Mission trips inspire action

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The Aliquippa team, left to right:
Maura McLaughlin, Jordan Siegler, Kate Jefferes, Matthew Schroeder,
Sam Weaver, Matthew Baker and Hannah Keeler.

Forty-one Geneva College students have returned from spring break mission trips with some unforgettable experiences, and now it′s time to turn those experiences into a sense of responsibility. On Friday, March 19, team leaders and members gathered with Geneva′s Campus Ministries staff to reflect on what they learned and how to take action now that they are home.

"Often, when we come home from these trips, we have a desire to do something about what we've seen, but we are unsure of how to engage in that," said Missy Davis, assistant director of Campus Ministries.

The New Orleans team-which is the fifth to travel to the city since Hurricane Katrina-helped with outreach, homeless ministry, clean-up, and some unexpected advocacy work. Through it all, they learned that mission work takes great patience. Another group of students learned the same lesson just outside Geneva′s back door in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania. As they helped with construction and volunteered at Uncommon Grounds Café, they saw God′s faithfulness in rebuilding a hurting community.

Members of the Los Angeles team gained cultural perspective as they worked with a variety of organizations and experienced the immense diversity of the city. Similarly, the Washington D.C. team visited a wide range of organizations, and their focus was learning and understanding more about issues of social injustice.

"My trip to D.C. gave me a renewed desire to see what God's word has to say about justice and the Christian's duty to help those in need," says sophomore David Altmann.

Students in San Luis Mexico witnessed the heart-wrenching effects of poverty and gained new perspective on what it means to care for the orphan and widow. On the last night of the trip, one of the students shared Matthew 5:15: "Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house."

"It was the perfect verse to end the trip on," says sophomore Kyle Potter. "Now that we're home, we're to let our light shine here on campus so that what we did doesn't stay where we came from."

Davis encouraged students to journal about their experiences so that they can continue to learn from the work they did and the people they met over spring break. The Campus Ministries Office also provides a variety of books, resources and opportunities to minister on campus and in the local community.

Geneva College is a comprehensive Christian college of the arts, sciences and professional studies. Founded in the tradition of the Reformed Christian faith, Geneva prepares students to serve Christ in all areas of society: work, family and the church. Geneva College′s philosophy of education is based on the Foundational Concepts of Christian Higher Education. Geneva is a founding member of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU).