Join us at Discover SPRINT for a night of stories and video from Summer, 2013 SPRINT trips! Sunday night, November 3, 7:00 PM in Demaray Hall 150 on the SPU campus.
We are all feeling much better. The last few days have very busy but also very influential. On Wednesday we had a day of rest at a beautiful resort. We swam in the Caribbean, played beach volleyball, and had a delicious sweet coconut frappacino.We were thankful that we got to spend relaxing time together after working hard throughout the week.
On our way home, we had an unexpected stop at an earthquake memorial, which was also a mass grave. We learned that around 300,000 people lost their lives in the 2010 earthquake. Many of the bodies were brought to this particular site, in order to prevent disease and more chaos within the city of Port-Au-Prince. While we were there we had the opportunity to lift the country of Haiti up in prayer, while hand in hand with children from the nearby village. We were all very impacted by what we saw and the stories we have heard. It was an emotional experience for us all and one that we will never forget. We’re thankful for the FFP staff that took us there and shared their personal stories from the earthquake. It is evident that God continues to use that tragedy for good, in ways beyond understanding.
Yesterday we were again in the village of Kwa Kok, where we wrapped up our time there continuing with the construction we started. We’ve already started putting up the columns for the school. It’s very exciting to see the progress of the project in such a short time! We ended the day with a farewell service at a church in one of the villages the foundation works with.
Cornerstone church left today. We were blessed to work along side them for the ten days they were here. We will cherish the memories and friendships made with them. Now we are focused on making the most of our last couple days here. Tomorrow we have a full day planned and we are excited to see what God has in store for us.
We are spending some quality team time together beginning with hauling our mattresses onto the roof to try and get a cool night sleep. And the stars won’t be too bad to look at either!
As excited as we are to be reunited with friends and family, Haiti has a special place in our hearts and we’re realizing how hard it’s going to be to leave. The staff here is amazing and they have done everything in their ability to make us feel welcomed into the FFP family, and at the same time have challenged us in a variety of ways.
We’ve been beyond blessed.
Thank you for your continual support and prayer.
Bondye beni ou! (God bless you)
Annie, Emily & Maddy
After two weeks in Haiti, the team will return to the States next week. As you prepare to receive them, here are some things I hope you’ll think about to help the team make the most of this trip.
For those of you meeting students at the airport, here’s flight information:
Emily returns to San Francisco on July 21 at 11:30 PM on American Airlines #2004
Annie and Maddy return to Seattle on July 22 at 12:15 AM on American #563 (That’s just after Midnight on July 21)
As the group returns, they’ll continue to think through this experience and its implications for their lives. It’s likely that this mental processing will involve at least some of these elements:
Relief upon returning to familiar surroundings,
Frustration with aspects of home culture that appear less desirable than the cultural values experienced during the SPRINT experience,
Sadness and joy over relationships and memories developed during the trip,
And hopefully, Resolve to incorporate the learning from this trip into daily life as life moves on.
It’s our hope that SPRINT participants will return to “life as usual” with expanded worldviews and a clearer sense of God’s work in their lives. The learning process continues after the trip experience; students will participate in a debriefing gathering in October, and will be encouraged to continue meeting with their SPRINT team to share the story of their host’s work and encourage future generations of SPRINT participants to serve.
I encourage you to give your student time to catch up on sleep, then set aside an extended period of time to share pictures and stories. Don’t expect completely-formed opinions immediately; the reflection process takes time. We remind returning SPRINTers that not everyone will have time to hear the whole story, but that they should find a few people with whom to share the longer, more in-depth account.
I’ve mailed team members some discussion questions and a copy of the Global Citizen Journal, published by the Krista Foundation for Global Citizenship (www.kristafoundation.org), to help them think through their experience as they move forward. If you’ve got time, I’d encourage you to talk though some of these materials with your student.
Thanks for your support of students on this team! Please let me know if you have questions.
With today’s return of the Vietnam SPRINT team and the departure of the Brazil team, we’re pretty close to SPRINT’s halfway point this summer. (For a full list of this summer’s trips, visit the SPRINT webpage).
I know you’re primarily interested in reports from teams’ trips, so I’ll keep this post brief. Quickly, though, I wanted to offer some background information on the SPRINT program and our goals for all of this international travel, learning and service you’ll read about on these pages.
