The Voice: Summer 2002

The Voice

Have workers. Will travel.
Track team carries on tradition of service during Spring Break tour

By Ross Goheen
Assistant Track Coach

Melanie Markus, Matt Ruter, Stephen Petersen, and the rest of the track team helped Wycliffe employees move their offices in record timeThey descended on us like ants. Everybody around here is still talking about it. We had four big trailers for them to fill, but we soon realized that wasn’t enough so we sent some of them to the other end to unload the trailers so they could fill them up again. They ended up filling up eleven trailers.” So said Jack Clifford from Wycliffe Bible Translators USA Headquarters in Orlando, Florida.

The “ants” were Coach Syne Altena’s men’s and women’s track teams. They had traveled from Sioux Center by bus for some spring training, some early outdoor college competition, and, as usual, their service project. The service project this year was to help Wycliffe move their offices into their newly- built permanent location.

“It was a God-send,” said Clifford, who was the coordinator for the move. “It was flat-out incredible. I had forty dollies ready for them but I ended up ordering in 200 more. They were hauling out loads of furniture and boxes six high. It was a tremendous happening.”

Wycliffe Translators is an international faith-based mission, dedicated to translating the Scriptures into every dialect on earth, then teaching people to read. When they outgrew their California premises, they purchased a tract of land near Orlando. Two years ago, they moved from the west coast into temporary quarters ten miles away, waiting for completion of their new permanent home. Target date for the move was set for March 2002. When the Dordt College track team phoned and asked if they had anything forty-two strong young athletes could do as a service project, Clifford felt it was providential that the offer came just in time for the move.

The many offices had their boxes packed, and Clifford reports that they were “getting jumpy” remembering all too clearly the headaches of the previous move two years earlier. Then it happened. The ants came marching in. “It was unbelievable. Timed by the Lord! Everybody here is ecstatic how quickly the move went. We were finished a whole day early,” said Clifford a week later.

“We did work really hard,” agreed Dordt Senior Greg Van Dyke who helped plan the event, which, along with the 200 Dordt students on P.L.I.A, brought the number of Dordt students on service projects to 240 during spring break this year.

This is not the first time a Dordt College track team work crew has amazed the recipients of their volunteer service. Two years ago the hostess of a day-care center in Texas called them the best work crew she ever had. They did an entire week’s mailing in the morning and entertained the children in the afternoon. On the team’s 1994 trip the manager of a thrift store in San Marcos, Texas, scrambled to find them more jobs when they finished their planned two-day tasks by 11 a.m. the first day. She ended up getting construction and painting done she had only dreamed of. Other trips included working with Habitat for Humanity in Washington state and cleaning up a forest preserve in Arkansas. Each time they amazed their hosts with their appetite for work.

The track competition on the trip also went well for the team. They competed in the Disney Relays against eleven other college teams. The men were third in team points while the women placed fourth, beaten only by three NCAA Division I squads.