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BetterTogether SPRING SERVICE PROJECTS SPRING BREAK 2017 This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other. JOHN 13:34-35



Haiti by Jason Rosema ’20

Ireland by Alex Currier ’19

United Christians International |

Dublin Christian Mission |

For the 6th year, Northwestern students worked alongside missionaries Kristie (De Boer ’95) and JeanJean Mompremier. This year’s team was comprised of Raider soccer players who poured a cement floor and were conversational partners for students practicing English. The athletes also played soccer with Haitian university students.

Northwestern students partnered with Dublin Christian Mission, the second-oldest city mission in the world, to serve the city’s youth and people who are homeless. In addition to painting and helping replace carpet in DCM’s youth center, they also served in a soup kitchen and spent time in Dublin neighborhoods, offering food and warm beverages to people living on the streets.

Key players We met so many unique people during our time in Haiti, including a former witch doctor. Listening to his testimony was an eye-opening experience. Kristie and JeanJean were inspiring. We could definitely see Christ working through them. The students we met impacted us, and several team members are still in contact with them. Soul focus One of the things we enjoyed about our SSP trip to Haiti was the opportunity to disconnect from our phones and the Internet. It enabled us to interact more deeply with each other. Now that we’ve returned to the U.S., we’re better at recognizing the things that distract us from a relationship with God and relationships with each other. The Haiti SSP is also featured on the cover.


Games played with heart We were inspired by two DCM volunteers, Carlos and Anto. They served Dublin’s youth by going into poor and drug-affected areas of the city to organize soccer games. The joy the young people felt when Carlos and Anto showed up on the fútbol pitch was undeniable. They respected the kids and got respect in return. Their hearts for the disenfranchised youth of Dublin inspired us. Music is a universal language As a team member, I [Alex] heard that a man who came to the soup kitchen loved music. I love music too, so I got a guitar and drums and began playing and singing Christian music. The man requested “This Little Light of Mine,” so I sang it, and others at the mission that day joined in. I asked if the man knew how to play guitar. Did he ever! His voice was amazing too. I played the bongos as he “shredded” on the guitar. After we jammed together, I commented, “Wow. Your guitar-playing puts mine to shame.” He said, “Stop right there. Music is music; there’s no hierarchy. Your playing is fine because it creates happiness. Music isn’t supposed to create barriers; it’s supposed to bring people together.”

The Netherlands by Carissa Tavary ’17

Nicaragua by Jaycee Vander Berg ’18

Shelter Youth Hostels |

The Moravian Church

For 19 years, Northwestern students have spent spring break alongside staff and volunteers at Shelter City and Shelter Jordan in Amsterdam. The hostels seek to demonstrate hospitality and Christian love by providing clean, affordable and welcoming accommodations for travelers. Team members cleaned and worked in the hostels’ cafés. They also led evening activities and Bible discussions for guests.

For the 15th time, a team returned to Bluefields, Nicaragua, to minister to the community served by Reformed Church in America missionaries Rev. Adrian and Dr. Bernardeth Bobb-Kelly. The students painted and served food at the Comédor, which provides daily meals to kids. Northwestern students also hosted Bible school sessions for children.

Hospitality sows seeds The people we met were amazing. From the hostel workers who showed incredible passion and love for travelers coming through Amsterdam, to the volunteer cleaners and housekeepers who were just beginning or just recommitting to their faith journeys, to hostel guests from all over the world—we were able to hear so many stories and learn about so many different perspectives. The experience made us eager to plant seeds of faith wherever we go. Lessons from the Netherlands Now that we’ve returned home, we are asking a lot of different questions. Some are asking how we can bring a hostel ministry to the U.S. Others are wondering how to continue to plant seeds in their daily lives and interactions. And some are exploring what the people we met and the stories we heard mean for their own faith and spiritual journeys. Regardless of our different takeaways, we all testify that God is at work in Amsterdam among the people we met.

