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A Spring Break of Service

Bethel students spent their spring break building relationships with diverse communities, expanding their ministry experience, and serving others on mission trips around the world.

By Aiyanna Klaphake '20

April 23, 2019 | 2 p.m.

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Spring Break Missions Trips Gallery

Classes were out, the sun was shining, and there was excitement in the air because spring break had arrived. However, a number of Bethel students were just settling in for one of the most intensely challenging weeks of the entire year. They’d been preparing since the fall by meeting regularly to grow together as a team, fundraise, and ready themselves to follow Christ's example of servanthood.

Over spring break, seven student teams participated in short-terms mission trips across the world through Bethel's Solidarity Missions Partnerships program. Each of the trips offered a unique opportunity to serve others, grow spiritually, and gain relevant experience connected to ministry, reconciliation, and cross-cultural interaction.

 

Appalachia

Partnering with Mustard Seeds & Mountains to address poverty in the United States, students assisted with projects ranging from home repair to after-school programs in McDowell County.

Having previously participated on the Belize trip, Brittany Hutchinson '20 was looking for another opportunity to practice ministry while learning from locals when she decided to join the Appalachia team. "I have a deep passion for learning from other cultures and communities," she says. "I was humbled and blessed to serve alongside ministry partners to learn more about how God’s kingdom is experienced in a new setting." While working in McDowell County, Hutchinson was impressed by how the community truly supported and valued each other despite difficult circumstances.

 

Belize

This medical mission trip with Praying Pelican Missions allowed 20 health sciences students to gain practical medical experience from local practitioners in northern Belize while leading hygiene education programs and children’s ministry.

Nursing major Jessie Doerr '20 saw the trip as an opportunity to grow both her nursing skills and her faith. In Belize, she along with other Bethel students provided home visits and basic medical care to local residents. "The most challenging aspect for me was leaving," Doerr says. "We were able to build so many amazing relationships with the church community and people down in Belize. I learned so much from them and was very encouraged by the unshaken faith of the church. God used them in ways that made lasting impacts that will affect me for the rest of my life."

"We were able to build so many amazing relationships with the church community and people down in Belize. I learned so much from them and was very encouraged by the unshaken faith of the church. God used them in ways that made lasting impacts that will affect me for the rest of my life."

— Jessie Doerr '20

Chicago

Partnering with Sunshine Gospel Ministries, Bethel students spent over a week working with other colleges to build relationships with people living in poverty on the south side of Chicago. Students were assigned different projects that ranged from construction and landscaping to volunteering at local after-school programs.

For missional ministries major Derik Mackey '20, the trip was his third Bethel spring break mission trip, and his second to Chicago. "I chose to go on this trip again because I led it last year and saw such transformation among the students I led," he says. "It was such an educational experience for everyone. It was amazing to see their lives change in such a drastic way."

 

Costa Rica

The Costa Rica team was able to gain a variety of experiences connecting both their vocational interests and cross-cultural ministry. Students worked at a number of different Students International sites that focused on everything from microfinancing to environmental health.

Ryken Kreps '20 was initially interested in the trip as an opportunity to see how God works in new ways. Once in Costa Rica, he especially appreciated the opportunity to work with the full-time members of Students International. "They had some inspiring stories of the way God has worked in their lives and what He has done with their organization in making an impact on the lives of people in that area, especially kids," he says.

 

Dominican Republic

Another Praying Pelican Missions trip, this experience involved hosting a women’s health conference and vacation Bible school in Baharona, Dominican Republic.

Ratsamee Thosaengsiri '22 found herself especially amazed at the genuine relationships she built despite the language barrier and cultural differences. She emphasizes how welcomed she felt by the local residents. "My favorite part of this trip was experiencing how much love we received from the community," she explains, "and how amazing life could be without the distraction of technology."

"I challenge myself to seek God in every moment and remember that wherever we are, we can make a difference to further God’s Kingdom. God has shown me there is work to be done everywhere."

— Taylor Larson '21

Paris

The Paris team worked with local missionaries and Cru students to fulfill the Great Commission by sharing the gospel with university students in Paris, a city where only about 2% of the population identifies as Christian.

Social work major Abby Moates '21 had been eager for the opportunity to engage with another culture and gain a broader perspective on the world. For her, the trip was a learning experience about spontaneity and trusting God's plan. "The most challenging but rewarding aspect of this trip was letting God take control of the week," she explains. "Going in with no schedule for the week was a clear indication that God wanted our team to give ourselves in complete surrender to His plans."

 

Houston

Working with Reach Global Crisis Relief, this team provided support for construction projects to repair the homes of local residents dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

Motivated by her desire to serve, Taylor Larson '21 felt called to join the Houston team the moment she saw the trip advertisement posted in the Bethel halls. Over the course of the trip, she appreciated the opportunity to build relationships with the homeowners they were serving and to see physical evidence of the difference the team was making whenever they completed a project. Upon her return to Minnesota, Larson is determined to continue looking for ways to serve: "I challenge myself to seek God in every moment and remember that wherever we are, we can make a difference to further God’s Kingdom," she says. "God has shown me there is work to be done everywhere."

Participate in missions work through Bethel.

Bethel Campus Ministries partners with Solidarity Missions Partnerships to provide students opportunities to expand their horizons on mission trips around the world. Students are challenged to interact with multiple cultures, share their faith in a new setting, and grow their concept of ministry while working to follow Christ's example of service. 

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