For many InterVarsity students, Spring Break means heading off to a week-long urban ministry experience in cities such as St. Louis, New Orleans, Providence, Chicago, and Oakland.
This week for instance, 18 student leaders from Shasta College and Simpson University in Redding, California, are in Oakland for an urban plunge. Their campus staff member, Rachel Kuhn, explained:
Students spend a week in an urban center learning about God’s heart for the urban poor and oppressed, racial reconciliation, justice, and Christian community. Our week in Oakland will combine service, Bible study, simulations, and teachings by servants to the disadvantaged. As students learn to follow Jesus in loving ‘the least of these,’ some may become local activists on their campuses, others might change their major, and still others may decide to pursue a life of promoting Justice for the Kingdom of God.
The University of Rhode Island newspaper published an article on New England InterVarsity students’ trip to New Orleans.
As Christians, we believe that our faith does not allow for us to be complacent,’ said Rhode Island College senior Adam Croft. ‘We believe we are called to action to serve and come face-to-face with the brokenness of the world.
Croft said at the end of each day, the team will have a discussion time to talk about how the day went, what they did and how it affected each of them. This time will also allow students to converse about what they think the Christian faith has to say about each project and also about challenges they might face.
In the daily discussions InterVarsity staff and students offer other team members a glimpse of the gospel that they may not have seen before, as they investigate what the Bible says about justice, compassion, hospitality, and other themes. Afterwards one student wrote a follow-up report,calling it one of the best weeks of her life.
The Tufts Daily also reported on InterVarsity students heading to New Orleans.
[InterVarsity campus staff member Alexandra] Nesbeda, who first traveled to New Orleans as an undergraduate in 2006, applauded InterVarsity's commitment to continuing the rebuilding efforts even after Hurricane Katrina ceased to be breaking news. She estimated that it would take an additional five to 10 years for the city to fully recover.
What I like about this trip is our commitment to go back every year,’ she said. ‘We haven't forgotten New Orleans. We want to finish what we started.
Not all college students are partying during spring break. Many have jobs and other responsibilities. And some are making life-changing discoveries about the Kingdom of God through InterVarsity’s urban plunges.
Mission Network News also carried a story on InterVarsity's spring break urban plunges.
Photo: Marquette University students at Providence, Rhode Island, urban plunge.