Kid connections Most everyone on our team agrees that the best part of serving in Nicaragua was the children. The weather was warm and the country was beautiful, yet nothing topped the smiles and hugs we got every day when the kids showed up. Immersed in mission As a team we reflected a lot on the benefit of short-term missions. We talked about the idea that it seems like we as visitors get more out of trips like these than those we serve. However, by the end of the week, we realized that you can never fully understand another culture without actually being there and seeing it with your own eyes. Witnessing what is happening in other parts of God’s world is something we found to be very important in our walk with God. Physically going to Nicaragua enabled us to hold the children in our arms, kick a ball back and forth, or share a smile with new friends. While this is important, we also reflected on the fact there isn’t just one way to serve. Whether you build a home, send a check or just plain hug a child—if it’s done in love, you are making a difference.



Compton, CA by Jasi Vasher ’19

Jacksonville, FL by Samantha Vander Velde ’17

Emmanuel Reformed Church |

2nd Mile Ministries |

For the 6th year, team members partnered with Emmanuel Reformed Church, Paramount, Calif., which founded the Compton Initiative, a 40-year commitment to investing in their neighboring city of Compton. Compton is known for gang activity and violence. The Compton Initiative aims to improve the city’s image and inspire residents to reclaim their neighborhoods by cleaning, repairing and painting facilities in the community. Students painted a mural at a school, volunteered at an afterschool program, helped at a food pantry and served a meal at the Salvation Army.

Team members volunteered at an elementary school in the Brentwood community of Jacksonville, assisting the classroom teachers and tutoring students both during class and in an afterschool program. They also participated in Brentwood beautification projects. This is the 6th year Northwestern has sent a team to 2nd Mile Ministries.

Committed to Compton We met some really great people in Compton. Jeudy Mom, who heads the Compton Initiative, has a real heart for serving others. Veve oversees the afterschool program, and it was amazing to see what she does for the kids, meeting needs no one else is. Rayford Owens works in the sheriff ’s department and has an inspiring story. To see how much these people loved their community was truly moving and changed our hearts. Art with heart It was fulfilling to see how happy our help made the people of Compton. The kids at the school were so thankful for the mural. To see people adding beauty to their school lit up their eyes, and we got countless thank yous from the students as well as the staff. We left feeling like we had really made a difference.


Relationships matter It was a challenge to step out of our comfort zones, but we were encouraged to pay attention to the people we met and not focus just on the work we were assigned. We were encouraged to stop and talk if anyone passed by or came up to us because relationships are more important than raking or picking up trash. Brentwood residents communicated their appreciation to us. One resident even worked alongside us for two days. God at work Our trip to Jacksonville made us more aware of the injustice happening in our country and around the world. Even so, the people of God we met were filled with the joy and hope of the resurrection. God’s redemptive work is being done in Jacksonville, even if it might take years to accomplish some of 2nd Mile Ministries’ goals.

Annville, KY by Lizzy Rice ’17 Grace Covenant Ministries | Students partnered with Grace Covenant Ministries, which includes an elementary school, a home for boys who are troubled, therapeutic horse-riding, sports camps, veterans’ ministries, and a home for women recovering from addiction. The team participated in construction, maintenance and community outreach programs. Growing close We didn’t expect to learn so much or become so close as a team. Because our trip focused more on manual labor, we didn’t expect the many opportunities we had to get to know each other, staff at the ministry and those in the Annville community—to get to know each other and even grow to love each other. Work product Our body aches at the end of the day were reminders of the hard work we were able to accomplish—and reminders of all the work still left to do. We worked on the third stage of a project that had experienced setbacks and funding issues for more than three years. We had to leave before the project was finished, but we did as much work as we could, more than was expected. More meaningful to us than what we accomplished were the people we worked alongside. Working with our hands side-by-side enabled us to have some amazing conversations with those we met.

