June 23, 2024

For many California Baptist University students, spring break is an opportunity to return home and relax. For the five United States Project teams, it was an opportunity to serve in various locations across the country.

From March 10-20, five of the USP teams set out on their journeys to minister across the country.

Each of the teams faced its fair share of obstacles as well as victories. Below is a list of the teams and information about the missions.

Their destinations included areas such as New York City, NY; Nome, AK and Baltimore, MD. Though each location was different, there was much to do.

The Alaska Teams were divided into two groups and worked alongside each other throughout the entire ministry project.

One Alaska team featured team leader Director of Student Employment and Career Services Kushi Jones and students Nichelle Banasiak, Benjamin Esau, Brandon Fawson, Melissa Garcia, Trevor Jones, Olivia Martin, Rachel Wright and Brenna Young.

The second Alaska team featured Chapel Graduate Assistant Adam Cook and students Ryan Corbin, Summer Flores, Katheryn Hoover, Amanda Johnson, Natalee Kolenski, Hannah Minton, Amy Nugent and Joshua Pittman.

The teams experienced a rocky start. Both teams missed their first flight out of the state and lost a lot of sleep in the process. The teams eventually reached their final destination, despite the obstacles. They served by volunteering at the famous Iditarod Dogsled Race. In addition, students served at the Avalanche State Youth conference in Anchorage.

One newer ministry opportunity in Nome included “Bible in a Bucket”. This is an event where students had the opportunity to pass out buckets to citizens of rural areas. These buckets had scriptures written on the outside of them. This helped the citizens of these areas because supplies like buckets are hard to find.

“Our field workers have a ton of ministries,” Adam Cook, team leader, said. “’Bible in a Bucket’ was one of them. Buckets are extremely useful. Giving them out for free is a huge opportunity. We had some great conversations with people about why we were doing it.”

Another region that featured two different teams was Baltimore. Both of these teams were composed of all female membership.

One of the Baltimore teams featured the leadership of Financial Aid counselor Debra Coppers, Graduate Assistant Lauren Jarboe and students Alison Collins, Melissa Greenwalt and Bethany Lawler.

The other Baltimore team featured the leadership of Assistant Director of Enrollment Advising Julie Jones and students Chanel Davis, Catherine Knuppe, Aubrey Linder, Lorelyn Lucas, Kristina Osborne, Katelyn Schwab and Rochelle Zieman.

Both of these teams partnered with Gallery Church in Baltimore. These teams served throughout the city in a variety of service projects.

Tasks included cleaning and setting up the church for the weekend services with Safe House of Hope. Teams also conducted prayer-walks throughout the streets of the city. The members grew spiritually through the acts of ministering in these areas.

“The whole approach was to meet people where they are at,” Lauren Jarboe, co-leader said. “The ministry mission is to love them and provide them with a hot meal.”

Though the trip was task oriented, many students on the teams saw it as relationship-based as well as task-based as they had the opportunity to talk with those in the city.

“It is about living a Gospel-driven life,” Jarboe said.

The New York team led by Assistant Professor of Graphic Design Michael Berger showcased a focus on Graphic Design and Digital Media in ministry. This team involved students Jacob Armstrong, Megan Bejar, Alyssa Curtis, Stephanie Hallman, Caleb Hill, Dilara Karabas, Jonathan Nyquist and Stacey Schoellerman.

This team ministered to the Bay Ridge area of Brooklyn. Partnering with the Gallery Church, they helped to design a website and logos for a local church plant.

While serving, the team created web and logo ideas for a local church plant called Cornerstone Church. As a graphic design team, each member worked effectively on different areas of design. The team also served the community by distributing lunches to those in need.

“We empowered the church to be more effective in his outreach,” Jon Nyquist, New York team member, said. “God used us in a way that utilized our talents. It was encouraging.”

All five of the teams returned on Sunday, the day before school began.

Through the course of USP’s spring break projects, the teams saw great examples of serving pushed throughout the ministry outreaches. Team leaders and students were greatly encouraged to take more action and serve not only on their ministry project, but after they returned home.

“I was so encouraged and blessed by the teams,” Cook said. “They sacrificed their sleep and comfort to serve.”

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