Northwestern College students to serve during spring break

Northwestern College will send 13 teams of students on service trips to seven states, Bahrain, Costa Rica and Mexico during spring break. More than 150 participants will travel for this year’s annual Spring Service Partnerships, scheduled for March 4–13.

“For decades, Northwestern has provided a wide variety of short-term mission experiences,” says Patrick Hummel, the college’s director of missions. “NWC Spring Service Partnerships are led by faculty and staff, involve extensive pre-trip training, and play a major role in the spiritual growth and development of our students.”

This year’s SSP trips include three new international mission partners. The first is Al Raja School in Manama, Bahrain, where Northwestern team members will assist teachers with classroom tasks, work one-on-one with students, and plan an after-school activity. They’ll also interact with Muslims and Christians who live in Bahrain.

A second new mission partner is World Team in Costa Rica. Led by a Northwestern alum and World Team missionary, this SSP is a highly relational trip in which Northwestern students will work with Costa Rican youth groups.

Two SSP teams will travel to Mexico. One will return to Croc, on the outskirts of Monterrey, where students will serve local youth in an after-school program run by Youthfront. The other will join Mazatlán Ministries, a new ministry partner in Baja California Sur. There students will serve alongside the local church, providing children’s activities, vacation Bible school and sports clinics, as well as organizing work projects that fit the skills and talents of the team.

Teams in the continental U.S. are partnering with ministries in locations ranging from the West Coast to the South and from Minnesota to Texas.

In California, Northwestern students will join with City Church of Compton to work with an after-school program, engage in beautification projects, and participate in outreach programs. Other teams with a focus on urban ministry will head to Denver, Colorado, and Kansas City, Kansas. The Denver team will work with Mile High Ministries, serving people who are homeless and socially marginalized, while the students in Kansas City will partner with Youthfront and a Hispanic congregation to support after-school programs, a neighborhood farm, senior citizen community center, and preparations for a summer camp.

Two SSP teams will serve in and learn about Native American communities. Those going to the Grand Portage Indian Reservation in Minnesota will spend time with a local church youth group. They’ll also do work at a wilderness camp operated by the Coldwater Foundation, a faith and leadership development organization. Another team will travel to the Mescalero Apache Reservation in New Mexico, where they will do manual labor and participate in the youth and children’s programs of Mescalero Reformed Church.

In Texas, Northwestern students will serve with Calvary Commission, a residential and education center for ex-convicts. Another two SSP teams are heading to Louisiana. One will staff after-school programs, youth sports camps and beautification projects in New Orleans with Urban Impact; the other will do construction, tutoring, community cleanup and relational ministry in partnership with Hope for Opelousas.

The final SSP team will work with World Renew, the development, disaster response and justice arm of the Christian Reformed Church, which is sending the Northwestern students to Sulphur, Louisiana, to help with hurricane, tornado and flood relief efforts.

SSP team members raise their own travel funds through their individual families, friends and churches, and through fundraisers on campus and in the community.

Northwestern College’s short-term mission programs bear the Standards of Excellence in Short-Term Mission seal, ensuring that participating organizations get teams that are of high quality. SOE standards include adequate pre-trip training and resources, as well as consistent post-trip follow-up and accountability.