By Amanda Parrish, Staff Writer
Global Outreach Trips introduced three new teams for spring break, allowing students new opportunities from Louisville to Memphis.
About 150 people are participating in GO Trips this year, branching out to towns and countries across the globe. Out of spring break’s 12 trips, three new teams allowed students to assist communities and organizations while enjoying new experiences. For the first time, Union students joined the ministry of Jefferson Street Baptist Center in Louisville, Ky., and Binghampton Development Corp. in Memphis, while another group traveled to Boston, Mass.
Julie Bradfield, director of student mobilization, said these new trips developed as a result of Union’s growing relationships with different churches and organizations. Each team was designed to help meet the needs of the group or organization.
For the trip to Memphis, the team primarily focused on assisting to develop the urban farms created by the churches involved with Binghampton Development Corporation. Students helped build greenhouses and plant vegetables to be used for school meals in the district.
The Louisville team, developed primarily with social work majors in mind, was involved in ministering to the homeless. The Boston 2 team occasionally connected with the Boston 1 group but also assisted a Russian church plant and a ministry dedicated to international students.
Megan Pinckard, sophomore creative writing major, said the Louisville GO Trip was successful and heart-touching. Pinckard’s group worked with the homeless through Jefferson Street Baptist Center by playing games, serving in the kitchen and helping with manual labor.
“(Those in the Jefferson Street program) have such openness, humor and hope,” Pinckard said. “They have God-given, Christ-centered passions that brought us to our knees in humility and to our feet in rejoicing.”
Megan Miller, junior social work and Spanish double major, said the Memphis trip, her first GO Trip, was full of work and fun. Students enjoyed hard work planting and building as well as sightseeing and eating Ethiopian food in Memphis.
Miller said that working in Memphis showed her the importance of serving in local areas such as Jackson and Memphis.
Other trips also proved successful in achieving the GO Trip goals of exposing students to new experiences and fostering a greater understanding of the Gospel.
David Knack, sophomore biblical languages major, said his GO Trip to Providence, R.I., where he and his team worked with Grace Harbor Community Church, provided opportunities for both of these goals.
“Our trip had two main purposes,” Knack said. “First was encouraging the body at Grace Harbor and getting to know them, learning what they do and offering our perspective. Second was for street evangelism to bless and share the Gospel with them.”
Knack said his team stayed in the homes of church members at Grace Harbor and spent significant time getting to know those at Grace Harbor and becoming involved in the campus ministry at Johnson and Wales University.
In developing new and past GO Trips, Bradfield said multiple criteria are examined. Union examines opportunities that would provide a mutually beneficial partnership. The goals are for students to help meet the needs of the church or organization and be exposed to other local churches, gaining a greater understanding of the Gospel.
Bradfield said GO Trips will continue this summer with three international teams. These teams will have an academic as well as ministry emphasis for eight weeks in Asia and the Middle East.