news-category: Christian Life and Service

Gardner-Webb Mission Team will Assist in Medical Clinics in Eswatini

Group of 10 Raising Money to Offset Cost of the Trip

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—In May, Gardner-Webb University students and leaders will travel to Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) to assist in the medical clinics run by the Kudvumisa Foundation. Impoverished families in this African country have little to no access to medical care and one of the world’s highest HIV/Aids prevalence rates. Over the last 15 years, with the help of generous donors and volunteers, the non-profit organization has built two clinics and maintains a mobile outreach van. The Foundation’s missionaries constantly strive to increase the number of families they serve.

The Gardner-Webb team includes eight students and two leaders—Dr. Melissa McNeilly, assistant professor of nursing, and Stacy Simmons, associate minister for pastoral care. The estimated cost for each person on the trip is $3,200, and the team is currently raising money to help with the expense.

McNeilly and Simmons worked on a previous mission trip together and decided to plan another one. Choosing where to go was easy. “In all honesty, I feel like we didn’t pick the location, the location picked us,” McNeilly offered. “We reached out to see where the need was and where we could serve.”

The Gardner-Webb group will be paired with nurses and doctors in the clinics, seeing patients, observing ultrasounds, wound care, IV therapy, cervical cancer screening, and other procedures. They will obtain vital signs, weight measurements, and assist in the pharmacy by counting pills and packaging them for their nurses to dispense to patients. They will also travel with the Foundation’s staff into the surrounding communities to see patients and conduct home visits with disabled children, as well as deliver food to families. They may also have an opportunity to play games with the children or participate in children’s ministry.

“It’s an honor to serve alongside our nursing department and to be able to offer a medical trip for students who feel led to go on a trip like this, regardless, if they are in the medical field or not,” Simmons observed. “I am blessed to be able to serve with these students in hopes of them seeing the great commission fulfilled.”

One of the students on the team is senior biology major, and Tucker Scholar, Kyndal Jackson. She aspires to be a Physician Assistant, so the trip will be an opportunity for her to experience a medical environment while sharing her faith. “This not only fuels my passion about my future in healthcare, but also grows me closer to the Lord,” she related. “I know that the Lord will be faithful, and He has plans much bigger than mine, so I can be obedient and trust Him.”

In the past, Jackson has served on a medical mission trip to Cuba. With other teams from Gardner-Webb, she helped with Samaritan’s Purse disaster relief projects in Lake Charles, La., and Mayfield, Ky. “Something I’ve learned from all of these trips is that the Lord has worked things out way before I even thought about them, and everything happens according to His purpose. Ultimately, I pray that the Lord will move and transform lives.”

This will be Kayla Wehunt’s first mission opportunity outside of the United States. The senior is also going on a mission trip to Kentucky in March. A psychology major minoring in biology, Wehunt wanted to go to Eswatini to grow her faith. “I always heard that once you go on a mission trip, you feel so full and humble,” she explained. “I am also excited to experience a new culture. I hope to help spread the gospel, and help other spread it as well. I hope to gain confidence and become closer to God.” 

Gardner-Webb University is North Carolina’s recognized leader in private, Christian higher education. A Carnegie-Classified Doctoral/Professional University, GWU is home to nine colleges and schools, more than 80 undergraduate and graduate majors, and a world-class faculty. Located on a beautiful 225-acre campus in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb prepares graduates to impact their chosen professions, equips them with the skills to advance the frontiers of knowledge, and inspires them to make a positive and lasting difference in the lives of others. Ignite your future at

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