STANDARDS OF EXCELLENCE IN SHORT-TERM MISSION Northwestern College Campus Ministry is committed to Standards of Excellence (SOE) in Short-Term Mission. The SOE criteria were developed by representatives from many U.S. mission agencies, schools and churches who send short-term missionaries. The common set of standards helps ensure that individuals or teams sent by U.S. organizations are excellent. Training, resources, peer input, data collection and accountability are all components of SOE membership. As a member, Northwestern is serious about doing shortterm mission well—from preparation through follow-up.

New Orleans, LA by Sydney Wright ’19 Urban Impact | For the 21st time, a team of Northwestern students traveled to New Orleans to serve at Urban Impact and Castle Rock Church. Some homes and residential lots surrounding Castle Rock Church remain abandoned since Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Team members tidied up vacant lots and also interacted with youth who attend Castle Rock’s youth group and tutoring program. Being the body of Christ Throughout our experience, our team wrestled with what it looks like to be the body of Christ. While we had some interaction with community members, a lot of our work wasn’t relational; it was just cleaning empty lots. We learned about supporting and encouraging each other and being the body of Christ to one another as team members. We learned about having a posture of love and service


toward God and the work in front of us, whether it involved serving another person directly or indirectly. Restoration Most fulfilling for us was seeing the amazing things God is doing through Castle Rock Church—in their community and in the lives of the kids who participate in their programs. Brokenness and loss are still visible in New Orleans, but God is doing big things there. The Castle Rock Church staff members listen to, care about, and truly love each child in their programs and do what they can to ensure that child has a chance to succeed. Witnessing that was an absolute joy. It taught us about reconciliation and redemptive participation and living into Christ’s call no matter where you are or who you’re with.


Opelousas, LA by Kate Arnold ’18 and Jenna Heemstra ’18 Hope for Opelousas | Northwestern was the first college to send a service team to Opelousas in 2008, and teams have returned every year since. NWC students helped paint and prepare a house that Hope for Opelousas will use to expand their afterschool tutoring program. They also volunteered in Opelousas schools and at The Lighthouse Mission, where they organized a warehouse of overstocked and damaged-box items donated by Walmart. Lessons in hope Team members who volunteered in the schools witnessed brokenness, frustration and negativity—and also love, optimism and dedication. It was a reminder that while brokenness exists in all places, including schools, God has been and is at work there. By the end of the week, we were seeing the hope that Hope for Opelousas (HFO) desires to spread. It was being spread by teachers and HFO staff in the school and in the whole community.


Project pride Most fulfilling was seeing the project we worked on reach completion. Throughout the time we worked on the house HFO planned to turn into a tutoring center, it felt like it became our own project. It was cool to be able to say we finished “our” house. It was enjoyable to form relationships with the HFO staff we worked alongside and get to know the kids who’d soon come there for tutoring. Abundant blessing The Hope for Opelousas staff and other community members blessed us tremendously by inviting us into their churches, cooking big meals for us, and praying for and loving us. Their generosity opened our eyes to our own selfishness and taught us that living to serve each other leads to a more abundant life and paints a beautiful picture of God’s love for the world to see.

Grand Marais, MN by Alyson Eversman ’19

Kansas City, MO by Jorgia Weisser ’18

Coldwater Foundation |

Youthfront |

Team members helped Coldwater Foundation staff, including founder Kevin Sutton ’92, prepare for upcoming ministry events and also volunteered at a local food pantry. They interacted with youth and completed projects at Mt. Rose Church, which serves Native Americans living on the Grand Portage Reservation. Northwestern students have served with the Coldwater Foundation for 7 years.

With the help of Youthfront staff member Amber Booth ’04, team members served in the Argentine area of Kansas City. They helped with an afterschool program, worked at a neighborhood farm that provides food for local schools, socialized with seniors at a community center, and helped clean at Youthfront’s summer camp.

