Northwestern College will send 13 student teams on field trips to seven states, Bahrain, Costa Rica and Mexico during spring break. More than 150 participants will travel for this year’s annual Spring Service Partnerships, scheduled for March 4-13.
“For decades, Northwestern has provided a wide variety of short-term mission experiences,” says Patrick Hummel, the college’s director of missions. “NWC Spring Service Partnerships are led by faculty and staff, provide extensive pre-trip training, and play an important role in the spiritual growth and development of our students.”
This year’s SSP trips include three new international mission partners. The first is Al Raja School in Manama, Bahrain, where Northwestern team members will assist teachers with class assignments, work one-on-one with students, and plan an after-school activity. They will also interact with Muslims and Christians living in Bahrain.
A second new mission partner is World Team in Costa Rica. Led by a Northwestern alumnus and World Team missionary, this SSP is a highly relational trip where Northwestern students will work with groups of Costa Rican youth.
Two SSP teams will travel to Mexico. One will return to Croc on the outskirts of Monterrey where students will serve local youth in an after-school program run by Youthfront. The other will join Mazatlán Ministries, a new partner ministry in Baja California Sur. There students will serve alongside the local church, providing children’s activities, holiday Bible school and sports clinics, as well as organizing work projects that suit the skills and talents of the team.
Teams in the continental US are partnering with ministries in locations ranging from the West Coast to the South and from Minnesota to Texas.
In California, Northwestern students will join the City Church of Compton to work with an after-school program, engage in beautification projects, and participate in outreach programs. Additional teams with an urban ministry focus will head to Denver, Colorado, and Kansas City, Kansas. The Denver team will work with Mile High Ministries, serving homeless and socially marginalized individuals, while the Kansas City students will partner with Youthfront and a Hispanic congregation to support after-school programs, a neighborhood farm, a community center for seniors, and preparedness for a summer camp.
Two SSP teams will serve and learn about Native American communities. Those going to the Grand Portage Indian Reservation in Minnesota will spend time with a youth group from the local church. They will also work in a wilderness camp run by the Coldwater Foundation, a faith and leadership development organization. Another team will travel to the Mescalero Apache Reservation in New Mexico, where they will do manual labor and participate in Mescalero Reformed Church’s youth and children’s programs.
In Texas, Northwestern students will serve with the Calvary Commission, an educational and residential center for ex-convicts. Two more SSP teams are heading to Louisiana. One will manage after-school programs, youth sports camps and beautification projects in New Orleans with Urban Impact; the other will do building, mentoring, community cleanup, and relationship ministry in partnership with Hope for Opelousas.
The latest SSP team will work with World Renew, the development, disaster response, and justice arm of the Christian Reformed Church, which is sending Northwestern students to Sulfur, Louisiana, to help with hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods.
SSP team members raise their own travel funds through their individual families, friends and churches, and through campus and community fundraisers.
Northwestern College’s short-term mission programs carry the Standards of Excellence in Short-Term Mission seal, ensuring that participating organizations obtain high-quality teams. SOE standards include adequate pre-trip training and resources, as well as ongoing post-trip follow-up and accountability.