Northwestern College students to serve during spring break

Spring Service Partnerships participantsNearly 200 students, faculty and staff from Northwestern College will travel across the United States and overseas on the college’s annual Spring Service Partnership (SSP) trips March 3–12.

This year’s teams will serve at 14 sites. International destinations include Haiti, Ireland, the Netherlands and Nicaragua.

In Haiti, students will teach children and provide manual labor, while in Ireland, they will partner with Dublin Christian Mission, a ministry that works with people who are homeless. Students traveling to the Netherlands will stay and serve at two Christian youth hostels in Amsterdam, sharing their faith with guests from around the world. And those sent to Nicaragua will distribute food and help lead a Bible school for kids in the impoverished area of Bluefields.

Teams in the U.S. will travel to Minnesota, California and throughout the South. A new U.S. partner is Mescalero Reformed Church on the Mescalero Apache Reservation in New Mexico, where Mark Vellinga, a former Northwestern College professor, is serving as pastor. There students will serve alongside indigenous leaders as they seek to maintain their community’s Native American heritage while following Jesus.

Another new partner is World Renew, the development, disaster response and justice arm of the Christian Reformed Church, which will send Northwestern students to Corpus Christi, Texas, to help with hurricane recovery efforts.

Students traveling to Kansas City, Kan., will serve with Youthfront to provide manual labor for the ministry’s summer camp, do after-school tutoring and work at a neighborhood farm that provides food for local schools.

In Minnesota, students will help at a food pantry, serve with a local church youth group and complete work projects at a wilderness camp on the Grand Portage Indian Reservation. In California, Northwestern’s SSP team will partner with Emmanuel Reformed Church in Paramount to paint homes, provide manual labor and build relationships in the community of Compton.

Still other Northwestern students will assist with construction, home repair and painting in Annville, Ky.; staff after-school programs and construction projects in New Orleans; provide construction, tutoring and community cleanup in Opelousas, La.; volunteer in local schools and after-school programs in Jacksonville, Fla.; and serve with a ministry to ex-prisoners in Lindale, Texas.

Spring Service Partnership members raise their own travel funds through their individual families, friends and churches, and 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 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.