Students continue to serve at HU

2014 Spring Break Mystery Trip

Spring Break saw more than 40 Huntington University students traveling to far-away lands, visiting sunny shores, and all while serving the community abroad.

The service trips, organized by the Friesen Center for Volunteer Services at HU, led short-term service trips in Belize, Jamaica and the first-ever "Mystery Trip." The teams were headed by a faculty adviser and a student trip leader who worked to organize the trip from the beginning stages.

"Mystery Trip"

The "Mystery Trip" was a new adventure designed to recruit students who would be willing to go and serve wherever they would be needed. No one on the trip team knew the location or the task assigned until they arrived at the destination early into the trip.

Defuniak Springs, Fla., was the locale and the team spent the week building and repairing houses damaged by local storms. Hammers and Hearts is the organization who directed the team alongside Grace Kaufman, director of volunteer service and outreach ministry, and Lauren Kirby, the student trip leader. Twelve students went on the trip.

"The trip was ultimately a step of faith for all of us," Kirby said. "For the girls, they had to step out in faith by giving up control and allowing themselves to go wherever they were needed to serve. In taking that step of faith, we were all blessed more than any of us were expecting."


The Belize team didn't stay long in one place. The Hosanna House served as a mission base, as well as the location of projects such as repaving the entry road. Students led devotions at schools in Dangriga, a nearby town, others led prayers and devotions to students after school back at the Hosanna House. The last day of the trip gave the team time to visit the Mayan ruins of Xuantunich. The Rev. Arthur Wilson, campus pastor, and Kaitlyn Dreman, the student trip leader, led the team for the week. Fourteen students attended this trip.

"As a wise man told us during our week in Belize, 'God is most glorified when you are most satisfied in Him,'" said Shana Christian, a sophomore on the trip. "If there is something that was learned from my trip, it is that statement."


HU has worked with CSI Ministries in Jamaica for several years, and the results have always been memorable.

A mother named Angela and her two daughters were living in a home with a crumbling foundation, and the walls would soon fall. CSI Ministries and the 13 students from HU spent their week in Highgate, Jamaica, building this family a new home. The Friday morning before the team left, they had to honor of presenting the house to Angela. The team was led by Dr. Norris Friesen, director of institutional effectiveness, and Student Trip Leader Katie Eckhoff.

"She no longer had to worry about a strong wind coming and blowing her house down on her or the foundation finally falling apart," said senior Alan Huffman, a student on the trip. "It was awesome to see her acknowledge that God had answered her prayers and provided safety for her family. You could tell the God was at work in our group as well as in Jamaica."