Join us at Discover SPRINT for a night of stories and video from Summer, 2013 SPRINT trips! Sunday night, November 3, 7:00 PM in Demaray Hall 150 on the SPU campus.
With today’s return of the Vietnam SPRINT team and the departure of the Brazil team, we’re pretty close to SPRINT’s halfway point this summer. (For a full list of this summer’s trips, visit the SPRINT webpage).
I know you’re primarily interested in reports from teams’ trips, so I’ll keep this post brief. Quickly, though, I wanted to offer some background information on the SPRINT program and our goals for all of this international travel, learning and service you’ll read about on these pages.
University-sponsored short-term missions at Seattle Pacific University date back to the early 1960s; participants in Operation Outreach, later renamed Seattle Pacific Reachout INTernational, have volunteered in countries around the world for many years. Serving in teams alongside in-country local leadership, the objective of SPRINT trips has always been to provide needed help, a witness to the Gospel and important learning opportunities for college students.
Today SPRINT is advised and supported by SPU’s John Perkins Center for Reconciliation, Leadership Training and Community Development. Perkins Center staff (that’s me) and student leaders partner to recruit, train and send the SPRINT teams you’re reading about this summer.
It’s important for us to engage students with effective, sustainable, community-developing work that promotes long-term transformation rather than the negative, dependency-creating outcomes sometimes associated with short-term missions. To that end, our pre-trip training and host-partner selection focus on a set of values outlined by the Christian Community Development Association, emphasizing local leadership development, empowerment and reconciliation that bridges both social and spiritual gaps. Our hope is that students will learn from effective community engagement models and apply these lessons to their future work, wherever God leads them.
Another key aspect of the SPRINT process is our emphasis on post-trip reflection and application. Neat experiences, great photos and fun stories about new foods do not equal life transformation. However, when students are intentional in reflecting on their experiences, learning take-aways and challenges of the trip they’re more likely to discover God at work throughout the trip experience and beyond.
To encourage the reflection process we’ll send each student a copy of the Global Citizen Journal, published by the Krista Foundation for Global Service as he or she returns home. The journal highlights the importance of incorporating service and mission experiences into one’s life through reflection and application. You might find this sample article interesting: In “Staying for Tea” Aaron Ausland reflects on the importance of long-term commitment and listening to community in order to find one’s place of effectiveness as an outsider coming in.
Thanks again for your support of students as they participate in SPRINT this summer. If you’d like more information on the program, ways to give or ways to be involved, please contact me at (206) 281-2932 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Owen Sallee, SPRINT Advisor
I received quick emails from the team last night when they reached the Pillows and Toast hostel in Singapore.
In just a few hours (3 am their time) they’ll leave the hostel to travel to the airport for a 7 am flight.
We’ll see them soon!
Thanks for your support of these students!
The team is debriefing at their base camp island today; we may hear from them before they head home, but I wanted to make sure you had their return flight information. You’ll find that, as well as some ideas on how to receive them, below.
After a month in Indonesia, the team will return to the States this week. 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.
For those of you meeting students at the airport, here’s flight information:
- Austin, Faith and Hannah return to Seattle on July 11 at 9:50 AM on United #876.
- Huy returns to Honolulu on July 12 at 5:55 PM on United #200.
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 gathering 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, 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 mailed team members some discussion questions and a copy of the Global Citizen Journal, published by the Krista Foundation for Global Citizenship (www.kristafoundation.org), to help them think through their experience as they move forward. If you’ve got time, I’d encourage you to talk though some of these materials with your student.
Thanks for your support of students on this team! Please let me know if you have questions.
Here’s another brief update from the team. After a few days of rest at basecamp this weekend they’re headed out for their third island visit.
We are doing well. We completed our 2nd island stay and have been resting and doing a work project for a few days. We go to our 3rd island on Tuesday. We will be there for 6 nights. Part of the group that joined us left, so instead of 22 we have 12. The groups from different schools are getting along well. We have formed relationships with families on the shorter 2 island stays and it was difficult to leave. I imagine it will be harder to leave the longer 3rd island stay.
Here’s an email I received from the team this evening. They’re doing well: enjoying the islands and learning where “overseas” is…
Hey Owen this is team Indo trying to give you an update. We’ve just finished out first island and now on our way to the second island. Can you update our blog?
P.s. In Japan Huy bought an International charger that said “over seas”. I’ve learned that it meant over seas the other way and i bought an adapter to use in America.