Student Leaders: SPRINT
Summer 2010 SPRINT Teams:
Trip Dates: August 30-September 10, 2010
Project Description: Students will serve hand in hand in materially‐poor communities with the local church. Program includes the building of friendships with Dominicans and Haitians, community improvement activities, Vacation Bible School, help with medical clinics and experiencing the important role of the local Pentecostal churches in spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Host: Foundation for Peace
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I just received a phone call from the team - they're in Miami now, on their way home. From our brief conversation I gathered that the trip was great, but they're glad to be heading home.
After two weeks in Haiti, the team will return to the States on Friday, September 10. As you prepare to receive them, here are some things I hope you'll think about to help the team make the most of this trip.
As the group returns, they’ll continue to think through this experience and its implications for their lives. It’s likely that this mental processing will involve at least some of these elements:
Relief upon returning to familiar surroundings,
Frustration with aspects of home culture that appear less desirable than the cultural values experienced during the SPRINT experience,
Sadness and joy over relationships and memories developed during the trip,
And hopefully, Resolve to incorporate the learning from this trip into daily life as life moves on.
It’s our hope that SPRINT participants will return to “life as usual” with expanded worldviews and a clearer sense of God’s work in their lives. The learning process continues after the trip experience; students will participate in a debriefing retreat in October, and will be encouraged to continue meeting with their SPRINT team to share the story of their host’s work and encourage future generations of SPRINT participants to serve.
I encourage you to give your student time to catch up on sleep and collect his or her thoughts, then set aside an extended period of time to share pictures and stories. Don’t expect completely-formed opinions immediately; the reflection process takes time. We remind returning SPRINTers that not everyone will have time to hear the whole story, but that they should find a few people with whom to share the longer, more in-depth account.
I’ve e-mailed team members a list of debriefing questions designed to help students think through their experience and its meaning as they move forward in their lives. If you’ve got time, I’d encourage you to talk though some of these questions with your student.
I just received a phone call from Desiree, who reports that the team is doing very well, and is enjoying the trip very much. Here are some of the highlights of her report.
The team has been volunteering at Camp Hope, a settlement of people displaced by the earthquake, near Fond Parisien. They've helped with panning projects and building desks for a vocational training school sponsored by the Foundation for Peace.
The team also had a chance to visit the beach; warm,warm water! Desi reports that the scenery was beautiful.
Our team has worked alongside another college group from Princeton - today the American teams challenged the Haitian neighbors to a soccer match, and were soundly defeated.
Tomorrow the team will tour Port-Au-Prince with FFP staff. On Thursday night they'll return to the Dominican Republic before they fly home on Friday. Desiree said she'll call again when they return to DR.
Hey guys, just wanted to let you know that I got here okay and everything is going just swell. We are staying at a house/school tonight and then tomorrow leaving at 5AM to go to Haiti. We have internet right now but have no idea if we will in Haiti. Tonight we are just resting and hanging out, they are bringing us Dominicans’ version of Chinese food tonight. :) For lunch we had pizza with corn on it. Apparently it is just like the common pepperoni pizza to us.
There is a dog here at the house (don't worry, Mom I asked if it was okay to pet him) who I like a lot, and children at the daycare. Their Spanish is so much better than mine but I am trying to just hang out and play with them. There is also a kitten but she's not really into people and runs with someone approaches her.
The heat isn't as bad as I thought it would be..but it's definitely harder to breathe here than in the States. We're getting used to it, though.
Tonight we are going to sleep on the balcony. I’m pretty excited for that.
Here are a couple more specific things that you could be praying for us about:
1) That we won't treat this as a vacation and that "I" come first. We are here to serve and to be the hands and feet of Christ and it is easy to put that on the back burner when you are surrounded by such beautiful...well..surroundings.
2) We won't let the heat/sweating control our attitudes and overpower us.
3) Strength and discernment for me as the team leader, i.e., being the encourager and keeping my heart and mind on the work of God, not on personal obstacles that I let get in the way.
4) That we will grow closer as a group but also individually in our personal relationships with Christ, and that we will be an encouragement to each other.
Just a quick note: the team just called to say they’ve arrived in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, where they were met at the airport by their hosts. When they called, they had just sat down to lunch – pizza, topped with corn in addition to more familiar toppings.
The team asked me to pass on to you that they’re doing well, and are very eager to begin the next steps of their adventure.
Five students departed Seattle’s SeaTac Airport last night, bound for Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Over the next two weeks the team will travel to Fond Parisien, Haiti, to work with and learn from the Foundation for Peace, a well-established Christian organization working with local churches to strengthen communities in Dominican Republic and Haiti.
Our students will have the opportunity to assist with the Foundation’s work in Fond Parisien, rebuilding a vocational training school that was damaged in January’s major earthquake. They’ll also help with Vacation Bible School activities, assisting another college team from New Jersey.
To help calm fears about our students’ visit to Haiti, here are some important details. First, the team will be directed by Pastor Michel Valentin, a Haitian leader and partner with the Foundation. With a local expert as their guide, the team will have an inside view of Haiti, and will be well-supported. Additionally, the Foundation has hosted several college groups like ours over the course of this summer; though it’s certainly an exciting opportunity, it’s not completely uncharted territory.
For those following the weather reports on Hurricane Earl, projections don’t indicate that Earl will reach the Dominican Republic, although the team may encounter some storms. The westward move to Haiti will likely help even more.
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