J-Term is the time for students to take a class that speaks to their interests, hang out with friends and binge watch Netflix. Some students will take their interests overseas for an off-campus course this J-Term. Students had the opportunity to apply for four university supported trips: India, Jamaica, Spain and Japan. Two other student-initiated trips traveling to Belize and Paris also gave students the opportunity to go abroad.
Thirteen students will accompany David Alexander, Ph.D., to serve in Chennai, India. Their first stop is Home of Love (HOL), an all-girls orphanage, where they will spend eight to 10 days running vacation Bible school and doing grounds work as needed.
“We have worked with the Home of Love for four years now and have developed fairly deep relationships with the girls and staff there,” Alexander said. “Huntington students, families, faculty, etc. have donated over $30,000 to the Home of Love, and this year we will see how some of that money was spent in the form of a brand new dormitory for about 50 girls.”
All the girls at HOL sleep on mats on the floor. With this dormitory, the girls will be able to sleep on beds for the first time in some of their lives, said Alexander.
Following their work at HOL, the team will serve for three to five days with Madras Christian Council of Social Services working with HIV/AIDS patients, street children, women in trafficking, elderly and orphans. To round up the trip, they will serve with the Home of Hope, an orphanage that houses children up to 18 years in age who have HIV/AIDS.
“One of our goals for each trip is to show students the real needs of real people in India and how those needs can be met by each of us,” Alexander said. “Our hope is that students return to the US with a desire to spend the rest of their lives loving others in all sorts of self-sacrificing ways.”
While a team is serving in India, another group led by Amy Biegel, assistant professor of social work, will be serving in Highgate, Jamaica. Ten students will be doing relational ministry by
working with Jamaicans in schools, an orphanage and an infirmary. They will be constructing a
small home for someone in need as well.
The Jamaican team will be working with Christian Service International, an organization that
works to host short-term missions and service trips in several countries.
“We are hoping to have some HU Jamaican students share with our team soon in order to help us
be well prepared, culturally sensitive and build even more excitement about the trip,” Biegel
Across the globe in Europe, campus pastor Arthur Wilson will be leading a team to Guadalajara
and Bilbao, Spain, formerly known as the Sierra Leone trip. The trip changed destinations to
account for the Ebola virus outbreak in Western Africa. The group of 17 students will be
working with two missionary couples teaching English camps, leading children’s ministry and
music ministry opportunities and performing street evangelism.
“I’m looking forward to sharing the love of Christ outside of my comfort zone while deepening
my relationship with students,” Wilson said.
The final university supported trip is traveling to Japan, making it the only group with an Asian
destination. Led by Dawn Ford, associate professor of digital media arts, students will travel to
the historic missionary center in Karuizawa to create elements for the outreach and promotion of
Christianity in Japan, according to the J-Term class schedule. They will also learn about the
influence of Japan on western film and animation.
Two additional trips are being led by current students. Senior Zach Shultz is leading a team to
Middlesex, Belize. The destination was a university-supported trip last spring break, but some
students were interested into making it a 2015 J-Term trip.
Twelve students will be working for Here’s Hope Ministries at a home of theirs called the
Hosanna House. The home shelters children who have been neglected, abused, abandoned or
otherwise have unfit parents, said Shultz.
“We will be doing several work projects while we are there, such as roofing two houses,” Shultz
said. “There may be other work projects we complete, however, a lot of that is still up in the air.
Our primary ministry is with the children of the Hosanna House. We will live at the home for the
whole time we are there, so we will be spending tons of time with those kids.”
The team will lead devotions for the children every night and will be there to hang out and play
games. They also plan to do community outreach in the Valley community where the Hosanna
House is located.
Senior Caitlin Trainer will also lead a team of 14 students to Paris, France. Working with a
ministry organization called Envision, the group will be doing relational ministry through art, the
English language, young adult groups, music and food for the homeless.
After spending two months last summer working with Envision in Paris, Trainer came back with
a passion for the unreached and felt led to lead a group to the city she fell in love with.
“Paris is a city full of depressed people,” Trainer said. “I want them to know they can have [live]
life to the fullest. I want students at Huntington to feel burdened for the lost in France too. As a
senior, I wanted to leave Huntington knowing that there will still be students here who can carry
the passion for spreading the Gospel in France.”
Students attending these J-Term trips have spent the past few months planning, fundraising and
praying. They will not only be immersed in a new culture, but can spread the love of God while
they are there.