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March 14, 2019

At this very moment, cars are being packed up and planes boarded as university students across the country head out to an array of exotic destinations or back to the comforts of hometowns for spring break. Each year, many Asbury University students forgo the sun and sand for something greater, a week of embodying the hands and feet of Jesus through service and mission work.

Asbury students are currently en route to Jacksonville, Fla., Chicago, Ill., Ohio and Nakskov, Denmark to live, learn and serve amongst locals.

Though Asbury students are encouraged to take part in volunteer work in classes, Chapel and other University Spiritual Life programming, many enter the University seeking these missional opportunities out themselves.

According to Rev. Greg Haseloff, campus chaplain, Asbury students’ commitment to service speaks to something much larger than a one-week trip.

“Many students come to Asbury ready for opportunities to engage the world and to be the hands and feet of Christ where there is need,” Haseloff said. “Others learn of local outreach opportunities or international teams while they are here – and then leap forward with their energy and passion to serve and be an ambassador of Christ. Asbury’s spring break teams are an amazing witness because collegians are choosing to live a different way over spring break.”

Assistant Professor of Social Work Ethan Engelhardt ’13 will travel with 16 students to Chicago this spring break. There, they’ll be staying on the West Side of the city in the Hermosa Community, a Puerto Rican neighborhood where they’ll partner with several community service organizations, visit churches and discuss racial reconciliation and the impact of residential segregation in Chicago. They’ll also meet with Asbury alumni who are living and working in the city.

“This trip is a perfect example of how Asburians can ‘impact the world,’” Engelhardt said. “It’s less focused on service projects, and more focused on learning how so many needs are being met and how it might look to live in solidarity with others after graduating. Students on average spend four years at Asbury, which in the grand scheme of a lifetime is very small, but they have the amazing opportunity to utilize the learning, experiences and relationships that have been cultivated at Asbury to impact the world for years to come.”

Brad Johnson, assistant vice president of Marketing & Communications, will lead a team of 12 students in Jacksonville, Fla. The team will spend the week in the Brentwood neighborhood serving in schools and churches, as well as meeting and praying with community members and leaders.

Additionally, a team led by Ashleigh Gilliam ‘21 from Asbury’s Salvation Army Student Fellowship will travel to Nakskov, Denmark for a week of serving at the Danish Salvation Army headquarters.  

The University’s Tumbling Team, an athletic ministry that uses gymnastics and stunting, will visit high-need areas throughout Ohio, offering free shows and clinics as part of their annual tour. The group will also assist local ministries with work projects as needed.  

Tumbling Head Coach Rebecca Vaughn looks forward to the team’s spring break tour each year as it gives students a chance to use their gifts to make an impact.  

“Using gymnastics and stunting, we have a platform to pour into the lives of hundreds, if not thousands of kids every year,” Vaughn said. “The show may be what we spend our season practicing, but the real highlight of tour for team members is getting to sit down in the cafeteria or run around during recess with the kids.”

Follow along on Asbury’s social media accounts for special updates from the Tumbling Team’s stateside outreach tour.  

Mission trips are just one way that Asbury students can impact the world for Christ. Asbury offers an abundance of service opportunities with community partners within the greater Lexington area, in addition to opportunities to engage culture through cross-cultural experiences and Asbury-led semesters abroad. Learn more about service opportunities and Cross-Cultural Engagement at Asbury University.