By Kristine Whitnable

Building the Kingdom of God, Not Sand Castles

Instead of basking in the sun on an ocean beach, hundreds of InterVarsity students spent their spring break in the service of others, across the nation and around the world. InterVarsity students from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill went to help immigrants on London’s west side. Students from Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago ministered to people in that city. University students from Louisville Kentucky traveled to St. Louis and South Carolina to build houses and share the gospel. Other InterVarsity students made their way to the poorest neighborhoods of Cleveland, Milwaukee, Detroit and Boston to partner with local Christians, sharing the Gospel and their lives.

One such trip started on Saturday March 15th, as six students from University of Wisconsin-Madison were joined by five students from University of Wisconsin- Platteville for a trip to Tepic, a town of 800,000 nestled in the coastal mountains of western Mexico. They met with Andy, an InterVarsity alumni who now has a ministry among the people there. The students were ready for a week of hard work and new experiences in the service of others.

Sunday morning they jumped into the local culture by attending church. The service was longer than they were accustomed to. It included spontaneous congregational prayer, an invitation to ask for healing, and testimony time, as well as the expected singing and preaching. And, all in a foreign language. But even without full linguistic understanding, the Spirit of God spoke to the students. One student, Annie, experienced God’s call on her life and became a Christian.

Over the next couple of days the group helped repair some hurricane damage, spent some time on the beach, and participated in outreach projects. One evening they gave a program for the children of a local village. Several students, including Annie, the new Christian, gave their testimonies.

Thursday and Friday were spent at an orphanage in Tepic, where they poured a concrete roof and spent time with the children. The roof was quite a project. They measured and cut the steel reinforcing bars, (with only one tape measure and one hack saw), mixing and laying thirty bags of concrete. And then, being young college students, they had energy left to play with the children in the afternoon.

After a week of ministry, the group returned to Madison, tired and changed. These Spring Break ministries generally have two goals: to bless others and to receive blessings from others. These goals were met during this trip to Mexico. Buildings were built, the gospel was preached, and the Spirit of God touched lives.

Such results were multiplied many times over in Milwaukee, Great Britain, and Los Angeles as InterVarsity students gave of their time and energy during Spring Break 2003 to serve the Lord and others.