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Inaugural Great Commission Showcase Winner Announced

IRVINE, Calif. (November 17, 2015) – April Hall of Seattle, WA, a senior English major at Concordia University Irvine (CUI), was selected as the winner of the University’s first Great Commission Showcase, an event highlighting students’ mission-minded service projects locally and abroad. Hall served for two weeks in Kolkata, India at a home for elderly adults with the nuns of the Missionaries of Charity founded by Mother Teresa. Hall and her affiliated mission agency in India will each receive $1,500.00

“It’s such an honor to participate in the first Great Commission Showcase,” said Hall. “I love that God is continuing to use my experience to share His love with others. The best part is that this story doesn’t end with me. I pray that God keeps using my story for His glory.” Hall’s project was titled “God’s Love Incarnate: Service Ministry Leads to Gospel Proclamation in Kolkata, India.”

“April beautifully tied her service project to the heart and soul of Concordia University Irvine,” said CUI President Kurt Krueger. “She captured our mission—to go out and proclaim the Gospel—through her words and deeds.”

Students participated in mission projects or short-term mission trips that were part of Concordia University Irvine, or a mission organization. Entrants wrote research papers which included cultural and economic factors about the field, anticipated challenges, and what they learned about their own faith. In addition, students also created poster displays, and 10-minute presentations. Faculty served as mentors.


April Hall, center, a senior at Concordia University Irvine from Seattle, Washington is the winner of the first Great Commission Showcase at the University. The competition featured students’ service projects across four continents and five countries. Hall, an English major, served in Kolkata, India with the nuns of the Missionaries of Charity founded by Mother Teresa. Hall and the charity will each receive $1,500.00. Also pictured from left is Rev. Dr. Mike Gibson Director of the Great Commission Institute, Great Commission Showcase Coordinator and Professor of Theology Mark Siegert, and Concordia University Irvine President Kurt Krueger.

“Launching the Showcase during our 40th academic year,” said Great Commission Showcase Coordinator and Professor of Theology Mark Siegert, “seems appropriate. Our university was founded on the principle of sharing the gospel and our identity has always been linked to the Great Commission. What better way for our students to commemorate this than by leaving their global ‘mission footprints’ in this way.”

Second place winners included Shea Marie Frates and Nokukhanya Shabalala for their project on how hospitality plays a role in hosting international students. Noah Menke’s entry involved his time and ministering to South African students through music, while fourth place winner Jourden Ammann’s project focused on “Living out the Great Commission in China.” Poster prize award recipients include Taylor Kelso for “SOAKED! In Hungary,” and “Serving Christ in the Outback” by Rebekah Amort and Jessica Mendoza for their work in Australia.

University leadership served as judges. They included professors from the School of Theology, and the School of Business, the director of the nursing program, and community involvement and leadership development, and the Executive Director of Lutheran Bible Translators.

Next year, Siegert hopes to drum up more students and cover more continents. “Mark’s quote.”

About the Great Commission Showcase

As part of the Great Commission Institute at Concordia University Irvine, the Great Commission Showcase follows the Great Commission as outlined in the Book of Matthew in the bible (Mt 28:16-20) where Jesus sends His disciples to actively engage in proclaiming the Gospel of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ to all people, in all places (local and global) with the goal of bringing people to baptism, faith, and discipleship. Since “faith comes from hearing and hearing through the Word of Christ” (Romans 10:17), the Great Commission involves not just service, but the use of words.

About Concordia University Irvine

Concordia University Irvine (CUI) prepares students for their vocations—their calling in life. Concordia offers undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs in education, nursing, theology, business, and athletic administration. CUI’s undergraduate program is distinctive because of its nationally recognized core curriculum, Enduring Questions & Ideas, and its Lutheran heritage that provides a thoughtful and caring Christian community that lives out the theology of "Grace Alone. Faith Alone." Concordia is a U.S. News Top Tier Regional University and has been named by The Chronicle of Higher Education as one of the fastest growing private nonprofit master's institutions. CUI enrolls over 4,000 students annually and is in year two of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II Membership Process.

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