Students 'Take a Break' ... to Serve Around the World
As beaches around the country begin to fill with college students on a mission to party, Asbury University welcomes back from spring break a student body more likely to find their fun in missions.
Leah Powers ’13 traveled to Choluteca, Honduras, with a group of Asbury students to serve the people and ministries of the World Gospel Mission (WGM). While there, they met a group of nursing students from another university, and a spur-of-the-moment ministry opportunity opened up.
“Not many people on their team knew Spanish, and not many of the Hondurans knew English,” Powers said. “Since I am a Spanish major, I was quickly recruited to help their team as an interpreter. I spent three full days assisting the nurses, which was slightly overwhelming since I am not a native Spanish speaker and my medical vocabulary is very limited! However, the nurses were very kind and patient, and the people they were serving were so appreciative of their services.”
While Powers and another Asbury student helped with translation, the rest of the team volunteered their labor for various construction projects for local families and encouraged the WGM missionaries in Choluteca in their hard work to establish a vocational school.
“I felt like spending my last spring break as a college student serving the people of Honduras was the best decision I could have made,” Powers said. “As a Spanish major I had the opportunity to practice the skills that I have developed and experience a culture that I have been studying for the last few years. As a Christian I was blessed to have the opportunity to see first hand God's work in the world through missionaries He has called to full-time service in Honduras as well as through the native people of Honduras.”
While one team of students worked in Honduras, another journeyed further south to Medellin, Colombia, and took Jesus’ instruction to visit the imprisoned literally. Spending time in Bellavista, a notorious prison in Medellin, and worshipping in the chapel there was a highlight for a group who traveled with the One Mission Society (OMS). The group’s work, which also included some renovation and construction projects, served a seminary in Medellin.
“In the evenings, we heard the testimonies of several men who had been in the prison at Bellavista and had their lives transformed by Christ,” said Dave Sherwood, director of the OMS Student Center at Asbury. “Now many are pastors and church leaders rather than leading people to the evil of drugs and gangs. I think our students’ eyes were opened to just how powerful the message of the gospel can be to transform lives.”
Additional students found ministry opportunities closer to home. Applying the concept of “freedom” to a larger scale, one small team kicked off spring break with a road trip to raise funds and awareness of human slavery and trafficking. The group traveled from Wilmore, Ky., to Asbury’s campus in Orlando, Fla., and back in a restored Volkswagon dubbed “Miles” — a 27-hour journey in honor of the world’s 27 million slaves.
Also, Asbury’s Tumbling Team took its show on the road to schools and communities in Kentucky, Georgia, Florida and North Carolina, presenting a dramatic, high-flying performance to audiences as diverse as children with autism and refugee families.
“At first it may sound like a weird or untraditional way to minister, but the amount of opportunities and venues that are opened to us simply because we can provide a free, high-energy, professional show are astounding,” said Holland Michael, Tumbling Team coach and admissions counselor. “This year we were able to bring joy to many underprivileged communities and schools that normally have no way of paying for an event like ours. Each of our audiences had a different need, and to watch the team step up and minister in whatever way needed was a huge blessing to me as a coach.”
These trips represent only a sampling of the domestic and international service opportunities available to Asbury students, both during breaks and throughout the year. For more information, visit the Student Life pages.