As Lipscomb’s campus excitedly awaits spring break, Lipscomb Missions is gearing up to send nearly 400 individuals to serve in schools, orphanages, hospitals and communities across the globe.
From March 9-19, nearly 20 teams, which includes students, employees, alumni and friends from Lipscomb University and Academy, will partner with ministries in Mexico; Charlotte, North Carolina; Destin, Florida; the Dominican Republic; El Salvador; Guatemala; Haiti; Honduras; Jamaica; Nevis; New York City, New York; Saba; San Francisco, California; and Dundee, Scotland to share the Gospel of Jesus through love, service and ministry.
“We mobilize all Lipscomb University and Academy trips that go out, so it is fun to see the excitement, dedication and sacrifices that so many individuals make to love and serve others,” said Mark Jent, Director of Missions Outreach for Lipscomb Missions. “We have great leadership and host-partners that make all that we do possible, and this is spring break, 50 percent of all of our participants are returning members.”
With 45 host partners, Jent says part of Lipscomb Mission’s long-term strategy is to ensure teams go back to the same communities year-after-year. This spring break, Lipscomb will send teams to Saba; Baja, Mexico and New York City for its 15th year.
“Our host partners are extremely valuable to what we are doing,” said Jent. “They are the ones who are in the trenches year-round with that ministry and to get to serve alongside them year-after-year, it helps us to make a greater investment and plant seeds as we encounter the love of Christ together and partner with what God is already doing in these locations,” said Jent.
In 2016, Lipscomb Missions sent nearly 1,000 individuals on 60 short-term mission trips, and Jent says the office plans to send around the same numbers for 2017 as well.
The impact of short-term missions
Since he was eight years old, Myron Hassell (‘16), says he has been directly impacted by the Lipscomb Mission teams that would come to the Caribbean island of Saba.
Nearly 15 years ago, Lipscomb alumnus Michael Thomas (’99) and his wife Aletha, led their first team of Lipscomb students to serve in Saba during spring break and met Hassell in his second grade class.
With each new mission trip, the Thomas family saw Hassell grow and get more involved with the mission teams, and when it came time to choose a university in 2012, he decided to pursue a degree in business administration at Lipscomb.
“I was interested in the camaraderie the Lipscomb team had every year, so I thought Lipscomb would be a good school to attend,” said Hassell.
In 2013 and 2014, Hassell attended the Lipscomb spring break mission trips to Saba to serve in his native community.
“I love Saba, and try to give back to my community as much as can,” Hassell continued. “I want to set an example for other kids to leave Saba and go pursue an education or even your dreams. I feel like if I don’t go back then who will? They will only be seeing negative examples from older guys on the island. When I go back, they can see something different for a change.”
He has also been a part of mission trips to Cozumel Mexico in 2015 and 2016, as well as Camp Shiloh in New York in 2015 and to Dominica in the Caribbean over Lipscomb’s most recent winter break.
Today, Hassell has a bachelor’s degree in business administration in entrepreneurship and is also pursuing a master’s of management degree in leadership and organizational development. He is planning to serve next week in Saba and will get to continue pouring into the next generation of students at his former elementary school.
“Through these mission trips, God has taught me to not think about myself. I have to put others ahead of myself,” said Hassell. “There will be times when there is not enough food for the team to eat comfortable. I try to do my best to eat less. Which feels like fasting but that is a next story. He always finds a way to take me out of my comfort zone.”
Uniting passion with service
A Native of Kent, Washington, senior mechanical engineering student Hunter Printz has always had a passion for people and building things.
“I went on a mission trip to Charlotte, North Carolina, earlier this fall, but when the opportunity came about to go on an engineering mission trip, I was excited about integrating both the technical skills that I have learned in engineering and my passion for helping others,” said Printz.
Next week, Printz will spend his final spring break at Lipscomb working alongside a team of professional engineers, professors from the Raymond B. Jones College of Engineering and fellow engineering students in Trujillo, Honduras.
During the week, the team will help survey and prepare the worksite for a playground and bridge at Little Hands, Big Hearts, a school for children with physical and mental disabilities. This summer, Lipscomb’s Peugeot Center for Engineering Missions and engineering firm Barge, Waggoner, Sumner and Cannon, will send a second team to install the adaptive playground as well as a suspension bridge to allow handicapped children to access one of the buildings.
“On this trip we have the ability to bring new resources to a community in order to help handicapped children develop new skills,” said Printz. “I am looking forward to getting to know the people in this community and using the gifts I’ve been given to help others who are in need.”
Lipscomb Missions exists to recruit, train and send short-term mission teams, equipping our community with a hands-on understanding of God’s world-wide mission. Its mission’s staff and team leaders spend countless hours encouraging and equipping more nearly 1,000 participants each year, who spread the love God through 60 different mission opportunities around the world.
To learn more about Lipscomb Missions, visit www.lipscomb.edu/missions.