Some students undoubtedly spent the break perfecting the term “couch potato”, but many took their time off to serve others around the world.
Senior art major Alyssa Dickinson and sophomore Christian ministry major Ryan Murphy went to Haiti for the first time through GoNow Missions and Hope for the Hungry. Murphy had a certain goal in mind for the trip.
“I hoped to accomplish our task at hand, to repaint an entire school, and to love on kids and share God’s love with the people of Haiti,” he said.
Dickinson developed a bond there with a young boy named Isnold who had almost nothing to say to her.
“On our final day, I ran up to Isnold, hugging him goodbye, and told him just how much I loved him, and he replied with ‘I love you, too,’” she said.
“That was the first thing he said to me, as well as the last. He broke my heart for the orphans of the world.”
Murphy hopes the experience was meaningful to everyone involved.
“I would like to think that our trip was very successful and that God did big things in the lives of the Haitians and in my team’s hearts,” he said.
Murphy’s favorite memory from the trip was bringing in the New Year by worshiping God with the Haitians.
“It was amazing to see such authentic and real faith. And even though I couldn’t understand what they were saying, their love for the Lord was so evident and pouring out through their praise,” he said.
Overall, he said the trip exceeded his expectations.
“My team was amazing and like a family to me now. The nation of Haiti blew me away with its beauty, and God’s presence was overwhelming the entire trip,” Murphy said.
Dickinson also noted the beauty of the country.
“Flying into Haiti, seeing the mountains right next to the beach, I was awe-struck. But beyond the landscape, there is beauty found in their culture, in their people and in their strength,” she said.
On the other side of the world, senior psychology major Brittany Richardson experienced Moldova through GoNow Missions where she worked with an orphanage.
“The overall goal of the mission trip was to share the love of Christ by providing over 2,700 orphans with a new pair of winter boots and socks,” she said.
She went into the experience trusting that God would provide for her.
“My goal was just to go with an open mind and an open heart and to allow God to use me in whatever ways were possible, and I definitely believe that was achieved,” she said.
The trip was rewarding, but challenging for her.
“I had no idea what to expect. I really enjoyed being stretched and pulled out of my comfort zone to serve the Lord and it was definitely worth it in every way possible,” Richardson said.
Dickinson said being aware of worldly events caused her to want to make a difference in someone’s life.
She said, “I couldn’t sit comfortably in America, knowing that I could be a part of something bigger than myself by going on this trip.”