Just find somethingt hat is important to you and find out more.”

Asked if they would like to embark on future mission trips, the Stahls gave a resounding “yes.” “Who knows where God has planned for us? It will be an adventure and worth it, for sure,” Monica said.