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By Ashleigh Graves, a junior applied communication major

WILMORE, KY—With spring break starting Friday, March 17, most Asbury College students are looking forward to a relaxing week with friends or family. However, one team of Asbury College students, faculty, staff and community members is gearing up for a somewhat different Spring Break experience. On March 18, about 80 participants sponsored by the College and the city of Wilmore will head to Pass Christian, Miss., to work in and minister to a community devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

sbpass06.jpgSince the fall hurricanes, Asbury College has sponsored three relief trips to Pass Christian—Wilmore’s adopted sister city. The first trip took 77 people during Thanksgiving break and the other two smaller trips were in January. Many team members participated in the previous relief efforts in Mississippi and are returning to the work that has progressed little since they left. Freshman Dustin Pugel, who spent his Thanksgiving break helping with hurricane relief in Pass Christian, says the team is facing new challenges this time around.

“There was a lot done a month or so after [the hurricane], but since then very little has happened,” he said. “Some of the houses we worked on in the fall haven’t been touched since we were there.”

In addition to community restoration efforts, including construction, demolition, re-roofing and painting, the Asbury College team will be actively ministering to residents and relief workers.

Stephen Bush, a freshman from Greenwood, Ind., is a first-time member of the team.

“I felt like I should go at Thanksgiving, but I ended up going home,” he said. “After seeing all the pictures and hearing the stories, I made up my mind to go down on Spring Break. A big part of the job is just being with the people down there and ministering to the relief workers. Letting them know we’re there because we care about them and pointing it all back to God.”

Pugel said, “I think we were called to do it. I think it’s a direct command that we are expected to help each other. It’s also a part of national pride—part of being a citizen and a neighbor.”

As the team makes final preparations for the trip, it is clear that the ministry aspect of the project is foremost in everyone’s mind. According to Bush, the opportunity to serve over spring break is more than a question of sacrificing some vacation time.

“I don’t feel like I’m giving anything up,” Bush said. “I feel like I’m just looking for something different.”

For more information about Asbury College’s partnership with Pass Christian and to find regular updates on the team, visit .