Ministry — More than 50 GFU students spend their break helping others in five different cross-cultural settings

At George Fox University, spring break is very much a time to serve.

Renewing a strong school tradition, more than 50 students joined employee leaders spending this week serving others as part of the university’s annual Spring Serve program.

Beginning on Monday, students traveled to Yakima, Seattle and Neah Bay, Wash., as well as San Francisco, Calif., to work on weeklong service projects in various cross-cultural settings.

One team is serving at The Flying H Ranch, located 30 miles west of Yakima. The ranch ministers to at-risk youth. The George Fox group is performing physical labor as well as spending some time with the boys in worship, devotions, meals, games and conversation.

Urban Impact in Seattle is hosting another team, focusing on building relationships and serving in the community through the local church. Students have undertaken a variety of work projects which include tutoring, service projects, administrative work and cleaning.

Some Spring Serve participants are visiting ReImagine, a center for integrating Christian practice in San Francisco. Their week consists of guided prayer tours, trash pickup, serv­ing meals to people living on the streets, learning about local issues such as human trafficking and poverty, as well as spending time in group and individual spiritual reflection.

Working on beach cleanup and assisting the elderly at the Makah Indian Reservation Neah Bay, Wash., is the mission of one George Fox group. Time is also being taken to learn about the culture and history of the Makah tribe and build relationships as volunteers work in the local community.

Lastly, another mission group is partnering with Mending Wings, a nonprofit Native American youth organization located on the Yakama Reservation in Washington. Students have joined the reservation community to build trust and friendship while serving alongside them painting homes, cleaning yards of garbage and debris, chopping wood for elders, mowing, weeding gardens, working at a homeless shelter, doing light construction projects, and perhaps working at one of their local powwows.

Participating students are selected through an application process. They pay part of the costs of their trips, which are subsidized by the student government. Each of the trips has a faculty, staff, or alumni leader, assisted by two undergraduate student leaders.

Spring Serve is part of the university’s commitment to Christian service, which also includes an annual day of service, for which the university closes; community service projects that reach out to the Newberg and surrounding communities; and an urban services program that sends students to Portland and Salem to build relationships with the homeless.

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