Serving others abroad and at home

Findlay’s Backyard Mission Trip is a perfect opportunity to serve locally

By Katie Kohls 
@KatieKohls

Over this past spring break, many people went on trips to serve others. A group of students went to the Dominican Republic (see our very own Sarah Stubbs’ editorial from last week for more information), Habitat for Humanity went to Florida, Campus Ministry took two groups on their AltBreak trips to help clean up summer camps, Engage College Ministries went to Myrtle Beach and did some service there, and I’m guessing there are more people that also used their break to help others. Almost anyone you would ask that went on these trips will most likely tell you of the wonderful time they had, the blessing of helping others, and growing closer to others on their respective trips.

I have gone on the AltBreak trip for the past three years, and I know that week away with serving others is very rewarding and surprisingly refreshing. By the end of the day, you are exhausted, but you feel accomplished. Your aches and bruises and cuts have a purpose. You smell, but there is a satisfaction that it came from something worthwhile. You help others, but by helping others, you also help yourself.

Now if you spent your break laying on the couch watching “Fuller House” or catching up on homework, there is no fault in that. Spend your break how you want to because serving others means nothing if you resent the work. And we all need that break. But if you still want to help serve others, but maybe don’t have a lot of time or money to go on a full-blown mission trip to another country, then please consider helping at The Backyard Mission Trip.

The Backyard Mission Trip was started by Findlay area churches to serve their brothers and sisters in their own backyard. It has been going on for years, and last year they had over 1300 volunteers working on 214 projects around Findlay and in Hancock County. And it’s not just churches that participate. The football players have a group that goes (they give them the more physically taxing jobs), some of the science professors take groups for extra credit, the campus service group Reaching Out Digging Deep has a group, and more campus groups volunteer their time and energy on that Saturday in April to help the community and serve others.

This year’s Backyard Mission Trip is on April 23, 2016. Yes, it is the weekend before finals, but why not be productive in your procrastination? And maybe get extra credit because multiple professors in different colleges do that. You can help people in the community, grow closer to those in your group (there is typically a lot of laughter and jokes), get a free T-shirt, and spend part of your study weekend outside. The Backyard Mission Trip is just one way to help serve others and help yourself.

I urge you to look into it or other service opportunities. Serving others is never a waste of time and has many benefits for everyone. If you’re looking for other opportunities to serve, contact Crystal Weitz. She is director of the Campus Compact Center for Service and Learning and is great resource for getting involved by serving others. Or contact Dallas Smith or Kelsey Platek for information about their student service group, Reaching Out, Digging Deep. Or, contact Coyne Hopey about Habitat for Humanity. Please consider spending some time in serving others, it is truly a rewarding experience that benefits everyone and allows us to grow closer and understand other better.

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