CHANGING LIVES IN A WEEK: SPRING BREAK MISSION TRIPS
ACROSS ARKANSAS–Arkansas college students set aside their own March 18-25 Spring Break plans to follow God’s call.
Some fixed barbed wire fences at a boys’ ranch in Texas. Others prayer-walked a Mormon suburban neighborhood. Two schools shared the gospel on a dangerous street in New Orleans. Three schools studied apologetics while visiting the life-size Noah’s ark in Kentucky.
Brenham, Texas, is the home of Bluebell ice cream and the home to 16 boys who reside at the Miracle Farm Boys’ Ranch where 13 from Southern Arkansas University (SAU) spent their Spring Break. It’s a full ranch with horses, cattle, acres of land and houses that need to be maintained, said SAU Baptist College Minister Mike Sandusky. “It’s under the Baptist Children’s Home ministry,” said Sandusky. “It’s similar to the Boys Ranch in Harrison, AR.” His students built a new fence, cleared a mile of brush and rewired a rodeo arena. They also led a Monday worship service for the boys and hosted a Thursday cookout.
Not only did this trip encourage the boys at the ranch, but it also changed Sandusky’s students. “After being around these boys, my students said, ‘I’ve taken advantage of my parents and not appreciated what I’ve had.’”
Ten students from Arkansas State University (ASU) went to Provo, Utah. The International Mission Board classifies Provo as the least reached people group in the United States. With only .5 percent reached for the gospel, spiritual warfare is a reality God helped them push through, said Corley Shumaker, assistant campus minister at ASU. She said the spiritual warfare “felt very oppressive. It was something that made you not want to share your faith…like an active opposition to doing Kingdom work.” As they prayer walked a suburban Mormon neighborhood, they invited people to a Wednesday night Bible study. Four people came. “It was really encouraging for everyone,” said Shumaker. The students left Provo “impacted by the lostness,” eager to return. “Nearly everybody on the team said they can’t wait to come back.”
Jared Farley, campus minister at Henderson State University, said their team of 30 shared the gospel over 200 times in Louisiana. On Monday, Farley’s students and others from the University of Arkansas at Monticello went to the 7th Ward, a dangerous part of New Orleans. The following day, evangelism teams shared the gospel for 3-4 hours at Louisiana State University. Student teams also helped with disaster relief repairing houses and churches in Baton Rouge, Denham Springs, an area where 75,000 faced major flooding 6 months ago.
Some students preferred doing manual labor and some liked evangelism better. Farley encouraged them to stay obedient to God even when they preferred some work over others. “I told the students, ‘We do our part and God will be faithful to do His.’”
Three campuses (National Park College (NPC), Northwest Arkansas Community College–NWACC–and University of the Ozarks) travelled to Kentucky to focus on growing in Christ. They visited the Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter. Also, former apologetics teacher at Ecclesia College, Chris Kohlman, taught 11 students apologetics for three days, two hours each night. NPC Baptist College Minister Michael Clayton admits the educational emphasis is an unusual Spring Break trip, but it worked this year. “A lot of students are newer believers who did not grow up in church,” he said, including a new Christian faculty member at NWACC.
“It was really awesome for me because I got a better hold on what to say in certain situations when you come into contact with unbelievers,” said Taylor Greeson from National Park College. “It was not a wasted time.”