This e-update was written by Jared Ott about the trip he and his wife, Crystal, went on with 9 undergraduate students.
As Spring finally arrives, many of you may notice the many birds who begin their migration back to newly thawed Northern locations. It may also be observed that many college students make an annual migration South about this time. For most of these students, the goal is a beach, some friends, and to have as much carefree (and often thought-free) fun as possible.
This Spring Break, Crystal and I also loaded up a car and two vans full of college students to head South. Yet, this trip had a much different goal than those of many of these student’s classmates. We were going to Johnson City, Tennessee to serve, to learn, and to fellowship.
These many opportunities to serve were very different in many ways, and some of the students naturally fit into some more than others. We were stretched by some of the activities, and made to stop and ask questions about others. It was a chance to learn through doing, and match our faith with action.
We also had opportunities to learn in other contexts. We dropped by Emmanuel School of Religion and interacted with a few of the professors there. We also spent an evening with the Campus House at East Tennessee State University, which is a sister campus ministry to ROC. The students led devotionals along the way, and had the chance to reflect on some of their experiences. Needless to say, there was quite a bit of thinking that went on during our trip.
Finally, the students had the great opportunity to fellowship with many gracious and hospitable people during the trip. Host families from a local congregation welcomed the students into their homes for the trip. Several of the students commented on how the Campus House felt just like “ROC, only in Tennessee.” It was a wonderful demonstration of the breadth and depth of the body of Christ as we interacted with so many who were once perfect strangers, yet treated us as the dear friends that we are in Christ.