University-sponsored short-term missions at Seattle Pacific University date back to the early 1960s; participants in Operation Outreach, later renamed Seattle Pacific Reachout INTernational, have volunteered in countries around the world for many years. Serving in teams alongside in-country local leadership, the objective of SPRINT trips has always been to provide needed help, a witness to the Gospel and important learning opportunities for college students.
Today SPRINT is advised and supported by SPU’s John Perkins Center for Reconciliation, Leadership Training and Community Development. Perkins Center staff (that’s me) and student leaders partner to recruit, train and send the SPRINT teams you’re reading about this summer.
It’s important for us to engage students with effective, sustainable, community-developing work that promotes long-term transformation rather than the negative, dependency-creating outcomes sometimes associated with short-term missions. To that end, our pre-trip training and host-partner selection focus on a set of values outlined by the Christian Community Development Association, emphasizing local leadership development, empowerment and reconciliation that bridges both social and spiritual gaps. Our hope is that students will learn from effective community engagement models and apply these lessons to their future work, wherever God leads them.
Another key aspect of the SPRINT process is our emphasis on post-trip reflection and application. Neat experiences, great photos and fun stories about new foods do not equal life transformation. However, when students are intentional in reflecting on their experiences, learning take-aways and challenges of the trip they’re more likely to discover God at work throughout the trip experience and beyond.
To encourage the reflection process we’ll send each student a copy of the Global Citizen Journal, published by the Krista Foundation for Global Service as he or she returns home. The journal highlights the importance of incorporating service and mission experiences into one’s life through reflection and application. You might find this sample article interesting: In “Staying for Tea” Aaron Ausland reflects on the importance of long-term commitment and listening to community in order to find one’s place of effectiveness as an outsider coming in.
Thanks again for your support of students as they participate in SPRINT this summer. If you’d like more information on the program, ways to give or ways to be involved, please contact me at (206) 281-2932 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are entering week two here in Haiti. Our time here is flying by way too fast, but we still have a lot more to do. The past few days have consisted of working in Kwa Kok, a farming community that our host Pastor Valentin has been heavily involved with. Pastor felt called to start a church for the community, which started out as just a tree they would meet under. They now have a little pavilion where they worship and have Sunday school. Now they have begun digging a foundation for a school, and eventually another church building. We have loved getting to know the people in this community. We are already beginning to build close relationships with them because we have been working alongside them on the school project.
Yesterday we attended church in Kwa Kok. It was a very neat experience to worship with the people we have been getting to know, and realizing that we love and serve the same God regardless of language and culture differences. After church we helped lead VBS. We sang songs, did crafts, performed a skit, played games, and had a lot of fun with the children!
Later in the day we had the opportunity to go to another village and play soccer. We went to Miracle Village which started out as a tent community for people who were displaced and have medical problems due to the earthquake in 2010. Now it is a beautiful community with colorful houses, gardens, and a soccer field. The village has a soccer team that our group got to play against. Soccer is a big deal in Haiti so it was cool to be able to share in such an important part of their culture with them. It was a tough game, but they were very gracious when we won
Last night and today a lot of people were really under the weather from the heat and some dehydration. Now everyone is starting to feel better due to lots of prayer and rest.
We are looking forward to our last week here- it’s going to be tough leaving this beautiful place! We will try to upload another post soon. Thanks for your patience! We hope everything at home is going great and be looking forward to plenty of stories!
Lots of love,
Emliy, Maddy and Annie
Here’s just a quick update on our trip so far!
We’ve only been here for a couple days and we’re already loving it. We landed in Port Au-Prince and from there went straight to Pastor Valentin’s house, where we’ll be staying for the remainder of our trip. His house is in the middle of a very busy village, but it’s beautiful and has great views. We already know we’ll be going on the roof every night for some God and team time. We met some of the staff and interns, all whom were very welcoming and are already dear friends.
In the evening Pastor taught us some Creole that we’ve been practicing all day today. Cornerstone church arrived earlier while we were at the worksite. They are all very friendly and we’re excited to get to know them more.
The worksite is beautiful! It’s a big lot with a school that they are adding a second floor to. Our first job was to be a part of an assembly line that passed buckets of cement to poor into the columns. We were unfortunately cut short due to the weather. There is a tropical storm with lots of wind and rain. We were actually cold today at a few points, which was the last thing we expected.
Tonight we are doing devotionals and worship with Cornerstone, Pastor Valentine and staff.
We appreciate all your prayers and want to let you know that we are safe, having a great time, and looking forward to the rest of our stay in Haiti.
Love you all and God bless!
Annie, Emily & Maddy