Students to serve over spring break

More than 200 students, faculty and staff from Northwestern College will travel across the U.S. and around the world for the college’s annual Spring Service Projects (SSP) March 1 through 10.

Northwestern College mission teams will serve at four international sites this year. Students will share their faith with guests at two Christian youth hostels in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. In the impoverished area of Bluefields, Nicaragua, they will work on a construction project, lead vacation Bible school for children, and help at a health and feeding center.

The East Belfast Mission in Northern Ireland is the site of a service-learning project for students interested in ministry, especially youth ministry. Participants will also learn about urban ministry, community development, social justice and conflict resolution. And students working with Trinidad and Tobago Urban Ministries in Campoo, Trinidad, will conduct a vacation Bible school, lead youth programming and participate in home visits.

There is one new U.S. service site. A team will travel to Opelousas, La., to serve with Hope for Opelousas Ministries in one of the poorest counties of its size in the U.S. Students will participate in construction projects, basketball programs, backyard Bible clubs, community cleanup, and relational ministry with women and children.

Another group of students will join members of First Reformed Church in Orange City on a mission trip to serve Reformed Church in America churches in New York City. The team will do demolition, cleaning and remodeling of the buildings of inner-city churches and help with those churches’ ministries to the community.

Two teams will travel to New Orleans to provide continued hurricane relief through the ministries of Urban Impact and Trinity Christian Community.

Additional U.S. service opportunities include inner-city youth ministry in Jonesboro, Ark.; home repair and after-school programs in Annville, Ky.; urban ministry and racial reconciliation in Jackson, Miss.; work projects and youth ministry through a Native American church in Apache, Okla.; hunger and homeless ministry in Spartanburg, S.C.; and prison ministry in Lindale, Texas.

SSP members raise their own travel funds through their individual families, friends and churches and also through fundraisers on campus and in the community.

Northwestern College’s short-term mission programs bear the Standards of Excellence in Short-Term Missions (SOE) seal, ensuring that participating organizations get NWC mission teams that are of high quality. SOE standards include adequate pre-trip training and resources, as well as consistent post-trip follow-up and accountability.

“Spring Service Projects give students an opportunity to see God at work in the world and to serve and share their faith with others,” says the Rev. Tommy Moon, Northwestern’s director of missions. “Experiences like these are an important part of spiritual formation. It’s our hope that, through them, students gain a clearer understanding of what it means to be a follower of Jesus.”