Huntington, Ind.—Boston, Mass., is filled with life on St. Patrick’s Day. It is the same day as Evacuation Day, a day in which Bostonians honor their ancestors who drove the British out of their city during the Revolutionary War. Schools and businesses are closed, and a legendary parade fills up the streets.
But it is a different kind of life that Huntington University students brought over their spring break from March 16-20 to some struggling people in Boston.
HU students Patrick Irick, Janna Jenney, Alexandra Meriwether, Tabitha Truax, Joy Hersey and Laura Hustedt volunteered with the Joe Mertz Center and College Park Church. In partnership with the Boston Project, the group spent the week doing physical labor that would benefit churches and missions, as well as becoming aware of the urban culture in Boston.
Jana Jenney works on the new conference room for the Global Ministries Christian Church.
“The week was focused on understanding racial and urban issues and understanding Christianity’s role in dealing with the injustice that is present there,” said senior Laura Hustedt, the JMC’s Boston trip coordinator and a recreation management major from Martinton, Ill.
The trip began with an event called the Urban Dip.
“We split up into groups and went to several different neighborhoods to see what the culture was like,” explained Lyn Kline, the trip’s advisor. “Each neighborhood had a different culture. We were instructed to talk to people to find out more about Boston as well as finding a dessert that was unique to the neighborhood to bring back to share for supper. Some neighborhoods had a Jamaican influence, others Vietnamese, and so on.”
The Boston spring break trip members and their partners and new friends from the Boston Project
Throughout the week, the group was split up into smaller groups to divide and conquer separate service projects.
Some students worked for four days for the New England Seafarers Mission, a mission agency that ministers to cruise ships and other boats as they come into ports. They offer workers a chance to buy store goods, transfer money, use a computer, call home and spend time in prayer in the ministry’s chapel. Students painted a bathroom and helped organize boxes in the mission’s warehouse.
Another group of students spent three days helping Global Ministries Christian Church complete a new conference room by sanding, painting and putting in floor tiling. Other work included putting in a new ceiling for a building that houses pregnant and young mothers, volunteering at a local book fair, organizing at a crisis pregnancy center and providing afterschool tutoring for school children in the area.
In the spirit of spring break, they did have a chance to relax and sightsee. They celebrated St. Patrick’s Day at a nice Italian restaurant.
“We also walked around the Boston Common and saw the Old North Church and Paul Revere’s grave,” said Kline.
In their downtime, they were relaxed, played card games or foursquare and spent time in devotions. They even had the chance to stop and see the American side of Niagara Falls on their trip home to Indiana.
“Our verse for the week, that we were trying to focus on was Micah 6:8,” said Hustedt. “‘He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.’”
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