Accepting an offering Kevin Sutton’s and Dave Nonnemacher’s [former NWC employee] love for the ministry of Coldwater and the people they serve was inspiring to be part of. They explained to us that a community’s most important asset is the people who live there. It put us in a posture of learning from and serving alongside the people we met. Kevin and Dave made sure we understood the people of Grand Marais had something to offer us, rather than the other way around. Native American learning We learned a lot about and from the tribe that lives on the Grand Portage Reservation. We were inspired by how close they were and how much they trusted one another. Now that we’re back home, we’re committed to sharing their stories and learning even more about Native American history and cultures. Sustainably simple One of the things we came to understand better is how caring for the environment is an important part of caring for the people whose lives and livelihoods depend on it for resources. We came home more aware of living simply—cutting back on our use of electronics and water, for example—as a mission in itself.

Hispanic hospitality Our team was welcomed with open and loving arms by the El Buen Church, a Hispanic congregation. They were excited to host us and took the opportunity to answer our questions and share their perspectives on and experiences with the immigration system in the U.S. Most of us knew very little about the system, and we learned a great deal about the challenges of immigrating to the U.S. Worshipping as one Although many in the church spoke only Spanish and worship was in Spanish, many of us on the SSP team felt a great sense of unity worshiping with the El Buen congregation. Language was a barrier, but we were united by the fact that we were worshipping the same God together Amor es bueno Our team talked a lot about the importance of showing love. We were inspired by the people we met who had an abundance of love for God, for one another, and for us as their guests. We came away feeling the need to love others better and serve both God and others with a more cheerful heart.


Cary, MS by Megan Cleveringa ’18

Lindale, TX by Carlye Sherman ’18

Cary Christian Center |

Calvary Commission |

Cary community members apply to the Cary Christian Center (CCC) for specific help and then negotiate a reasonable financial or in-kind payment for services. As volunteers for the multi-faceted ministry of CCC, Northwestern students worked at the thrift store, sorting and organizing donations, and painted several mobile homes. Student nurses on the team shadowed a doctor at a Cary medical clinic. This is the 8th year an SSP team has served in Cary.

Calvary Commission (CC) is a ranch-like residence and educational center for ex-convicts who are born again and desire to spend time growing closer to God after they are paroled. For the 22nd year, a Northwestern SSP team traveled to Calvary Commission to help with yard work, maintenance and other aspects of the CC ministry. Team members also led a worship service at a Lindale prison.

People over progress We struggled with feeling like we had inadequate supplies and time to serve the ministries and people in Cary. We felt like we should have done more. The experience taught us patience and made us aware of opportunities to invest in relationships when we weren’t working on a project. We also learned to invest in relationship-building while working—to have fun and put people ahead of just getting things done. Immaterial blessings One of the things we reflected on as a team is how blessings are not just material. Just because someone is blessed with material things doesn’t mean they are blessed spiritually, relationally or in other ways. The culture in Cary is so different from what many of us had experienced, and it was amazing to witness God and the Holy Spirit at work there.


Reformed Two Calvary Commission residents who impacted our team are Kathy and Lupe. Kathy’s story was a sad one, but God redeemed her and now she has so much love to give. She was always available to our team, ready to offer a hug, ask about our days, encourage us and thank us for the work we were doing. Lupe cooked all our meals. His story of brokenness and redemption—how he went from being an angry and aggressive man to a gentle and patient man—was incredible. His story encouraged us not to judge people based on their pasts because people can truly change. Convicted We as a team grew very close to one another by being vulnerable and sharing our testimonies. Hearing everyone’s testimony revealed the brokenness we often hide from each other—and also the hope that comes from finding out others have experienced difficulties too. This trip gave us new friends and encouragement for our individual faith journeys. Each of us felt God speaking to us in different ways, and we’re hopeful we’ll continue to draw on the insights we learned.


