As students slowly readjust to the hectic humdrum of daily college life, many reflect on spring break experiences, sharing memories from half a world away.
As a member of the Nicaragua SSP team, junior Ashley Mastbergen remembers spending hours working and playing with children during her break in Bluefields, Nicaragua.
Mastbergen described a typical day in Bluefields, saying, “In the morning we walked to the Moravian high school where we split into three groups—music, computers, and ESL—and we helped out in those classes. At noon we left and went to our host families to eat. Around 2 p.m., we began our trek uphill in order to help in a construction project at the clinic that was located there.”
According to Mastbergen, one of the most difficult aspects of staying in Nicaragua, “was the adjustment to food and sanitation.” Mastbergen said that as a result of the group’s physical inability to adjust, “Everyone in the group had some form of a sickness at one point in the trip whether from the food or heat exhaustion.”
Mastbergen said the experience of working and building relationships in Nicaragua “was one of the most paradoxical and beautiful moments in my life.” She said although that “it was hard to see . . . [children living in poverty] my eyes were opened to a world I had only seen images of.”
Junior Elizabeth Zinkula also had the opportunity to be a member of an international SSP team. She recalls spending days working in uncomfortable heat as she and fellow team members served throughout the week in Honduras.
Zinkula described how she and her group spent most of the break, “On the trip we helped paint part of a school building as well as the back wall of the church and school. We also got to explore the city and learned about the culture.”
Zinkula said that one aspect of the trip she enjoyed was “getting to know everyone in our group, as well as the people that lived in Honduras.”
“I feel that I learned a lot from these people,” said Zinkula, “especially from experiencing their culture.”
Junior Sheila Hopp spent her break on an international SSP location that was less balmy than Nicaragua or Honduras, but no less interesting.
Hopp went to Amsterdam, The Netherlands, where she and her teammates divided into two groups and stayed in two Christian youth hostels, cooking, cleaning and leading Bible discussions. Hopp spent her mornings cooking breakfast for guests in the hostel cafe.
“Also, during that time,” Hopp said, “I would help get lunch ready for the staff and our team . . . and would talk with the guests who came to the hostel.”
Hopp said the group also spent “one night at each hostel . . . sharing the gospel through testimony, singing, drama and discussion.”
“And we all took our turns leading a Bible discussion for a night,” she said. Hopp said her favorite aspect of the experience was “working in the morning cafe because it was a great way for me to serve others through doing something as simple as making their breakfast.” Hopp continued, “It was also awesome to meet people from all over the world and to hear their stories.“