Students Spend Christmas Break in Service
| by MNU News firstname.lastname@example.org
It may be Christmas break, but several MNU students are still hard at work preparing for three different 2012-2013 MNU mission trips that leave over the university’s Christmas break.
January 3 – 14, a team of 10 students will travel to Port au Prince, Haiti, with Heart to Heart International, a medical nongovernmental organization with a special focus in Haiti. Students will host a medical clinic in the community of Cascade Pichon and work with Heart to Heart’s medical and orphan programs.
Team leader Dylan Aebersold, a junior intercultural studies major, also traveled to Haiti with an MNU mission team in March 2012. He said that though planning this trip has been challenging, it has ultimately increased his faith.
“We hope to invest into the lives of the Haitians, and let them pour into our lives as well,” said Aebersold. “I think this trip will draw us closer to God and put a newfound passion for Haiti within the students who are going.”
While Aebersold and his team are in Haiti, 12 senior nursing majors will provide medical care to orphans in Guatemala’s Western Highlands. The trip allows MNU student nurses to perform pediatric health assessments and treat malnutrition through the Widows and Orphans Program of Nazarene Compassionate Ministries.
Faculty leader Dawn Ferguson, assistant professor of nursing at MNU, said students have been studying the economics, politics, and culture of Guatemala in preparation for the trip. Ferguson has led these trips numerous times.
“My hopes and expectations for this trip are always fulfilled,” said Ferguson. “I see students change over the course of the 10-day period – from thinking of themselves to giving of themselves. The experiences these students share are priceless and certainly of a divine nature. I’m never disappointed, ever.”
Finally, January 7 – 17, a team of four MNU students and two faculty members will travel to Bangui, the capital city of the Central African Republic (CAR) with Integrated Community Development International (ICDI), a community development organization that focuses on the CAR. While there, MNU team members will drill wells for clean water and work with locals to develop sustainable agricultural systems through planting and harvesting strategies, field research, and nutrition education.
Marshall Cloud, a senior biology major who is especially interested in the trip’s clean-water initiative, explained that the goals of the trip are multifaceted.
“Alongside ICDI, we will be working with their clean water-well systems, talking with the local people of CAR, getting to know country officials in the capital city, and working with ICDI's farming initiative,” said Cloud. “This trip is primarily to see a partnership between ICDI and MNU develop so MNU can become part of the sustainability of their already thriving ministry. Water is ICDI's primary goal. By providing clean water, ICDI can then teach locals farming skills and provide children education.”
Jon North, vice president for university advancement at MNU and leader for the trip, agreed that this trip is intended to foster a long-term relationship between MNU and ICDI.
“Our hope is that this is something that will be sustained for a number of years to come, and that we can continue to get our students and alums engaged in it,” said North.
The MNU CAR mission team will also meet with Dr. Filimoa Chambo, regional director of the Africa Region of the Church of the Nazarene, who hopes to develop the first Nazarene church in the Central African Republic.
In addition to these trips, MNU’s Passion to Serve Project is a yearlong partnership with Alliance for Children Everywhere’s Milk and Medicine Program, which provides medical and nutritional aid to children of mothers HIV/AIDS.