In less than a month, a group of our students and staff will be traveling to Haiti to serve through the Global Orphan Project. Not only do we serve when we’re in Haiti, but also before hand, in our efforts to raise support.
Our most recent efforts to serve the community include some of our boys pulling shrubs at a local business for nearly four hours! Together, our boys really got into the work and service. They were excited to step back at the end and look at the efforts of their labor! Our girls were actively involved in serving dinner at a local church that hosted a fundraiser for our trip. Not only did they serve dinner, but they also had an opportunity to spend time getting to know families in our community.
Daniel Schlenker, Shelterwood’s Volunteer Coordinator, has planned these service project fundraisers. He noted, “It’s been really neat watching the students having fun while working so hard to serve”.
Maggie Grumieaux, Shelterwood’s Case Coordinator, has been on four Haiti trips, this will be her fifth. She states, “ Our students don’t expect to get out of the trip what they do. Many expect to just go and hang out with kids, but they end up coming home changed”.
When I follow up with students about their experience serving in Haiti, they are quick and eager to point out the love they felt in the midst of their service. One of the girls spoke of her trip and exclaimed, “Serving in Haiti made me experience pure love and it was awesome!”
In serving our community now, we are gaining experience and excitement for our service trip to Haiti. Serving locally has also been an awesome way for our school to watch our students to open their hearts to others and give back. Please join us in prayer as we quickly approach our service adventure to Haiti!
Parents respond to the Haiti trip and appreciate the changes their teen made after gaining a new perspective.
“Jake will never be the same from having been in Haiti with this team….thanks for leading!”
“I want to thank you personally for all you have contributed to Nick’s journey… not just the one to Haiti, but to his acceptance of the fact that God created him with a purpose in mind… and to his belief that it’s a good one! Thank you for your support of our family on this very long and rocky road, for your prayers on our behalf, and most of all for never giving up on us as family nor on our son as a man. We believe in miracles because we’ve lived a few! We pinch ourselves in light of the constant reminders that we are never too far for God to reach us and that He is in the business of restoring the years the locusts have eaten.”
“I’m not sure of what I’m all feeling right now, except that it’s making me weep and laugh at the same time! Nick holding that little girl just slays me. I can only repeat my wife’s message. We are humbled, grateful, and can’t wait to see the whole gang next week!”
“Thanks so much for the wonderful pictures of Drew on the Haiti Trip, I guess it is time for me to end the pity party I’ve been on wondering if I did the right thing by sending him to Shelterwood. I know now that this is the best experience that he will ever have in his life and that he is really happy.”
“THANKS so much for this good report! We see compassion ministry in Jake’s destiny; your missional leadership and Shelterwood’s emphasis on relationships have been powerful in Jake’s spiritual formation!”
“Thank you so much for sending this! I am in tears of joy and awe of what God did and is doing in Romans life. I think that it was a miracle that he even went! Thank you, thank you, thank you for trusting Roman and allowing him to go! Thank you for the pictures; look how happy he looks. This is our Roman. This is a blessing.”
Here at Shelterwood, some of our students are excitedly getting ready for a short term missions trip to Haiti with Global Orphan Project . We have been on eight different trips with students to Haiti since 2011.
What’s our passion behind taking a group of kids to Haiti? We have seen drastic changes in the lives of some of the students attending the trips. Stepping outside of their comfort zone helps them gain perspective in different areas of their lives. Students are faced with questions of what joy, happiness, and satisfaction mean in light of the situation in Haiti. They are able to see themselves as helpers, and practice empathy in action. We’re not the only ones seeing benefits in short-term missions. In 2008, Barna Group released data on short-term mission trips and their affects on teens. According to that study: A majority of those who have participated in mission trips said it changed their life in some way. The most common areas of personal growth that people recall – even years later – include
-Becoming more aware of other people’s struggles (25%)
-Learning more about poverty, justice, or the world (16%)
-Increasing compassion (11%)
-Deepening or enriching their faith (9%)
-Broadening their spiritual understanding (9%)
-Boosting their financial generosity (5%)
-Others mentioned the experience helped them feel more fulfilled, become more grateful, develop new friends, and become less self centered.
For six years we have seen this study confirmed time and time again. Being self centered is something that is present in our teens’ lives. Our trips to Haiti have been amazing opportunities for us to introduce students to other ways of living and thinking. We are thankful for chances to expose our students to global awareness and a broader perspective whenever we can and excited to see what’s in store for this upcoming trip.