Mission Team Trips to Cover Many Service Needs

Planning starts for 2011 spring break mission trips

OWU students reach out to others in many ways during the annual Spring Break Mission Team trips. This photo was taken during a visit to El Salvador in 2010 to work with an evangelical ministry that cares for children in an orphanage. Photo courtesy of OWU’s Office of University Chaplain.

Ohio Wesleyan University faculty and staff and students will form teams and start meeting this fall to plan this year’s spring break mission team trips, which are organized by the University Chaplain’s Office.

Habitat for Humanity’s Collegiate Challenge
Team members will spend a week doing construction, painting, or other tasks in order to help a person or family with the construction of their home. They will work along with the future homeowners, who are required to put in hours of “sweat equity” work.  The team will also explore the greater issues interwoven with homelessness both nationally and globally. This location will be determined by team members in October.

Re-New Orleans: Hurricane Katrina Recovery
This team will be continue the ongoing effort by OWU students, faculty, and staff to remember and stand in solidarity with those whose lives have been so irrevocably altered by this disaster brought to the New Orleans area by Hurricane Katrina.  Team members will work with the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana, gutting damaged homes so that they can be rebuilt, or starting the rebuilding process on already-gutted homes. They also will explore the greater issues of community building, as well as national and global responsibility for disaster restoration (not only in New Orleans, but world-wide).

Chapters, Houses, and Homes: Flood Restoration in Nashville, Tennessee
Service has always been integral to the heart of Greek Life at OWU. This team, led by OWU fraternity and sorority members, will partner with the Tennessee Conference of the United Methodist Church to help the residents of Nashville recover and rebuild from the massive floods that happened in early 2010. Team members will engage in disaster relief efforts while learning about the systemic helps and hindrances inherent to such a situation. At the same time, they will explore what it means to live in community, in sisterhoods and brotherhoods, as well as how those communities might come together with other communities to better the world around them. (Participants on this team are not required to be a member of a Greek organization, but should be interested in issues of community as well as the potential of Greek organizations to effect positive change.)

Crossroads of the Powerful and Powerless: Washington, D.C.
Team members will explore the many facets of power as it relates to the equally diverse dimensions of poverty in the nation’s capital. They will spend time with the poor and those working on the grassroots level to alleviate poverty, as well as lobbyists and politicians who strive to reduce poverty. The team will also partner with the Community for Creative Nonviolence (CCNV), one of the largest homeless shelters in the nation.

Building and Rebuilding: Lakota Nation, South Dakota
This intentionally interfaith team will engage in the United Methodist Church’s long-term mission to rebuild Lakota-Anglo relationships through respectful conversation, deep critical reflection, and dedicated service.  This team will continue its long-standing relationship with the Tree of Life community in Mission, South Dakota by helping as needed to build or repair a home, serve meals in the senior center, or assist with children. Each evening, the team will meet with tribal and spiritual elders of the local Lakota community.  With an open mind, an open heart, and a desire to learn from perspectives far beyond our own, the team will thoughtfully examine both the damage done by Christian missionaries in this place, and the powerful potential for healing between our broken cultures.

Women in Community: The Benedictine Sisters of Erie, Pennsylvania
Participants on this team will experience the Benedictine model of faith, community, prayer, and social action as they help with a variety of the sisters’ service projects (including a soup kitchen and an inner-city youth art house). They will learn about the social justice initiatives of the sisters, participate in the community life and prayer life of the monastery, and intentionally reflect upon the role such “radical hospitality” plays in relationship to urban poverty and social justice.

Love and Hope Ministries: Children at the Core of El Salvador
This team will return for the sixth consecutive year to an orphanage operated by Love and Hope Ministries in El Salvador, an evangelical (but non-proselytizing) Christian ministry. Team members will work on service projects at the orphanage, spend time interacting with the children, and thoughtfully reflect on the significance of such ministries in the context of dispossessed children globally.

Truth behind the Tourism: Justice and Jamaica
Known for tourism and vacations, the island nation of Jamaica is also a land whose governance has left it economically and socially disadvantaged. This team will explore the connections between Christian faith and social justice as they immerse themselves in the prophetic call of Micah to act justly and love mercy. Team members will work with local organizations to refurbish a Jamaican pre-school as well as lead youth-oriented Bible studies and worship.

In addition to the Spring Break Mission Teams, two or three Wilderness Immersion opportunities will also be available through the Chaplain’s Office. Locations are yet to be determined. For information, contact William Hayes  at extension 3085, wfhayes@owu.edu.

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