Northwestern College students to serve during spring break

Students sort hygiene supplies at a food distribution centerNorthwestern College will send 12 teams of students on service trips to seven states, Costa Rica and Mexico during spring break. More than 130 participants will travel for this year’s annual Spring Service Partnerships, scheduled for March 4–12.

“For decades, Northwestern has provided a wide variety of short-term mission experiences,” says Patrick Hummel, the college’s director of missions. “NWC Spring Service Partnerships are led by faculty and staff, involve extensive pre-trip training, and play a major role in the spiritual growth and development of our students.”

This year’s SSP trips include work with three international mission partners. For a second year, students will partner with World Team in Costa Rica, where they will work closely with youth groups to encourage young adults in their faith journey.

Two SSP teams will travel to Mexico. One will return to Croc, on the outskirts of Monterrey, where students will serve local youth in an after-school program run by Youthfront. The other will join Mazatlán Missions in Baja California Sur. There students will serve alongside a local church, providing vacation Bible school activities and sports clinics as well as completing manual labor projects and engaging in outreach with local families.

Teams in the continental U.S. are partnering with ministries in locations ranging from the West Coast to the South and from Minnesota to Texas.

In California, Northwestern students will join with City Church of Compton to work with an after-school program and help with neighborhood beautification projects. Other teams with a focus on urban ministry will head to Denver, Colorado, and Kansas City, Kansas. The Denver team will work with Mile High Ministries, serving people who are homeless and socially marginalized, while the students in Kansas City will partner with Youthfront to assist in local classrooms, support after-school programs, and connect with senior citizens at a community center.

Two SSP teams will serve in and learn about Native American communities. Those going to the Grand Portage Reservation in Minnesota will spend time with a local church youth group. They’ll also do work at a wilderness camp operated by the Coldwater Foundation, a faith and leadership development organization. Another team will travel to the Mescalero Apache Reservation in New Mexico, where they will do manual labor and participate in the children’s and youth programs of Mescalero Reformed Church.

In Texas, Northwestern students will serve with Calvary Commission, a residential and education center for ex-convicts. Another two SSP teams are heading to Louisiana. One will staff after-school programs, youth sports camps and beautification projects in New Orleans with Urban Impact; the other will do tutoring, basketball coaching, community cleanup and relational ministry in partnership with Hope for Opelousas.

The final SSP team will work with World Renew in Mayfield, Kentucky, to repair homes damaged by a tornado in December 2021.

SSP team 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 Mission seal, ensuring that participating organizations get 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.