By Melissa Schill
Several Wheaton-sponsored organizations, including Honduras Project, BreakAway Ministry and the Wheaton College Symphony Orchestra, will be traveling to work on projects over spring break from March 9-17.
A group of 27 students will travel to El Barro and Cooperativa Seales in Honduras with Honduras Project (HP). This branch of the Office of Multicultural Development sends a group out each year to install a gravity-fed water system and lead Bible studies.
Each Saturday from the beginning of the school year through fall break, HP students participate in service projects such as raking leaves and mowing lawns around the Wheaton community. All donations from these workdays go toward funding the water system. Once enough money is raised, the community in Honduras begins the installation process. During spring break, the HP team help finish installing the water system.
“It’s all about the relationships,” freshman HP team member Mark Pupkiewicz said. “We’re going down there to encourage them and put a face to who is helping them out in the U.S.” Pupkiewicz continued, “We’re not taking any phones with us and we’re not bringing any homework, so basically all our time down there is focused on the relationships we’re building.”
In preparation, the team has weekly small group meetings to build deeper relationships with each other. The whole team also comes together every Wednesday to learn about Honduras and the people they will be serving.
“I’m excited to meet people that we’ve been thinking about and praying for two semesters now and to put a face to where all this work has been going,” sophomore HP team member Zoe Talbott said.
BreakAway Ministry (BAM) is sending out six teams of students to participate in service projects. This year, students will be traveling to Mexico City, Puerto Rico, Tennessee, Angola, La., New Hampshire and Wichita, Kan. In each location, BAM partners with existing ministries to serve the area.
“Short-term missions can get a really bad rap, but the thing about BreakAway is that we really try to partner with people who are already doing good work,” said junior BAM chair Daniel Hanson. “We can come alongside of people so we’re not coming in and trying to steal the show. I think we serve a God big enough [to] do a lot of good in a week.”
Though students will be participating in different projects based on their location, the cabinet set a collective vision of “serving in unity with the body of Christ and growing together in love.”
“We are very intentional about trying to address this not as ‘us going to serve’ with a savior complex type of thing … but to encourage a spirit of humility and servant-heartedness and the ability to learn,” senior Mollie Borchert said. Borchert is the BAM administrator and is also responsible for organizing the BAM trip to Tennessee.
The Wheaton Symphony Orchestra will be touring the East Coast over spring break to put on free concerts for various communities in North Carolina, Maryland and Washington D.C. They will also share their music with youth in schools and in a detention center.
When they aren’t performing, they will have the opportunity to learn from professional musicians and take master classes.
“Performing will be so great,” freshman violinist Rachel Noh said. “Spring break will be a really good time getting to know everyone in orchestra. Since I’m not in the conservatory I don’t really know anyone well so it’ll be a time to meet new friends.”
Though each spring break trip has a different agenda, all teams say their hope is to shine Christ’s love in the various destinations.
Sophomore HP team member Zoe Talbott summed up the sentiments of those spending their spring breaks on Wheaton-organized trips saying, “I’m thankful to go to Wheaton where I have this kind of opportunity in the middle of the school year.”