As spring break draws closer, most Belmont students have already started looking forward to their time away from school, most of which will be spent relaxing or vacationing.
Sophomore Taylor Brown is not one of those students.
During spring break, Brown will be joining University Ministries on one of the several “Immersion” trips it’s offering at a reduced cost this year.
“I was deciding between going to Miami with some friends or going to Los Angeles to serve,” Brown said. “For me, I just remembered how I was so re-energized by the trip I took with University Ministries to Birmingham in the fall. I just wanted to have that opportunity to serve again.”
University Ministries was able to drastically reduce the cost of its trips, and the number of student sign-ups has soared as a result.
The reduced costs were great steps toward getting more students involved in serving, said Micah Weedman, the director of outreach for University Ministries.
“There are a number of folks who are interested in expanding the number of students who participate in our mission trips, so there have been many gifts given to the university with the intent of helping subsidize the cost of trips to make them more affordable,” Weedman said. “Before we lowered the price, there was a lot of interest in the trips but little commitment. Now that we’ve lowered costs, we’ve almost filled every spot on all our trips.”
The trips provide great opportunities for Belmont students to grow, Weedman said.
“I think what these trips present are opportunities to really experience a part of the country or a part of the world that most students are probably never going to get to see,” Weedman said. “I think any kind of travel experience during college affords a student that opportunity to re-evaluate who they are, where they come from and what it means to find themselves in the midst of a new place.”
Students going on the trips will help serve a variety of organizations and communities — from urban homeless populations to refugees, immigrants and the rural poor.
A large focus of the trips is finding God in each of these places, Weedman said.
“For a lot of mission trips, the mentality that people have is, ‘I need to pack Jesus up in my suitcase and bring him with me and give him to the people,’” Weedman said. “What our students come to find out is that God has already been in these places for a long time, and it’s really our job to open our eyes and see what God is doing there.”
Brown, who will serve in a student leadership position on his trip to Los Angeles, is most looking forward to seeing God’s work on his trip.
“Something happens every time we go and serve someone else, and so I think I’m just looking forward to seeing what God is doing,” Brown said. “Just seeing how God continues to challenge me and grow in me and seeing how He works in other students that we go with — that’s what I want to see the most.”
To learn more about University Ministries’ “Immersion” trips, click here.
Photo courtesy of University Ministries.