In December, 16 members of the Lipscomb family sacrificed the first few days of their Christmas break to serve the residents of Rockport, Texas, which was hit hard by Hurricane Harvey in August. The mission team was led by Matthew Ruiz, associate professor of kinesiology and director of graduate studies in exercise and nutrition.
Rockport, which is located 30 minutes north of Corpus Christi, endured the eye of the storm as Harvey passed over the state. Four months later and the town is still in disrepair.
The team included three members from the College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences: Julius Whitaker, Sami Anderson and Ruiz.
“For me, this trip marked my first mission experience with Lipscomb. It was wonderful to take a team of eager individuals and help with the recovery process. The work was hard: many of the structures still needed to be demolished before the rebuilding could begin, and we spent most of our time tearing things down,” Ruiz said.
The team also included four members from the IDEAL program (Igniting the Dream of Education and Access at Lipscomb), marking the first time IDEAL students had participated in a Lipscomb mission trip. IDEAL is a certificate program to encourage and support students with intellectual and developmental disabilities to experience college as their peers do.
“Even though we were in Rockport for only five days, I feel like we quickly formed a bond with the community there,” said Whitaker. “Everyone was so kind and appreciative of our presence and our efforts to serve. Everyone was willing to work in the trenches and get dirty.
“We had an of idea of what we were getting ourselves into, but even still, we accepted whatever challenge came our way and conquered it. This trip was a truly liberating experience.”
“This opportunity really appealed to me because I have been on several mission trips to other countries, but I had never had the chance to do something like this in the States,” said Anderson. “I did not realize how much demolition work still needed to be done. It was so uplifting to be able to play a role in helping to improve the lives of those effected by the hurricane.”