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Spring break missions go on despite economy

Spring Break is traditionally a time of relaxation and socializing for college students.  But for students at many Christian universities, the reprieve from classes also provides a chance to reach out to the world through weeklong mission trips.
With the recent economic downturn, some weren’t sure that would be the case in 2009. Yet most Christian universities nationwide are moving forward with their trips, organizers said.
Mark Jent, assistant director of missions at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tenn., said that while financing has been a concern for many, students have learned valuable spiritual lessons, even before packing.
“For a majority of our students  … they just seem to have the faith and determination that their money will come in,” Jent said.
Due to a series of seemingly providential circumstances, Lubbock Christian University’s spring break missions have not been hindered by the struggling economy either, said Ethan Brown, spiritual life minister at the Texas university.  
“We didn’t spend as much as normal (last year) and it has made it so that we have plenty of money for spring break missions,” Brown said.
Nate Copeland says that Harding University is struggling this year, though.
“It’s been tough raising funds,” said Copeland, director of spring break missions at the Searcy, Ark., university.  “We’ve seen quite a decrease in funds. We’re seeing a lot more $25 and $50 checks than we are $150 checks.”
This year, Harding plans to send about 375 students on 16 spring break mission trips — but only three of
those are international, in a conscious effort to reduce costs, Copeland said.
Ashley Nolan, director of Project Serve at Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., said that the stressed economy has only minimally affected students’ plans.
“The economy definitely presents some challenges that we have to overcome, but now more than ever is when engagement in service needs to continue,” Nolan said. “I am proud of our students and the university for their willingness to work a little harder.”

Filed under: National Staff Reports

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