posted March 5, 2001

Students on Mission Trips

More than 300 Hope College students
will spend their spring break helping others.

The students will be participating in 23 service
projects that will take them throughout the United States as
well as to Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America. The
college's spring break runs Friday-Sunday, March 16-25.

Approximately 300 students will be participating
in 21 mission trips organized by the college's Campus
Ministries Office. In addition, about 30 students will be
traveling with associate professor of kinesiology Dr. Steven
Smith to Jamaica, and 18 students will be going to North
Carolina with the college's chapter of Habitat for Humanity.

The mission trips are a decades-long tradition at
Hope, but it is in recent years that interest in them has
exploded. Seven years ago, the Campus Ministries Office
organized seven trips. Last year, it was 19. This year, to
accommodate the continued growth in demand, it has been
increased to 21.

Sign-ups for the 21 trips began at 6:30 a.m. on
Tuesday, Oct. 31. The students started lining up the night
before to help assure themselves of a place on one of the
teams.

Six of the Campus Ministries trips will involve
urban ministry. The Center for Student Missions in
Washington, D.C., will be the home for Hope students as they
work in soup kitchens, serve in shelters and interact with
local residents. In Nashville, Tenn., student opportunities
include working with kids, the elderly and the homeless, and
at a food bank. In Memphis, Tenn., students will help
renovate homes of economically disadvantaged homeowners.
Those going to Newark, N.J., will be involved with serving
the urban poor by leading Bible clubs, tutoring children,
renovation projects and assisting with retail training.
Traveling across the country to Hawaiian Gardens, Calif.,
students will be working with "The Way Out Ministries,"
distributing flyers, working with youth, performing street
dramas and running after-school programs. Queens, N.Y.,
will be home to students as they experience many facets of
urban ministry, including evangelism, social justice and
physical labor.

Another five of the trips will focus on ministry
in a rural area. Gap Mills, W.Va., home of the Psalm 23
Camp, will allow participants to perform maintenance and
repair work on the camp property as well as low-income and
elderly homes in the community. Working with houses and
children will be a focus for the students going to Harlan,
Ky. In Dungannon, Va., students will work with community
members on home repair and maintenance. For those going to
Walker, Ky., farm project operation awaits. A farm that
provides shelter and rehabilitation for recovering substance
abuse victims will become home for Hope students
participating in the trip to Loysville, Pa.

A third type of domestic trip enables students to
interact with those of a different culture. In Apache,
Okla., participants will interact with Native Americans of
every age, and will use drama, music, construction, crafts
and group dynamics. Refugees to the United States make
their home at Jubilee Partners in Comer, Ga., and students
traveling there will paint, garden, teach English and learn
about the refugees. Students going to Dulac, La., will find
maintenance and construction projects in the predominantly
Native American community. In Toronto, Canada, students
will encounter some of the city's 80 different ethnic groups
while helping in settings such as a soup kitchen or a food
bank, as a language helper or with a church.

Six groups of Hope students will head to Latin
America this year. Students will be working with Mexico
Caravan Ministries in Tijuana, Mexico, assisting and
interacting with the urban poor. The cultural experience of
Chiapas, Mexico, will absorb Hope students into the lives of
the indigenous people. The group traveling to Belize will
interact with residents in the refugee village of Los
Flores, and spend time on school construction through
Worldwide Christian Schools. Hope students who are members
of the Young Life ministry in Holland will spend time with
the Young Life family in the Dominican Republic, assisting
with projects and working with children and young adults.
Students interested in a career in medicine will travel to
Puerto Lopez, Ecuador, to work with Medical Ministry
International. A medical mission trip to Olancho, Honduras,
will present an opportunity to work with the Luke Society.

The students involved in Hope's chapter of Habitat
for Humanity will travel to Tarboro, N.C., to help build new
homes in response to the devastation caused by Hurricane
Floyd. They will be staying in an armory with other college
students from around the country. The chapter has
participated in several trips since its founding in 1993.

For the fifth straight year, a group of Hope
students and Dr. Smith will be working on buildings on the
campus of the Caribbean Christian Center for the Deaf in
Montego Bay, Jamaica.