Dordt College News

Students spend winter break on mission projects

January 24, 2014

Year after year, students return from their mission projects amazed that the work they do to bless others is an equal blessing to them.

During Dordt College’s winter break, 44 students and eight staff and faculty members traveled overseas with AMOR (A Mission OutReach) mission projects. AMOR is part of the college’s growing commitment to joining scholarship and service. For the first time, the college paired AMOR with a campus-wide semester project called AGILE, Approaching Global issues through Interdisciplinary Learning Experiences. During the first semester students participated in AGILE through their coursework, working to uncover the specific causes of and solutions to the global problem of high child and infant mortality rates.

Throughout the process, students worked with global nonprofit organizations and their work continued with five organizations during AMOR: Caribbean Lifetime Missions in Jamaica, Children of Promise in Haiti, Ethiopia Reads in Ethiopia, One Body One Hope in Liberia, and World Renew in Tanzania.

Here are some of the highlights from each group:

Jamaica (Caribbean Lifetime Missions)
Because of the Jamaicans’ laid back nature, students found themselves “forced to take everything in stride and focus more on relationships with people instead of just on the things we were doing for them,” said sophomore Nicole Postman. “The trip also helped me look harder for what God was trying to show me and allow him to take control instead of me always having a plan.”

Much of their mission work centered on visiting orphans, the sick or disabled, and the elderly. The group also helped to patch up roads, dug a trench for a sewer line, painted, and built a fire pit. They were able to spend a day snorkeling at the beach.

Students: Courtney Koopsen (Portage, Michigan), Kyle Vander Zee (South Holland, Illinois), Nicole Postma (Nobleford, Alberta, Canada), Rachel Mulder (Blaine, Minnesota), Maria Van Wolde (Holland, Michigan), Lauren Eekhoff (Hull, Iowa), and Kim De Vries (DeMotte, Indiana). Chaperone: Bruce Kuiper (Dordt College communication professor).

Liberia (One Body One Hope)
The students who traveled to Liberia spent their time working in an orphanage and visiting church plants and farms. They also taught classes and built a swing set. Everyone on the team was amazed by the joy they witnessed in the churches, especially seeing and hearing how much the people loved and trusted in God for everything.

“This trip challenged me to think a lot more about what it means to alleviate poverty while still maintaining the integrity of the culture,” said junior Katie Nucaro who said she learned even more in Liberia than she was able to teach.

Students: Lynelle De Bruin (Oskaloosa, Iowa), John Van Weelden (Brookfield, Wisconsin), Nicholas Van Peursem (Sioux Falls, South Dakota), Austin Lindemulder (Lansing, Illinois), Regan Lundberg (Richvale, California), Jenna Zevenbergen (Sioux Center, Iowa), Rebecca Steiger (Lynden, Washington), and Katherine Nucaro (Urbandale, Iowa). Chaperones: Ron Vos (Dordt College agriculture professor), Brian (Dordt College business professor) and Deanne Hoekstra.

Haiti (Children of the Promise)
The Haiti team led and participated in daily vacation Bible school, did physical therapy with special needs orphans, painted, repaired windows, and installed ceiling fans and electrical wiring. Each student was able to shadow and help the employees of the orphanage in ways that most closely aligned with their major. Dordt College nursing student, Katie Heynen, was able to use skills acquired as a nursing student to fit a feeding tube in a special-needs child, and she cared for an individual who passed out.

One student summed up the experience in a poem that examines the differences between the beach communities of Florida with that of Haiti. Of Florida: “Tourists come to relax and soak up some sun/Hoping their vacations will never have to be done.” Of Haiti: “Tourists usually come to help those in need/To see a new culture and complete a good deed.”

Students: Crystal Elenbaas (Helena, Montana), Breanne Heidema (Manhattan, Montana), Kathryn Heynen (Sheldon, Iowa), Mark Tiemersma (South Holland, Illinois), Jessica De Groot (Prinsburg, Minnesota), Andrea Ver Meer (Davenport, Iowa), Elizabeth Boender (Sioux Center, Iowa), Rachel Meinen (Oostburg, Wisconsin), and Nathaniel TenBroeke (Sheboygan, Wisconsin). Chaperones: Robbin (professor of biology) and Sara Eppinga.

Tanzania (World Renew)
This group spent their time filming interviews, villages, and the people of Tanzania with Dordt College digital media production professor Mark Volkers. On their first day, they were given permission to film a surgical procedure in an operating room. One of the surgeons from STEMM (Siouxland Tanzania Educational Medical Ministries) even agreed to have a camera mounted on his head during the procedure!

Highlights were going on a safari experience and having an apple stolen from a lunchbox by a monkey.

For student Jordan Shaffer, the trip was an eye-opening experience that revealed Tanzania’s lack of medical assistance. “While touring several government hospitals, we heard many stories of people whose lives are permanently changed because they can’t afford simple procedures like fixing a broken leg. Some will lie in a hospital bed without treatment until they ‘heal.’ They will spend their rest of their lives on crutches.”

Students: Brett Rozenboom (Sioux Falls, South Dakota), Mark Mouw (Rock Valley, Iowa), Winnie Obiero (Ukwala Nyanza, Kenya), Devin Lindemulder (Lansing, Michigan), Lauren Kleyer (Sioux Center, Iowa), Shelby Herrema (Highlands Ranch, Colorado), Jordan Shaffer (Omaha, Nebraska), Kaylie Ogle (Clovis, California), and Drew Johnson (Highland, Indiana). Chaperones: Mark Volkers (professor of digital media production) and Vern Eekhoff (maintenance personnel).

Ethiopia (Ethiopia Reads)
Students discovered that Ethiopia is a unique and diverse landscape full of lush green spaces that quickly turn into deserts. They were told that many hyenas use the place where they were staying as a play area.

Despite language barriers, Dordt students were able to lead art projects and teach about the color wheel to kids ages three through five in the Ethiopia Reads organization.

Students: Hanna Marra (Blaine, Minnesota), Kristi Palsma (Orange City, Iowa), Aubrey Pasker (Runnells, Iowa), Leanna Bentz (Platte, South Dakota), Lindsey Pierson (Pella, Iowa), Amber Hoekstra (Alton, Iowa), and Austin Van Staalduinen (Pantego, North Carolina). Chaperones: Darren (professor of chemistry) and Sarah Stoub.

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