DBU Students Serve Over Spring BreakWritten by Madison Gould and Cooper McCullough
- Published: April 02, 2018
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Each Spring Break, DBU sends out teams of students to serve both locally and nationally and return with stories of lives that were impacted. Two such stories are featured below from the eyes of senior Madison Gould and Junior Cooper McCullough.
Habitat for Humanity | Madison Gould
This Spring Break, a group of 12 students, including myself, had the opportunity to serve alongside some of the full-time staff in Melbourne, Florida. From Monday through Thursday, we completed a number of projects from organizing their ReStore, a shop that resells donated furniture and housewares at a discounted price, to manual labor on a few houses of future Habitat homeowners. Our team worked hard to shingle an entire roof, install kitchen cabinets and electrical wires, and paint some of the interior.
Over the course of these four days, we developed great relationships with the construction staff and other volunteers, who were primarily current or future Habitat homeowners. The men in charge of this work site were some of the most patient, caring teachers I have ever encountered. All five of them were quick to encourage and challenges us to accomplish more than we thought we could. Never once did we feel like a burden or an inconvenience. Even when we made a mistake, the response usually went something along the lines of, “Well that’s alright! We can fix it no problem. Thank you for being honest about your mistake!” The site manager especially had plenty of wisdom and life experience to offer, and we all loved listening to his stories. Throughout the week, different churches volunteered to provide lunch for us, which was such a blessing! Seeing people will different gifts and resources come together for one goal made the week so meaningful.
We also had the privilege of meeting some individuals going through the Habitat for Humanity program. One woman arrived on the job site during lunch to check on her house that we were working on. It was encouraging to hear her gratitude for our efforts and about the community she hopes to foster in her new home. She told us how her daughters and her Girl Scout den will benefit greatly from this house! Two other women joined us for dinner one night with their children. Their testimonies about how Habitat for Humanity has changed their lives and allowed them to get on their feet were inspiring. The street on which most of these houses are located are occupied by caring and invested homeowners. They demonstrate love and community by helping build one another’s homes in their free time. It is evident that Habitat has given these individuals something to own and work hard toward. It was an honor to get to pray over them and their future homes. Their dedication and kindness provided a lot of drive for me to keep working through the sunburn and bruises!
During the evenings, the team had ample opportunity to bond over games, grilling and s’mores! We laughed and reflected on the week’s work and people. On our last day in town, we drove to Cocoa Beach and spent the day playing volleyball, spike ball and enjoying the Florida weather. I think I can speak for all of us when I say it was a restful end to a challenging week. Our group ranged from DBU freshmen to DBU graduates with all different majors. It was a good experience getting to know other students from DBU who I would not have known otherwise. I definitely ended the week with some new friends!
If anyone is considering going on the next Habitat for Humanity trip DBU hosts, I would highly recommend it! It is a trip that challenges you to step outside your comfort zone, meet new people, and positively influence the lives of others.
Beach Reach | Cooper McCullough
For the second year in a row, I was blessed to be able to attend a mission trip to South Padre called Beach Reach over Spring Break. This year, the Lord taught me something completely different from what I learned last year. Beach Reach 2017 was focused on being faithful in whatever setting I was placed. Whether sharing the Gospel, praying in the prayer room, or directing traffic, my prayer was that God would use me to glorify Him above all else.
Going into the trip this year I felt as though I knew what to expect, and I knew that God would provide while I was on the trip. I was able to go in more confidently than last year because I had seen His faithfulness, and I knew that He could do it again. The Lord is faithful, but this year, God taught me more about His grace, even within a place of such concentrated sin. He particularly displayed His grace through a guy I got to talk with named Ross.
On the last night of the trip, I was feeling pretty tired, and as we were getting ready for our last assignment, I was praying that it would be a small group so that I would not have to engage, since I was exhausted. Come to find out, the assignment was a group of fifteen guys that was split between two separate vans. I started praying that the Lord would provide energy instantly. As the seven young men entered our van, I engaged them with an energy that undoubtedly came from the Lord. I quickly realized Ross was their ring leader, so I began to converse with him. I eventually asked him if he had a faith and told me he wanted to go to church more. I pressed in and ask why, and his response was surprisingly raw, “I just feel an emptiness in my heart.”
How incredible is it that we can choose to serve a God who has placed a longing for Him deep within our spirit? I responded with a question, “Is that why you came to Padre?” He seemed taken aback by this question, but I was able to speak in love and say that there is no hope to be found in partying, girls, or anything else this world seems to offer. I was honestly encouraged by the fact that God placed an emptiness within Ross. God is so gracious to prevent sin from filling that void within each of us. It is so cool to know that no matter how far we run into the world; we will never be satisfied apart from God.
Through this Spring Break I was able to see the grace of God in a new way like never before. I would encourage everyone to go on Beach Reach at least once within their DBU career. It is an eye-opening trip unlike anything I have ever done before.