Crown Students Spend Spring Break Doing Sweat (and Sweet) Labor for Jesus
Posted May 2nd, 2018
By Alyssa Kranz
“We were meant to be the hands and feet of Jesus, and human beings are never more beautiful than when they are doing just that,” said Dr. Don Bouchard, the Assistant Professor of Teacher Education at Crown College.
Dr. Bouchard joined a team of Crown students to put the idea into practice.
A category-four storm, now known as Hurricane Harvey, hit Texas on August 25, 2017. According to the National Hurricane Center, it caused more than $125 billion in damage. Over 350,000 homes in the state were affected by over 50 inches of rain in a short period of time. More than 80% of the families that received damage did not have flood insurance because they did not live in a flood zone, leaving them little resources with which to rebuild.
To help bring relief to those affected, nine students and Bouchard traveled to Houston, Texas, on a seven day relief trip. They partnered with CRU (Campus Crusade for Christ) who had a connection with 8 Days of Hope, a faith-based relief organization, to serve those in need. While there, they cleared debris from yards, restored a local ball field, and even removed moldy insulation from beneath houses.
Madeline Klinker, one of the student leaders for the trip, said this opportunity struck her while sitting in a Sunday night worship service on campus. God prompted her to sign up to lead the trip, and in two days she became one of the leaders. Dr. Bouchard joined the team as a faculty leader. (A faculty leader supports the student leaders and helps with any important decisions along the way.)
The team’s home base was at Grace Community Church right in Houston, Texas, and they lodged at Victory Camp in Alvin. Every morning they would leave Victory Camp and head for breakfast, and the church staff gave them daily work assignments.
The team spent the next day rebuilding a little league baseball field. The community operates the field, and it is very important to them. Although spending time repainting chain link fences seemed like an odd job, it was rewarding knowing that the hurricane survivors appreciated their work.
The team spent the next day with a hurricane survivor named Ron, picking up trash and debris left over from the hurricane and cleaning yards.
The rest of their days were spent at various homes tearing up kitchen floors, removing black mold, pulling insulation from underneath houses, and any other odd jobs that needed to be done. The team won’t forget the impact one particular homeowner, a woman named Marisia, left on them. She shared her special story with some of the team members while they worked and it really touched them. The hurricane caused significant damage to her home. She had no money to try and fix up her home, but couldn’t let it waste away. The team arrived at the perfect time, and Marisia couldn’t stop thanking them for all of their kind and hard work.
Shelby Kranz, another one of the student leaders for the trip, said her favorite part of the trip was the “homeowner testimonies” that happened each night back on base. The homeowners who received help had the opportunity to come back to base to eat dinner and share their story with the thousands of volunteers. Kranz said, “It was amazing to be able to listen to the gratitude of the homeowners. It meant a lot to them that people from all over the United States and five other countries would come and offer their time and services to help rebuild their homes.”
Throughout the trip the theme of laughter rang true to many of the team members, even in the midst of heartache. During their van rides to and from base, and at their relief stations, there was a sense of joyfulness which made the entire trip memorable as they sang, laughed, and shouted their way around Houston. The true light of Christ was shining through them as they helped those who were in the middle of some of the darkest days of their lives.
“No matter where we were, what time of day it was, or what we were doing, the general feeling was one of community and caring, and we came away blessed for having participated in a working spring break,” said Don Bouchard.