Rachel Mulder – Staff Writer
AMOR teams returned safely back to Dordt before the start of the new semester on Tuesday, January 14 after traveling to Ethiopia, Jamaica, Haiti, Tanzania and Liberia to do mission work.
“We had very few traveling glitches,” said communications professor, Bruce Kuiper, who went as a leader to Jamaica. “We interacted with a lot of people in different areas of Jamaica, we contributed to the work of the orphanage, we had no major injuries, and we experienced God’s world in new way. A great trip by all standards.”
The Ethiopia team worked with the organization Ethiopia Reads, which focuses on literacy in education, specifically for kids who are three to five years old.
“We spent Monday with two schools doing art work and just coloring and interacting with the kids. It was a great experience and God really opened my eyes to the amazing work He is doing in Ethiopia,” sophomore Lindsey Pierson.
In Jamaica, the team worked with Caribbean Lifetime Missions and spent much of their time building relationships with the Jamaican people. They visited two orphanages, a hospital and infirmary, and also led VBS.
“This meant we didn’t necessarily have as much to ‘show’ for our time, but it also meant we had many more opportunities to interact with people and get a glimpse of how our Jamaican brothers and sisters live,” said Kuiper. “By visiting orphanages, hospitals, churches, and other institutions, we saw firsthand the needs of Jamaica as well as the faithful service of those who worked there. The trip was a blessing in many ways, and I think we all had renewed vision for our own service in the world.”
The team in Haiti worked with the orphanage and clinic at Children of the Promise (CotP) and led Vacation Bible School, helped with physical therapy for special needs orphans, and did a variety of construction and clean-up work around the organization’s campus.
“We also spent time reflecting, walking through rural villages, giving blood at the local hospital, leading musical worship for the CotP community, enjoying a Haitian food, playing soccer with youth of the local village, and spending quality time getting to know our hosts. God’s faithfulness was ever present and apparent on our trip,” said biology professor Robbin Eppinga.
Those who went to Tanzania worked with Siouxland Tanzania Educational Medical Ministries (STEMM) and helped with the orphanage, painted, and filmed some interviews and at hospitals, schools, people’s homes, and a worship service.
“Our group left home as team members and came back as friends. We were all able to do something that was in our fields of interest. To be exposed to such a different way of life was a real eye opener to all the things we take for granted. It was a great experience we won’t soon forget,” said Vern Eekhoff, Tanzania leader.
The Liberia team, despite hectic travel issues, made it to the organization One Body One Hope and were able to accomplish most of the things they were hoping to.
“We helped teach at the school, built a swing set, and saw the work that God is doing over in Liberia. The church, Abide in the Vine Disciple Church, was very welcoming and pleased we could be there to see what was going on. God’s work was visible there,” said junior Austin Lindemulder.
A large goal for short-term mission trips is to build relationships with the people in those places and communities. Many students and leaders found that to be true.
“We had things we wanted to accomplish but we had the attitude that these things would get done on God’s time. Our main focus was to build relationships and learn about God from Liberians and the Liberian culture,” said senior John Van Weelden.
Many groups came back feeling more blessed than they could have imagined.
“The organization was so thankful that we spent our time and energy helping them develop their organization to better serve the people in Ethiopia. We went there for a service project, but I think they served us better than we did them,” said Pierson.
These trips were a blessing to all who participated and everyone came back with new friendships and memories that will last a lifetime.