Rachel Mulder – Staff Writer
Once again, the PLIA teams returned from spring break with a variety of experiences, stories, new friends and memories that will never be forgotten.
The trips ranged in length from six hours to twenty hours, but the van rides never cease to be full of laughter, sleep and team bonding experiences.
One neat thing about PLIA is that each team has a sister site and is encouraged to write notes to their sister site and, if they choose, provide them with small games or toys to use throughout their trip.
Senior Amanda Oliver went to Neon, Ky., and served with Homes, an organization that strives to help people with low income housing. Her team did some light construction and demolition, clean-up work and also took out a few trees.
Oliver enjoyed her experience and would definitely go again, but she will be graduating in May.
Senior Andrew De Haan led a team to Roseland, Ill., a suburb of Chicago. They worked with Roseland Christian Ministries. His team spent a lot of their time with a local youth group and built a great relationship with the youth pastor, Harold. Their team continues to pray for the work Harold is doing with the youth in the Roseland community.
De Haan’s team got along very well and enjoyed playing card games and Apples to Apples together in the evenings.
“Relationships made on PLIA have a special something to them that bonds goers in a different way than is normal. It’s a good sort of different,” said De Haan.
Freshman Kevin Steiger journeyed to Colorado City, Ariz., and was able to worship God by singing hymns at the house of a polygamist Mormon family.
“I would definitely go [on PLIA] again because of the experiences serving God and meeting and growing closer to people on my team,” said Steiger.
Camden, N.J., is where sophomore Eric Geels was able to go on PLIA this year; his team worked with Urban Promise. They did clean-up work at the organization and worked at an afterschool program at a local school.
This was Geels’ third time working with Urban Promise in Camden. His first experience with Urban Promise was on PLIA last year. Then, he felt called to spend his summer there. He will also be spending this coming summer there.
After a blessed week in New Orleans, senior Nate Ten Broeke’s team made a stop at the arch in St. Louis, where their van got broken into. A few backpacks with computers and wallets in them were stolen.
Despite these losses, Ten Broeke says there is still so much to be thankful for and he hopes that for his teammates, those events don’t overshadow all the amazing experiences they had during the week.
“My personal prayer is that God will use even that event for good in His rich mercy, and especially that He would use the Bibles in many of the backpacks to bless those responsible and lead them to Him. That would be far more wonderful and of far greater value than all that was taken combined!” said Ten Broeke.
God can use any situation to bring people to him. Each trip taken with PLIA never fails to be an amazing experience, even if there are some unexpected events along the way.