Students spend Spring Break in the missions field

HUNTINGTON, Ind.- Forget Florida! The Bahamas? Not this year. Fourteen Huntington University students decided to forsake getting a tan this Spring Break and instead volunteer in Honduras and New Orleans from March 12-19.

The Joe Mertz Center, a campus organization dedicated to service and volunteering, is sponsoring both trips.

While in Honduras, three students and one staff member will participate in medical brigades at an area church through the World Gospel Outreach organization. The organization offers doctor and dentist appointments to local residents. The organization strives to heal and treat people both physically as well as spiritually. The four will help with these appointments and spend time with the locals. After four days of helping with the medical brigades, the team will visit local orphanages and do a little sightseeing.

"I have a heart for helping people, so I felt like this would be a great opportunity before I graduated," said Megan Verhasselt, a junior mathematics education major from Bartlett, Ill. "The whole point of missions is to further God's kingdom - whether that be to the people of Honduras or the neighbor across the street."

The Honduras team will consist of Megan Verhasselt, Rachel Weber and Julie Manges.

The second team will travel to New Orleans where 11 students will help clean the city after the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina back in 2005.

Casey Overpeck, a senior recreation and management major from Rockville, Ind., organized the New Orleans trip through her work with the Joe Mertz Center and partnered with Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (CRWRC) stationed in Byron, Mich., to make the New Orleans trip a reality.

The CRWRC asked Overpeck for the skill sets of each participant so the organization could place the students in areas that best suit their strengths. The team will work on dry-walling, rebuilding homes and cleaning up debris.
"We're not just rebuilding houses we're helping to rebuild lives," Overpeck said. "I hope we can show the people of New Orleans that other people do still care about them and that God still loves them."

The New Orleans team consists of Casey Overpeck; Pat Irick, Zach Keller, Monica Salvo, Ann Savariar, Thad Goff, Isaac Becker, Jake Kendall, Melissa Drake, Stacie Cressman and Willis Barber.

The Huntington University baseball and softball teams also will travel to Florida over Spring Break for training while the Huntington University golf team travels to South Carolina to continue in their regular season matches.