Engineering team takes on a recycling project on the way to renewing passion for missions.

By August 23, 2004

Egypt (MNN)–Some engineering students from an InterVarsity chapter at Northwestern University in Illinois went to Cairo Egypt to help tutor English at the Boys Recycling Center.

The team was sent to Mokattam, in the garbage city of Cairo. They served at four main sites: the orphanage, the boy’s recycling center, the handicapped ministry and the hospital.

At the boy’s recycling center, they rely on the money earned from recycling to run many of their programs such as English lessons, computer class and camps to various parts of Egypt.

The center has been largely successful at recycling things like shampoo bottles and plastic water and soda bottles. However, the team was told that the center had yet to find a way to recycle Tetrapek, the waxy-substance lining juice boxes.

The team of engineers immediately tackled the problem. Andy Ong is a Junior bio-medical engineering student who was with the group. He says, up till then, the engineering part of his education was not among the things he took seriously. However, with the challenge presented, he says his view shifted. “I considered maybe using that in the hospital, but, I never thought I’d actually use what I learned in engineering class over there in Cairo to design something. I never thought I’d have the chance to.”

It’s part of Intervarsity’s “Global Urban Trek”. The program call students to consider ministry to the poorest of the poor in each of the Trek cities, with a hopeful consideration of professionals working in full-time evangelistic service.

Ong says his trip sharpened his missions perspective. “God has shown me that He can use pretty much anybody through any occupation and that He will use you if you are serving Him on missions, or wherever you are; overseas, in Cairo, or even here back in urban America. God will use whatever skills you have, whatever gifts you have.”

As for the Tetrapek recycling prototype, Ong says they were limited by lack of time, resources and money. The team wasn’t able to finish it, although before they left, they gave the center advice on how to pursue the recycling project further.

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