84 students from the University will depart on Service Learning trips all over the world this weekend.
Catie Hayes, MVNU’s director of community and international ministries, said the spring break trips are a wonderful opportunity for students to learn new things and serve in new way by “immersing themselves in a culture different than their own.”
In both local and global communities, “Our teams work alongside local partners to learn from them, coming home with new perspective and new lifelong friends,” she said.
There are eight trips taking place over the course of the two-week long spring break. Teams will be traveling to Belize, Germany, Guyana, Guatemala, as well as in the United States to places in Florida, Texas and Indiana.
To prepare for these cross-cultural experiences, the students have been meeting on Wednesdays to hear about past missions experiences from University Chaplain Joe Noonen.
The hope is that the training sessions will provide insight to cultures different from our own and how to deal with the differences in cultures.
Guyana -- In Guyana, 12 students will travel to the village of Orealla, where they will work with Bags of Hope, an organization based out of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Students will also continue working on building a community center to provide a common space for the villagers.
Unlike other trips, in order to get to Orealla, team members will be taking a four-hour boat ride in order to get to their destination and they will be living with members of the community during their stay.
Belize – The 11 participants traveling to Belize will assist the community of Succotz with similar work.
In Succotz, members will be working with Victorious Nazarene School and Alvin Young High School. Besides spending time with the students, team members will assist teachers in the classroom and work on building new classrooms.
The team will be staying at a Nazarene campground, where they can get to know the members of the community during their free time.
Germany -- Taking a “less traditional” form of approach to ministry is the team going to Frankfurt, Germany.
In Germany the six team members will team up with Kirche in Aktion (Church in Action) where they will go through workshops about church planting in a non-traditional setting.
Locations for Kirche in Aktion include bars and pubs, the red light district and coffee shops.
Guatemala -- Joining the service learning trips abroad are 10 members of the Lady Cougars volleyball team. The team will be traveling to Guatemala to help with a vacation Bible school.
While in Guatemala, the Lady Cougars will also be helping with home repairs.
Texas -- MVNU will be returning to McAllen, Texas, to work with Pastor Eric Buell.
The11-member team will be spending time with refugees who have just come into the country and take care of their needs through Sacred Heart Center.
The team will also visit surrounding communities to meet families and work on a variety of projects.
While the team is not working, they will be visiting Border Patrol to learn about the legal aspect of the border.
Florida -- Kendra Lambert will be leading a group of 14 students to Melbourne, Florida, the first week of break.
The team will be working with Joel Tooley and Nestor Hernandez to learn about working in ministry in a diverse community.
The students will be learning and meeting with the migrant/immigrant community that works near Melbourne.
Indiana -- This year, there are two trips going to Indianapolis, Indiana.
A group of 11 will work with the refugee population and furnishing apartments, while nine members of the CoSMO group Mandate will work with schools and afterschool and sports programs.