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Summer 2004 | Volume 26, Number 7 | Campus

Student Mission Teams Serve Short-Term Over a Long Weekend in California

events, Mission LA and Quest, Seattle Pacific University students helped raise their own funds to spend Memorial Day weekend volunteering in two of California’s poorest districts.

About 80 women drove to San Francisco’s Tenderloin District as part of the third annual Quest trip, organized by the Falconettes, SPU’s women’s service club. Meanwhile, about 60 men participated in Mission LA. They drove from Seattle for 24 hours straight, arriving in one of the most notorious areas of America, in a district of Pasadena, near Los Angeles. The trek is a longstanding tradition of the Centurions, the men’s service organization at Seattle Pacific.

Labeled by the press as “seedy,” “impoverished” and “dangerous,” both sites house Christian mission centers that serve their neighborhoods. At the San Francisco Rescue Mission, the Quest team helped distribute clothes, serve meals and witness to people on the streets at night. “This all started when some women students wanted to do something similar to Mission LA,” says Jan Higbee ’85, Falconettes advisor. “They make the trip by themselves and do amazing work.”

A Pasadena house that was once owned by a drug kingpin has been transformed into the Harambee Christian Family Center, which Mission LA has returned to for six years in a row. Some students went to work painting fences, while others did yardwork. Still others repaired missionary homes on the same street.

Benefits of the trip spread beyond the Harambee Center, says John Keatley ’02, who photographed the journey. “Neighbors saw us coming in, showing them love and taking responsibility,” he says. “And it was a good experience for the mission team, too. Students from very different groups around campus spent a weekend hanging out and laughing together.”

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