Students, staff offer willing hands and hearts during spring break

Huntington, Ind.—Instead of packing for the beach this spring break, 80 Huntington College staff and students are headed to various parts of the world to serve others with willing hands and hearts. HC teams will arrive in Kosovo, New York City, Brazil, Jamaica and Florida as volunteers for different causes during the week of March 15-19, 2004.

The Kosovo team will serve in the city of Gjakova, located in a mountainous region of Kosovo. Teams in the past have installed wells and woodstoves, poured concrete slabs and delivered firewood, couches, beds and food to widows and their families.

“We will be doing much of the same physical projects,” said Joanne Miller, staff leader of the trip and advisor to the Joe Mertz Center and student activities at Huntington College. “We will also be doing a lot of relational ministry. I am convinced that we will return to the states with renewed hearts and a deeper understanding of God’s love and mercy.”

The team will work with a small church-planting group of Albanian and American Christians who have served in Gjakova since the end of the recent war.

“Living conditions in Gjakova are harsh. Many have no running water and power outages are frequent. Piles of garbage line the roadways,” Miller said.

New York City
The group traveling to New York City will do such things as feed the poor, help in kitchens, hand out grocery sacks, pray with people at shelters and pass out clothing and Bibles.

“I think this is going to be an opportunity to get us out of our comfort zones and have our eyes opened to some of the devastation that takes place in our own country,” said Jennifer Strange, a junior psychology major from Brownsburg, Ind., and student leader of the trip. “I expect it to be a life-changing experience for all of us and, hopefully, for many people in New York as well.”

Ministering to youth at a camp in Iguaca Falls, Brazil, HC staff and students will teach sports, lead worship through music and drama, make crafts and engage in one-on-one conversations.

“Brazilian youth look to American youth as a reference for behavior, and we want to be an example of God's power to transform lives,” said Nicole Fain, staff leader of the trip and associate director of campus ministries at Huntington College.

The Jamaica team, consisting of will work with the Happy Grove High School and the Seaside Friends Church in Manchionial, Jamaica. They will help teachers in the classroom, conduct devotions and paint and repair parts of the school. They also plan to organize evening-outreach events for the high-school students and teachers.

Dr. Norris Friesen, vice president and dean of Huntington College, will make his 10th spring-break trip to the Caribbean as the leader of this year’s Jamaica missions team.

“I am looking forward to getting to know our students and challenging them to step outside of their comfort zone,” Friesen said. “I know that the living conditions will be tight and the work assignment will not be ideal, but I also know that God will stretch us and give us an incredible opportunity to get to know Him better.”

Twenty-five Huntington College students will spend their spring break building houses with Habitat for Humanity in Jacksonville, Fla. Last year, the group worked on seven different houses doing various jobs such as roofing, framing, siding, painting and construction of wall frames, completing houses for the Jacksonville affiliate know as Habijax. Habijax is dedicated to building over 200 homes a year to help end sub-standard housing conditions. With the help of college students, Habijax has made the commitment to end sub-standard housing in the Jacksonville area by the year 2021.

Huntington College Habitat for Humanity is a student-run organization that is dedicated to ending sub-standard living conditions for people in the United States. This is the third group that Huntington College’s campus chapter has taken to Florida. The trip is led by Tanner Babb, a senior psychology major from Huntington, Ind., and marks his third consecutive year in leading the Habitat spring break trip.

The Kosovo, New York City and Florida trips are organized by the Joe Mertz Center for Volunteer Service (JMC) of Huntington College, a student-directed organization that mobilizes the campus community for Christian service.

Founded in 1992, the Joe Mertz Center has become an integral part of Huntington College campus life. More than 70% of resident students are involved in some form of volunteer service, and more than 10,000 hours of labor are contributed by the campus community each year.

Huntington College is a comprehensive Christian college of the liberal arts offering graduate and undergraduate programs in more than 60 academic concentrations. USNews & World Report ranks Huntington among the top comprehensive colleges in the Midwest. Founded in 1897 by the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Huntington College is located on a contemporary, lakeside campus in Huntington, Indiana. The College is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU).

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Heather Barkley
Director of Communications
Joanne Green
Sports Information Director