Spring Break a time of service for more than 400 students
Lipscomb is sending 25 teams comprised of 439 students, faculty and staff to serve across 18 locations over spring break.
Anna Moseley |
Lipscomb University students are counting down the days until spring break as they power through midterm exams and prepare for a week-long break. This year, more than 400 students, faculty and staff will spend their break serving in 18 locations across the globe.
Twenty-five teams will venture to California, Mexico, Scotland, The Caribbean, Honduras, New York, Nicaragua, Texas, El Salvador, Florida, Asia, Ecuador and Guatemala.
Tyler Kemmerer, director of missions at Lipscomb, said this year, the Office of Student Missions launched a new program to assist students who have not previously participated in mission trips because of the financial barriers associated with fundraising.
“We are excited to say that many generous donors have allowed us to award over $35,000 to more than 60 students joining our spring break teams,” said Kemmerer. “Several of these students have never been on a mission trip and the majority of them would not have joined if it wasn’t for this scholarship.”
These scholarships are providing opportunities for students like freshman elementary education major Laney McDowell, who will journey on her first mission trip with 20 others to teach business skills to Jamaicans.
“I feel like God has answered so many prayers of mine through Lipscomb’s missions department,” said McDowell. “It means the world to me that I am able to travel to Jamaica and experience spreading the gospel, which wouldn’t be possible without this scholarship.”
Students who participate in spring break mission trips have the opportunity to serve people in other cultures while simultaneously experiencing faith outside of the classroom.
“As the director of Lipscomb’s Missions, I have the frequent privilege of alumni dropping by my office and sharing how their lives were changed when they encountered God on the mission field, said Kemmerer. “These short-term experiences allow our students to partner with local ministries, and when they see what God is doing, it is often a life changing event.”
Senior Alexa Erazo recalled experiencing a life-changing event during her first spring break mission trip to Guatemala.
“The first time I traveled here it was an eye-opening experience for me because this environment is where my mom came from,” she said. “It is crazy to see how far God has taken her in life, from the poverty in Honduras to her life now in Nashville.”
Erazo, who serves as the group’s translator, is traveling with a team of 20 others to Guatemala for the third year in a row. She credits her team as a huge reason she continues to spend her spring break serving in Guatemala.
“I find my church within my team,” said Erazo. “I keep traveling back each break because of the team I serve with and because of the joy that the people in Guatemala share with us.”
Students often return to previous trip locations because of the relationships they build with the locals in the community. Junior theology and ministry major Olivia Malham is “beyond excited” for her second trip to Saba.
“My team will spend 10 days working in Saban schools, planning community events and continuing the relationships started by the first Lipscomb team that stepped foot on Saba over fifteen years ago,” said Malham. “Stepping into the partnership between Lipscomb and Saba was a no-brainer. I couldn't think of a better way to spend spring break than by getting to share my faith with one of the most incredible communities I've ever known.”
Kemmerer explained that these short-term trips work alongside long-term efforts of missionaries and ministries already at work in these locations. Although the short-term trips are contained experiences, the mission’s department is extremely passionate about the impact the trips have on students.
“Students are exposed to an opening of a greater worldview in the context of faith,” said Kemmerer. They are able to wrestle with and encounter this with peers who are experiencing the same thing and with the guidance of professors who have already worked through and come to terms with the experience.”