Spring break won’t offer much in the way of an actual break for eight Palm Beach Atlantic University students heading to the Dominican Republic this weekend.
By day, the students plan to minister alongside volunteers from church in the town of Peralta, doing community service projects such as planting trees and painting houses. By night, they will relax by building relationships with the children and adolescents in the village, “sharing the love of Christ and the message of hope with them,” said Bryan Reynolds, a PBA student who will help lead the team during the trip.
In all, more than 85 University students on nine mission teams will travel to places like Central America, South America and the Caribbean to do mission work during spring break week March 6-12. A tenth team made up of seven students from PBA’s School of Nursing will head to Nicaragua to do missions work in a local hospital.
One group bound for Manaus, Brazil, will volunteer in medical clinics on the Amazon River. Another team en route to Honduras will assist with church-planting activities there.
Student Katie Sommers will be a part of the Honduras team. To assist with the church opening, she and her teammates are planning to participate in Sunday school activities, perform in skits and fellowship with local residents.
The culmination of their trip will be a chance to participate in the new church’s first Sunday worship service.
A sophomore majoring in English and secondary education, Sommers said she is most looking forward to working with children and youth. “I love helping people and doing God’s will,” the Sebring, Fla., native said.
The teams have worked for months to raise money for the trips. The Dominican Republic team held a silent auction, set up a concession stand at a Battle of the Bands event on campus, sought donations from businesses and sold candy bars.
Another project involved selling “Threads of Hope,” hand-made bracelets made families in the Philippines to earn enough money to keep their daughters out of prostitution. By selling the bracelets on campus, the team was able to raise money for their trip and donate a significant amount to the Filipino families, said Reynolds, a ministry leadership studies major and a native of Knoxville, Tenn.
|PBA students interact with children in Bolivia during a spring break mission trip in 2010.|
At each destination, the student-led teams will work with partnering organizations or churches. The Bolivia team will work with Children's Impact Network, which operates an orphanage in the town of Cochabamba and ministers to boys on the street.
Accompanying the 11 team members, most of whom will be traveling there for the first time, is PBA senior who has been to Bolivia four times previously. Nicholas Mills, a marketing major from Union Bridge, Md., was so moved by his experiences on the mission field that he will join the staff of Children’s Impact Network after graduation.
“I am looking forward to this because I am entering a leadership role that I had not imagined myself being in when I traveled with PBA as a team member two years ago,” Mills said.
He said he always enjoys going to Bolivia with people who are experiencing it for the first time.
“Every team is different and unique, and I am thankful that I have the opportunity to share in those experiences with this team,” he said.