Students Discover Life-Changing Experiences Through Mission TripsMarch 22, 2011
During Christendom College's spring break, 61 students traveled to Honduras, the Dominican Republic, and New York City for missionary work. The students' work ranged from evangelization efforts to digging latrines.
Twelve students went to Honduras, along with alumna Mary Kate Hunt, Associate Dean of Student Life Tambi Spitz, and Fr. John Luke of the Community of St. John. Twenty-four students and Theology professor Raymund O'Herron went to the Dominican Republic. Philosophy professor and Missions Program Director Michael Brown joined a group of 25 students to do missionary work in New York City.
"I am constantly impressed by the goodness and generosity of our students," Brown said. "They give up their spring break to serve those in need."
Brown also said that students' lives are consistently changed through the experiences that they have. "They always tell me that they receive more than they give. They see Jesus, the Church, the world, and poverty in a new way."
In Honduras, student-missionaries went door-to-door evangelizing every morning. In the evenings, they hosted separate programs for children, teenagers, and adults.
Senior Katie Cruser described her experience in Honduras as "life-changing."
"I am so blessed that I was able to take part in such an experience," she said. "People really need the encouragement and hope that is brought to them in the words and example of Jesus Christ."
In the Dominican Republic, students traveled to Banica, a mission of the Diocese of Arlington. There, they worked long hours bringing supplies to those in need and digging latrines.
"Banica was the most amazing experience of my life," Senior Bernadette Horiuchi said. "The people in Banica are so beautiful. We speak of poor people—and true, the people of Banica are materially poor—but they have a richness of spirit that is hard to find anywhere else."
Senior Janie Wells had the same experience in Banica. She saw that the people from Banica had very little, yet were happy.
"We have everything we need, and oftentimes everything we want—and yet we aren't satisfied," Wells said. "Their simplicity and gratitude made me rethink my life and realize how blessed I truly am to be an American.
Students who traveled to New York City served with the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal in a myriad of ways—from painting the friary and breaking up concrete to data entry and cooking.
"I spent the whole week giving of myself out of a passionate, glorious love that comes only from the dear good God," Junior Sarah Golden said of her trip to New York.
Golden worked in the kitchen during the week, preparing meals for her fellow student-missionaries. "I discovered that God calls us to love Him even in those closest to us," she said. "I don't need to return to New York to begin another mission trip of love and service. Every day of my life is a mission trip, in which I wholeheartedly give my family, friends, and fellow college students the beautiful, life-giving love of God."
Each semester Christendom offers its students the opportunity to go on missionary trips during academic breaks. Next year the college plans on offering six different mission trips.
Students also assist those in need on a local level through the student club Outreach, which visits nursing homes, works at soup kitchens, sponsors canned food drives, as well as volunteers at Habitat for Humanity and the local Crisis Pregnancy Center. Throughout the year students respond to their school's motto, "to restore all things in Christ," and sacrifice their free time for those in need.
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