Justin Baird Cole Cruse Jacobo Garcia-Nieto de la Orden Noah Haverdink Benjamin Hengst Dylan Hengst Wesley Lockwood Jason Rosema Connor Sams Matthew Scott Michael Simmelink* Dan Swier* Todd Tracy Connor Tupper James Warren Samuel Weigand Zane Weigand Braxton Williams Lee Wynja* Josh Zollinger*


Virginia Kjer Anna Niessen Nicole Opgenorth Michelle Palafox Sakisha Smith Tyler Spaans Jaycee Vander Berg Shelby Varilek John Vonder Bruegge*

Joseph Kelly Sean Kleinwolterink Abigail Powell Marcus Rice Meredith Spicher Brody Van Roekel* Cole Verbrugge Sydney Wright

Lukas Steenhoek Anna Stroh Morgan Tilgner Emily Van Gorp Josh Vander Zwaag Casey Vermeer* Jorgia Weisser

Compton, California

Opelousas, Louisiana Kate Arnold Morgan Boroviak* Paige Drenth Darbi Duistermars Blake Foxley* Mica Foxley* Jenna Heemstra Jason Hiebner Zoe Holscher Katie Inge Jacob Johnson* Jennifer Pedrick Emily Starr Jordan Strand Karly Summy Emma Van Meeteren Maria Van Zweden Justine Van Sloten* Cherith Winters Tyler Sterk Misato Yokota

Abebja Bobb-Kelly* Katie Bosch Samuel Callahan Megan Cleveringa Allison Daugherty Kelsey Den Hartog Brian Follett* Madison Godfredsen Karli Hofer Amanda Klyn Blake Miller Blair Montgomery Evan Schuler Madeline Swift Katie Thomson Conner Ubben Devin Vander Werff Jeff VanDerWerff* Jakob VanDerWerff*

Carrie Bouwman Jeffrey Jeltema Luke Lorfeld* Jose Muro Tiffany Pettus Leslie Stover* Levi Te Brink Shelby Van Den Berg Jasi Vasher Brianna Vermeer

Jacksonville, Florida

Anna Blok Molly Cunard Alex Currier Tabitha Frey* Carissa Holt Patrick Hummel* Bethany Muyskens* Shanell Nieuwendorp Caroline Smith Jonathan Wubben

Beth Benschoter* Emily Bokowski Carenda Czirr Zach Ingram Morgan Olhausen* Kailey Richard Stephan Sanford Darby Skillern Samantha Vander Velde Tara Woodward*

The Netherlands

Annville, Kentucky

Kiara Boettger Lucas Fratzke Breanna Harmelink Jessica Howe* Candice Howell Kory McMahan Kyle Ochsner* Jenni Ochsner* Jordan Stone Carissa Tavary Jen Te Grotenhuis* Destiny Wolbrink


Kecia Caudill Josie De Wit Kathy Gabel Sonya Hagberg* Nick Heider*

Amanda Bunce Anita Cirulis* Andrew De Boer* Kirsten Dunia Sarah Heusinkveld Michael McCauley Brody Pickart Lizzy Rice* Danielle Rossell

New Orleans, Louisiana Kathryn Blumer Jessi Carver Mariah Davis Mark DeYounge Keaton Hettver* Marissa Hill* Justin Hullman Jacob Jenness

Lindale, Texas

Grand Marais, Minnesota Samantha Benson Kayli Christensen Hope De Ruyter Clayton Ehlers Kelsey Epp Alyson Eversman Hannah Lindsey* Kevin McMahan* Lynne McMahan*

Kansas City, Missouri McKenna Davenport Cody DeKruyff* Barb Dewald* Reghan Harms Anna Heusinkveld Samantha Kallevig* Hannah Lautner* Aaron Lemon Jessica Mulder Dakota Schnell

Cary, Mississippi

Sarah Allen* Julie Anderson* Celsey Aswegen Kendra Burmester Andy Cooper Mark Dykstra Heidi Groenendyk Ian Hofer Emily Law Emma Meyers Hannah Morgan Courtney Robyn Carlye Sherman Kyle Swart* Cassandra Sybesma Meghan Vermeer* Tanya Vaas* Samantha Vanden Brink Kia Veen Emily Wikner Leah Wright

*Student, staff and alumni team leaders

Campus Ministry 101 7th Street SW Orange City, IA 51041


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Watch the video of this year’s teams at work

2017 Spring Service Projects Report  
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