While many students enjoy a well-earned week of rest during spring break, three groups from YC spent the respite from classes in service to others. From sorting donations at a food bank in a major city to helping with health care needs in another country, these students showed the love of Jesus through the work of their hands.
A team of nine from YC led by Dr. Milton Eckhart, associate professor of biology, traveled to northern Haiti to conduct a week-long mobile health clinic. They left prior to spring break and returned a few days into the holiday. Partnering with a volunteer team of doctors and nurses through the non-profit Every Eye Will See Him, the group from York College treated 150-200 people each day--taking time to pray with each patient as well as address their physical needs.
Pre-med student Troy Kelly says it was a challenge for him to figure out what he could do--as he wasn’t a trained medical person and he didn’t speak the language. He spent most of his time working in the makeshift pharmacy, filling the prescriptions for simple medicines such as antacids, pain-killers, and anti-fungal cream. That, in addition to a lot of lifting, loading, and unloading of materials for the team, kept him busy. While it wasn’t exciting work, he said it reminded him that even small acts of service are necessary and important. Kelly hopes to continue doing medical missions, possibly full-time, when he is finished with his education.
YC student Alex Payne says she had a total mind-shift while she was serving in Haiti. A woman came to the clinic carrying an 18 month old child who had severe physical delays. “The baby clearly had some serious neurological issues, but there was nothing we could do...In that moment, I just thought ‘why am I here? I can’t help these people!’...I felt entirely helpless.”
That feeling forced her to the realization that she had been expecting to go to Haiti with food and medicine, money and doctors, to save people. “I found that in my heart, I believed the lie that I was the one who could save these people.” This instance reminded her that nothing can save you other than the blood of Christ and the grace of God. That was a humbling and transforming realization for Payne.
Lindsay Jones also experienced a transformative moment on the trip. She was feeling overwhelmed by all the noise and chaos, the continuous need and her own inability to really help anyone. She went outside the clinic wondering why she was even there, sat down and started crying. At that moment, a stray dog appeared and put his head on her shoulder. The dog comforted her for several minutes while she cried. “That was when I realized if God can use this dog...how much more can he use me? Even though I can’t speak the language and I’m not a doctor.”
Eckhart, who served with his wife as a medical missionary in Haiti from 1996 to 2000, says that each of the YC students who went with him to Haiti came away with a new or renewed desire to serve in the mission field. “It’s in their blood now,” he says. “Their hearts have been touched. They have the heart for missions and serving the needy.”
Team Haiti also included Caris Clark, Lindsay Jones, Bradlee Carls, Ed Bailey, Louise Bailey, and Holly Eckhart.
Eight students and one sponsor from social clubs Beta Beta Sigma and Koinonia traveled to Oklahoma City where they spent six days fellowshipping with the homeless and helping to feed the hungry.The team was hosted by Memorial Road Church of Christ and also worked with the Frontline Church. They spent time volunteering at a variety of nonprofits including Cross and Crown, Feed the Children, and the city mission. They sorted donations of food, clothing, and personal items, and spent a lot of time praying and fellowshipping with the people served by those organizations.
Rather than be overwhelmed by the needs, Delaney Woods, a freshman who went on the trip, said that the team was continually reenergized by the Holy Spirit. “That became the theme of the week,” she says, “the Holy Spirit working through us individually and as a group. We constantly saw the Lord at work.”
Woods says she came away from the trip more connected to her teammates and committed to her dream of long-term mission work. She will travel to Ecuador this summer with Let’s Start Talking and hopes to settle in that country to teach English once she graduates from YC in 2017.
Team OKC also included Briana Van Duesen, Caleb Clark, Bryce Tyler, Laurel Simpson, Tabitha Hameister, Jenny Long, and Emily Meranda. Susan Van Deusen was the sponsor for the group. Woods says they plan to repeat the trip next spring break.
The work they did wasn’t glamorous, but it was challenging and useful. Five students, most of them from social clubs Kingsmen and Omega Phi, elected to stay in York to give back—offering their services to all faculty and staff for the week. Jaquar Lovett, Tiffany Cole, Olivia Todd, Alfred Peters, and Sarah Trembly spent the week doing yard work, cleaning and organizing, and other projects as needed.
“Kingsmen is all about service to the King,” says Tiffany Cole, who estimates the team put in 30 hours of labor over the course of the week. “We wanted to help people out and we had the free time to do it over spring break. We all like to be active and to serve. This was a good way for us to do it.”“Though we didn't have time to finish every request, we've committed to continue serving, completing all unfinished requests by the end of semester,” says Group leader Jaquar Lovett.
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