For decades, hundreds of Freed-Hardeman University students have spent their spring break doing good and spreading the Gospel of Jesus. After a hiatus caused by COVID 19, that tradition is returning as a part of campus life.
Prior to the pandemic, nearly 300 students participated in campaigns during each academic year, Dr. Kevin Moore, director of mission studies, said. In 2020, all campaigns from FHU were canceled. “We are gradually recovering,” he said. Last year, students participated in one foreign and 11 stateside campaigns with 134 persons affiliated with FHU participating. “So far this year, FHU students, faculty and staff have made disaster relief trips to Louisiana, Tennessee and Kentucky,” Moore said. During the most recent spring break, FHU campaigners made four stateside and two overseas trips with 115 participants. “Other efforts were canceled because of ongoing COVID restrictions and concerns about the war in Ukraine,” he said.
Spring break 2022 included a trip by 18 Xi Chi Delta Social Club members to Bayou La Batre, Ala., where they led worship service, helped with various service projects, assisted in teaching and caring for the many children for whom the church provides care, worked in a leadership camp and taught people of all ages.
Twenty-seven members of Chi Beta Chi Social Club went to Costa Rica to knock on doors, conduct a VBS and help with work at a church camp. Lydia Todd, one of the student coordinators for the trip, said, “We all learned and gained so much from this campaign experience. Even now, the congregation and translators from Sarchí still talk with us every day, and they have sent us pictures of visitors who are attending their worship as a result of the campaign.” The group worked with 244 children from the schools, conducted 45 Bible studies and collected contact information for an additional 73 persons who are interested in a Bible study.
Thirty others associated with Chi Beta Chi worked with the church in Keizer, Ore., and surrounding congregations to host a youth rally. They also provided manual labor for congregations without the resources to do the work themselves. In addition to the work serving others, students learned about the mission field in the Pacific Northwest.
Junior and senior nursing majors, led by two members of the nursing faculty, Dr. Sarah Pierce and Linda Hodges, went to Santa Ana, Honduras. The group of 31 also included non-nursing majors and four alumni. Working with TORCH Missions, they provided medical care to approximately 600 individuals and helped to build two houses. In addition, they packed 100 food bags, distributed 100 water filters, handed out masks at the hospital, repaired a basketball court at a school for the deaf and built a playground at an elementary school.
Dr. Doug Burleson, Bible professor, led two groups to help with disaster relief in western Kentucky, an area hit hard by recent tornadoes. Workers included students and members of the Estes Church of Christ.