400 volunteers head out across the globe during spring break, March 18-22
By From staff reports on 3/4/2013
If sending mission teams was like playing football, spring break would be Lipscomb’s Super Bowl. In just a few short weeks, 23 teams and nearly 400 volunteers will serve in nine different countries and seven U.S. cities.
The university’s missions focus makes the Lipscomb campus culture unlike any other. Hundreds of faculty and staff have served in missions and local service. Last year, 52 percent of Lipscomb’s May 2012 four-year graduates served at least once with a university missions trip. For example:
- The theatre program has pioneered a unique blend of missions and dramatic arts, both on campus and in cross-cultural contexts.
- Lipscomb Athletics has partnered with the missions office to send dozens of student athletes each year to serve in locations like Honduras, Haiti, Brazil, Belize and Los Angeles.
- Nursing, pre-med and pharmacy students are so eager to use their skills in missions that it is difficult to build medical teams fast enough!
In countries far and wide, people are being introduced to Jesus and their lives are being changed through Lipscomb students who seek to serve, and as they serve, they too are being re-introduced to Jesus in life-changing ways.
Spotlight on Domestics Missions
Domestic trips, those trips that are within the U.S., are often overlooked by students desiring a mission experience; however, such trips often hold some of the most powerful opportunities for ministry. Below are descriptions of some of the domestic missions opportunities Lipscomb will sponsor during spring break 2013.
Atlanta, Ga., Inner City
Lipscomb has sent a team to Atlanta since 2000. This spring break, students will spend a week in Fulton County, home to one of the highest poverty rates in the United States.
“They have very different struggles than I have had. There are third-grade girls who deal with daily neighborhood violence,” team leader, Elise Halterman, junior, said of the Atlanta kids served by the team.
The team will spend its time working for Atlanta Inner City Ministries, an organization that focuses on reaching out to the impoverished adults and children in the community. Through Bible studies and various other volunteer efforts, the mission team will build relationships with those in the area.
“There’s so much despair in our own country,” said Halterman. “People think of missions in different countries, but there is so much need here.”
Fort Worth, Texas
Since spring break of 2009, Lipscomb has partnered with Siempre Familia Church to take a group of students to serve the Latin American community in Texas. This year’s trip will be led by Lipscomb Missions Coordinator Paul Stevens.
Siempre Familia Church opened its doors two weeks after the Lipscomb team completed its first mission there. Planted by Nancy Gonzalez, a Lipscomb alumna, and her husband Manuel, the church was their way of reaching out to the local Hispanic community that had engulfed the area over the past couple of decades.
“We’re working with a church plant, which people don’t usually think about in the U.S., so the trip is quite different from the others.”
The Lipscomb team will spend time encouraging the small church family as well as the larger Hispanic community in the area. Some tasks may include working with the church youth and organizing events for families. The team may also participate in the organization and execution of community Bible studies.
Spring Break, Nashville
Since 2007, Lipscomb missions has formed a team to serve in its own home during spring break. SALT Program Coordinator Cara Harris will lead this year’s team. She said she is excited about the trip’s potential to bring long-term benefits to our surrounding areas in need. Partnering with several local agencies, the Nashville team is sure to have a unique experience.
In the past, team members have volunteered for different organizations throughout the week, including Habitat for Humanity, Nashville Urban Harvest and Feed America First. Last year’s team even devoted a day to referee the Special Olympics Tennessee basketball tournament held on the Lipscomb campus.
Harris has been on several foreign trips but has a special passion for this Nashville mission effort. “Doing something local has the potential to have long lasting effects,” she said. “I wanted to engage in something that had the potential to go beyond just spring break.” Having been part of the first Spring Break Nashville effort as a student in 2007, Harris is now excited about leading the team on campus and in the community.
The home location of this trip makes it both unique and accessible in a way that the other missions may not be for some people. The flexibility of the trip is a major bonus for those who may need to stay in the Nashville area during spring break.