Universitiesâ€™ Spring Break campaigns heavy on work, light on rest
Outreach, a mission-oriented group at Oklahoma Christian University in Oklahoma City, will continue its annual campaign to Memphis, Tenn., on March 19-23.
The Memphis campaign provides an opportunity for college students to get out and serve others, spread the news about Jesus and develop a desire to do missions in the future. Memphis is among the poorest communities in the United States.
“Things like showers, looking pretty and dressing nice, mean nothing on this trip,” Oklahoma Christian sophomore Ashleigh Hess said. “It broadened my horizons and showed me the equality of people.”
Nate Copeland, director of Harding University’s spring break missions, said these kind of trips provide authentic application for students’ classroom lessons.
“We want students to see they can do mission work anywhere and under any job title,” Copeland said.
The 16 male students from Lipscomb have a goal on their trip, March 19-23: to witness and minister to young people who have come to rely on destructive behavior, like partying, promiscuity or binge drinking.
Last year, the group found plenty of opportunities to escort inebriated students back to their rooms, make sure unaccompanied girls made it home safely and spend hours talking with others about God, love and lifestyle choices, said Dave Clayton, campus minister at Stone Water Ministry, the university’s campus ministry.
Several students they met are still in touch with team members and are striving to live a less dangerous life, he said.
“Hopefully we are giving (the Lipscomb students) a broader experience of God,” Clayton said. “God is much bigger than our congregation and our friends. God is pursuing us all.”
Harding sophomore Coleman Yoakum of El Paso, Ark., is returning to Jinotega, Nicaragua, where his team will distribute medicine and hygienic supplies to local school children.
“Many people travel to Florida, California or other national points of interest and do their own thing,” he said. “But I’m getting to go out of the country and do God’s thing.”
ACU students have been serving others as part of Spring Break campaigns for 30 years, organizers say.
Jennifer King, a junior from Grapevine, Texas, said the bonds that students build with each other is as rewarding as the experience of reaching out.
“So often (we) end up ministering to one another,” King said.
March 7, 2007