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Dordt College News

AMOR mission trips open studentsí eyes to global poverty

January 18, 2012

“God opened our eyes to children in need of God’s love,” said Dordt College junior Kelli Durant of her recent mission trip to Bamboo, Jamaica.

Sixteen Dordt College students spent their Christmas break on AMOR (A Mission OutReach) mission trips to Jamaica and Nicaragua, helping in a variety of ways while sharing Christian love with those they encountered.

Durant and the other 13 Dordt College volunteers in Jamaica were surprised by the difficult living conditions they saw. “The people in Bamboo are very friendly, and since Jamaica is 60 percent unemployed, everyone seems to just hang out on Main Street and watch people and vehicles pass by,” Durant said.

The team worked in an infirmary and two orphanages (one for special needs children), and they hosted a New Year’s Jamboree and Vacation Bible School.

For Dordt College senior Emily Christians, working with the children was a blessing. “The kids really wanted to be held and loved. One girl I spent time with asked if we would be back because she wasn’t sure when she would be held again. Many of the kids just wanted to feel special so we tried to give them as much attention as possible.”

Because of generous financial gifts from supporting churches and individuals, the team was able to give much-needed items to the people of Bamboo, orphanages, children’s hospitals, and Caribbean Lifetime Missions. Items included hygiene items, clothing, peanut butter, medicine, a new refrigerator, a washing machine, and bathroom appliances. They were even able to give Christmas presents to 700 children.

The two Dordt students who visited Nicaragua were involved with Farmer to Farmer, a program that has provided Nicaraguan farmers with land to cultivate. The farmers work to pay back their loans so they can own the land. Volunteers worked on the farms and learned from the farmers their process of making packaged coffee.

“This AMOR trip was my first experience in a third-world country. There are many cultural differences between Nicaragua and North America,” said Dordt College senior Kurt Franje. “This trip allowed me to see the beauty of all God’s people and how we can help each other across the nations.”

The group also found time during their trip to ride the zipline boat on Lake Nicaragua and visit the Nehemiah Center, a community of service and learning that trains lay and pastoral leaders in an integral, biblical worldview and encourages local, national, and international collaboration for a Christ-centered, transformational development of communities and nations.

“I think students are going on trips like AMOR and are getting a bit of a fire lit within them. They kind of catch the bug. Students who get into serving others now usually stick with it throughout their lives,” said Campus Pastor Aaron Baart. He hopes that these short but meaningful experiences will inspire students to make service part of their daily pattern of living.

Dordt College was recently named an honor roll member by the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, which recognizes institutions of higher education that promote community service and show meaningful results in their communities.

AMOR participants who went to Jamaica include Rebekah Ahrenholz (Orange City, Iowa), Emily Christians (Sioux Center, Iowa), Sarah De Jong (Sheldon, Iowa), Krista De Vries (Orange City, Iowa), Kelli Durant (Waupun, Wisc.), Jaleesa Dyk (New Era, Mich.), Nathan Friend (Sioux Center, Iowa), Lindsay Hannink (Modesto, Calif.), Marissa Harkema (Hudsonville, Mich.), Emily Hoogland (Sioux Center, Iowa), Nicole Scholten (Inwood, Iowa), Allison Vellema (Harris, Iowa), Larissa Vis (Smithers, British Columbia), and Anna Visser (Ingersoll, Ontario). Participants who went to Nicaragua include Kurt Franje (New Sharon, Iowa), and Kristin Scholten (Inwood, Iowa).

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