Over Spring Break, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship traveled to Baton Rouge, Louisiana for a week of service. There, they met 150 other undergraduate students from university chapters around the northeast. In Baton Rouge, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship repaired damages to homes that had occurred during the 2016 flooding.

Shannon Conway (’18), shared that “Intervaristy boarded a coach bus ready for a grueling 30-hour bus ride… Going into the week, we had expectations to work hard, serve people, eat authentic food and make new friends. To our pleasant surprise, we far exceeded our expectations for this service trip.” Through ServeUP, over the past 12 years, 7,000 students from over 60 New England schools have “rebuilt homes, joined in rebuilding lives, developed deep friendships with one another and considered challenging issues of faith and justice while serving the people of New Orleans, Tampa, and Baton Rouge.”

The SNHU students from the Intervarsity Christian Fellowship now represent some of those students.

“Once I dreamed about enjoying a wild time with college companions over a spring break, back when I was still a high school student and hadn’t even enrolled to college,” said Jordan Francouer (’21). He shared that this service trip was not what he was expecting to do with his time in college, but that it was a unique opportunity that he couldn’t pass up. “During our time in Baton Rouge, I got to spend my spring break in the complete opposite way I’d originally dreamed. Beside friends new and old, I was blessed in the best way possible!”

Last year, 110,000 homes were destroyed in Baton Rouge as a result of flooding. Arielys Liriano Trejo (’21) shared how their service helped the families and community of Baton Rouge. “One of the most rewarding parts of the trip was knowing that by helping texture, sand, mud and paint walls, the house of an eighty-year-old lady would become repaired and ready to live in again,” said Liriano Trejo. “Ren, the son of the woman we were helping told us that during the flooding the house of his parents was located on a non-flood plain but was still affected by the flood that happened two years ago. I gained a new perspective on the impact of natural disasters by hearing the experience of this family.”

Other participants on the trip echoed that their expectations were exceeded and that their lives were changed through their service, just as they were hoping to change the lives of those they met along the way. Through their service, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship shared that they were able to grow personally as well as spiritually, both as individuals and as a team.

“We wept, we laughed, we danced, we attempted to play volleyball, we ate, we prayed and overall we just grew as people, as believers and as a group,” said University of New Hampshire student Mekaila Mason who also traveled with the SNHU group. “I would not trade a single second of our trip for the world.”

While writing stories of their own, the group heard the stories of many people along the way and will bring back their experiences to continue shaping their club and their spiritual lives.

“We heard countless stories of how in the face of complete loss – loss of family members, loss of homes, cars, keepsakes, pets – the resilient people of Louisiana were able to keep their eyes fixed on God and his plan for them. Some were angry at first, but most shared that they could see God moving through that awful experience,” said Conway. “They rose to the occasion and we heard countless stories about neighbors helping neighbors and putting their lives on the line for complete strangers. We heard countless stories of Jesus’s love in action.”

(image credit: Shannon Conway)

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