For just a few hours tomorrow afternoon we’ll have only two SPRINT students outside the United States, marking today as a mid-point in SPRINT’s summer. (For a full list of this summer’s trips, visit the SPRINT webpage).
I know you’re primarily interested in reports from teams’ trips, so I’ll keep this post brief. Quickly, though, I wanted to offer some background information on the SPRINT program and our goals for all of this international travel, learning and service you’ll read about on these pages.
University-sponsored short-term missions at Seattle Pacific University date back to the early 1960s; participants in Operation Outreach, later renamed Seattle Pacific Reachout INTernational, have volunteered in countries around the world for many years. Serving in teams alongside in-country local leadership, the objective of SPRINT trips has always been to provide needed help, a witness to the Gospel and important learning opportunities for college students.
Today SPRINT is advised and supported by SPU’s John Perkins Center for Reconciliation, Leadership Training and Community Development. Perkins Center staff (that’s me) and student leaders partner to recruit, train and send the SPRINT teams you’re reading about this summer.
It’s important for us to connect students with effective, sustainable, community-developing work that promotes long-term transformation rather than the negative, dependency-creating outcomes sometimes associated with short-term missions. To that end, our pre-trip training and host-partner selection focus on a set of values outlined by the Christian Community Development Association, emphasizing local leadership development, empowerment and reconciliation that bridges both social and spiritual gaps. Our hope is that students will learn from effective community engagement models and apply these lessons to their future work, wherever God leads them.
Another key aspect of the SPRINT process is our emphasis on post-trip reflection and application. Neat experiences, great photos and fun stories about new foods do not equal life transformation. However, when students are intentional in reflecting on their experiences, learning take-aways and challenges of the trip they’re more likely to discover God at work throughout the trip experience and beyond.
To encourage the reflection process we’ll send each student a copy of the Global Citizen Journal, published by the Krista Foundation for Global Service as he or she returns home. The journal highlights the importance of incorporating service and mission experiences into one’s life through reflection and application. You might find this sample article interesting: In “Staying for Tea” Aaron Ausland reflects on the importance of long-term commitment and listening to community in order to find one’s place of effectiveness as an outsider coming in.
Thanks again for your support of students as they participate in SPRINT this summer. If you’d like more information on the program, ways to give or ways to be involved, please contact me at (206) 281-2932 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We just wanted to let you all know that we landed safely in Taipei and we are about a 16 hour travel away from the states.
See you all soon!
Aly, Jess, Lucas, Sam and Whit
Hey loved ones!
Despite the lack of communication we have not forgotten about you.
Our time here in Indonesia has been beautiful. The relationships we have created, the places we have seen and the continuous growth with the Lord has been remarkable. We each have had very unique journeys and the glorious thing is, it doesn’t end here.
We have all been changed, in one way or another, and we all have had just a taste of what truly living in another culture looks like. But the thing is we weren’t just living, we were immersed, we were engulfed, we were completely mesmerized by the people and God’s will in this area.
We have been humbled, we have gone through struggles, we have seen triumph, but most of all we have seen the Lord’s love.
As a group we are eager to see the faces of those who have been near and dear to our hearts. We are also eager to take what we have seen, heard, and felt during this experience and apply it into our everyday lives back at home.
Get ready to continue on in this journey with each of us individually, because it’s going to be a good one.
We love you and we’ll see you soon. Make sure to pick us up from the airports!
Quick side note: I just want to say how much of a blessing Aly, Jess, Lucas and Sam have been on this trip. Without them, it wouldn’t be Team Indo. Loved ones, be proud of them, because they have definitely made an impact on various people during this trip, not just mine.
WE are sending our love!
-Aly, Jess, Lucas, Sam and Whit
The team is now in Singapore, staying overnight at the Pillows and Toast hostel. In about 12 hours they’ll fly from Singapore to Taipei, then back to Seattle. The Seattle flight lands at 7:05 pm tomorrow night.
The team’s host emailed to say that the trip was a success. Fun!
We’ll see them soon!
After a month in Indonesia the team will return to the States on July 21. As you prepare to receive them, here are some things I hope you’ll think about to help the team make the most of this trip.
For those of you meeting students at the airport, here’s flight information:
Jessica and Whitney return to Seattle on July 21 at 7:05 pm on EVA Air #26
Aly returns to San Jose on July 22 on Alaska 320, arriving at 9:18 am.
Lucas returns to Denver on on July 22 on Frontier 844, arriving at 12:30pm.
Samuel returns to DC Reagan on July 22 on United 1698 at 11:30 am.
As the group returns, they’ll continue to think through this experience and its implications for their lives. It’s likely that this mental processing will involve at least some of these elements:
· Relief upon returning to familiar surroundings,
· Frustration with aspects of home culture that appear less desirable than the cultural values experienced during the SPRINT experience,
· Sadness and joy over relationships and memories developed during the trip,
· And hopefully, Resolve to incorporate the learning from this trip into daily life as life moves on.
It’s our hope that SPRINT participants will return to “life as usual” with expanded worldviews and a clearer sense of God’s work in their lives. The learning process continues after the trip experience; students will participate in a debriefing gathering in October, and will be encouraged to continue meeting with their SPRINT team to share the story of their host’s work and encourage future generations of SPRINT participants to serve.
I encourage you to give your student time to catch up on sleep, then set aside an extended period of time to share pictures and stories. Don’t expect completely-formed opinions immediately; the reflection process takes time. We remind returning SPRINTers that not everyone will have time to hear the whole story, but that they should find a few people with whom to share the longer, more in-depth account.
I’ve mailed team members some discussion questions and a copy of the Global Citizen Journal, published by the Krista Foundation for Global Citizenship (www.kristafoundation.org), to help them think through their experience as they move forward. If you’ve got time, I’d encourage you to talk though some of these materials with your student.
Thanks for your support of students on this team! Please let me know if you have questions.
The team is headed out for their final island visit. During this outing they’ll spend some time without a translator, although their hosts will be available if needed.
After this island the team will spend a few days at the main base camp to begin debriefing and processing their experiences.
Here’s a note from their host:
They head out today for their last island stay. They will be doing the first 2 nights without a translator and then the last 4 with a translator. The translators will be on the island though for the first 2 days to check in.
Good morning friends!
Here’s an update from the team’s host. They’re doing well; resting between visits to islands.
I’ll keep you updated as we hear more!
I just got back from being with the team. The team has just finished their 2nd island stay. All of them really enjoyed their 4 nights there. The weather brought a lot of rain, but also some cooler weather. Many had some good opportunities to share. There were lots of opportunities to meet people; go deep; pray for people; and just share in life together through playing sports or learning traditional drums.
The team is currently back at basecamp where they will visit one of our staff homes for 3 days to do a work project. They are all doing well and are getting the much needed rest after their last island stay.