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Students combine service, fun in Florida

      MVNU students took ownership of the school’s new brand over spring break. Traveling over 1,000 miles to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., one group of students sought to shine forth by selflessly serving others.

     Junior social work and psychology major Zach Edwards reflected on the trip and how God used their service.

     “There were times I doubted our effectiveness or impact in the work that we were doing, thinking it was minimal or did not matter much,” Edwards said. “But I realized that no matter the work, God was ultimately going to show up and use it for his kingdom.”

     Kendra Lambert led the 30 MVNU students, who served Dayspring International Church of the Nazarene. The team left Ohio expecting to serve others through various manual labor projects, but the real gift was found in being present in the moment and experiencing the presence of others.

      “One thing that was very important on this trip was the idea of putting people first and work second,” said junior journalism and media production major Aubrey Bailey. “The work will get done eventually, but what really matters is building relationships with people and hearing their stories.”

     While in Fort Lauderdale, students completed many outdoor jobs. They sanded and stained the outdoor benches, removed branches and brush from the property, cleared overgrown trees and cleaned up the landscape of the church.

      The group also thoroughly cleaned the inside of the church. The team swept and mopped the floors, sorted trash, organized items throughout the rooms and painted the walls.

     The team spent one week together working on service projects and building memories and friendships that will last a lifetime.

     “It was a blast meeting new people from school that I never had a chance of meeting or getting to know before,” Edwards said. “Our team felt really connected throughout the week, and there was always laughter and fun.”

     Bailey said she initially was drawn to the trip by the large number of students attending and the promise of warm weather. But, “my favorite part of this trip was getting to know the members of our team,” she said.

     Group members also relished the warm weather, the testimonies and stories of the residents they met, and the unique church service on the beach Friday night.

     “I think a lot of us were able to experience God in new ways by worshiping amidst creation,” Edwards said. “It was personal and moving for me to be by the ocean and have the waves run over my feet as I reflected on the passage of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet.”

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