Spring break. Time to relax and get away from the workbooks. For many, this time of year means going out with friends and having fun, but for several groups this year, spring break was the time for rolling up sleeves to serve others–and have some fun as well.
Seven mission teams including OWU students and faculty members traveled to six U.S. locales and El Salvador to help those in need. The following is a roundup of those experiences.
- We all remember when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. What many people do not know is that much of the devastation that was created then is still visible today. The Re-New Orleans group from Ohio Wesleyan gutted houses that were ruined by the hurricane and repaired other houses, focusing on helping the people of New Orleans get back to their homes and lives.
- El Salvador and Love and Hope Ministries were destinations for the only mission team traveling out of the U.S. this year. Team members worked with children from the Love and Hope Orphanage. Lisa Jackson, who served as the faculty adviser for the team, spoke of seeing the children’s home and how life-changing the entire trip was. Her most poignant memory was of a young girl from the orphanage who insisted on giving away her bracelet to a team member as the students prepared to leave El Salvador. “It was humbling to see these children who had almost nothing, and yet their hearts were completely open to the point of giving away something like a bracelet, which was so important to this child,” she says.
- A monastery is not the usual spring break travel destination for most college students, but members of the Women in Community mission team were determined to help the Benedictine Sisters of Erie at the local soup kitchen and at an inner-city art house.
- The Building and Rebuilding team’s goal was to build and restore Lakota-Anglo relationships in South Dakota. Students partnered with the Tree of Life Community in Mission to lend a hand with rebuilding homes and building relationships with the elderly and children in the community.
- The Reconciliation & Restoration team went to Memphis, Tennessee. Their goal was to try to understand the wide social demographics within the city as they helped citizens repair their homes and gardens.
- In Chicago, the Chicago Urban Plunge team looked at the Christian-Muslim dynamic to better understand how it works and challenges of that relationship. Students learned about poverty rates and immigration challenges the city faces.
- The Chapters, Houses & Homes team had planned to travel to Tennessee for their mission experience. Due to last-minute changes, group members found themselves going instead to Apalachin, New York, where they partnered with a local church to help out with disaster relief for damage resulting from area hurricanes.
For more information about this year’s mission team experiences see visit http://choose.owu.edu/theExperience/#theoryToPractice