NNU on a Mission in Haiti

June 23, 2014, 1:32 pm
Haiti team building a playground

Eight students and two faculty members went to Haiti this summer as part of the NNU-on-a-Mission program. The team, led by Dr. Dan Lawrence and Assistant Professor of Art and Design Amy Gilles, traveled from May 13 to 29. They served alongside a Mission Aviation Fellowship group at homes for children with disabilities, building a playground and painting various projects. Tim and Liz Schandorff, son and daughter-in-law of Gene and LaRita Schandorff, housed the team, which provided a unique connection to NNU and the Haitian people.

The team consisted of Rachel Ball (Ucon, Idaho), Stephanie Copenhaver (Sammamish, Wash.), Caitlin Curtis (Portland, Ore.), Kassandra Johnson (Kenai, Alaska), Matti Munger (Meridian, Idaho), McCrea Nirider (Tacoma, Wash.), Lukas Rieke (Pasco, Wash.) and Melissa Verhage (Moses Lake, Wash.)

Stephanie Copenhaver playing with child in HaitiBuilding relationships with the children of Haiti was a highlight for the team. Stephanie Copenhaver reflects on the trip: “Through this experience I have come to be very thankful that God did allow for a few things to be kept universal as in, ‘Children are children no matter where you go; they love attention, smiles, hugs and bubbles.’”

Professor Gilles explained that they would spend most afternoons hanging out with kids after school. She shared a particularly memorable moment: “Looking around the yard of the orphanage that day, I saw all the members of our team surrounded by these beautiful children, and it brought tears to my eyes. I realized that the most important and lasting difference we could make on this trip was simply to love these kids.”

Stephanie’s biggest takeaway from the trip was a saying that Liz Shandorff passed along to the team: “Do for one what you wish you could do for all.” Lukas Rieke said those words came the night after he had spent hours on his hands and knees scrubbing floors at the orphanage. “I couldn’t stop thinking about how I believe that God’s call for us can manifest itself in that phrase. It may seem impossible to reach everyone in the world with love and the gospel, but I
can share God’s love with whoever is near me, and I can do for one what I wish I could do for all.”

Kassandra Johnson helping with physical therapy
Photo captions:  #1 The team building a playground; #2 Stephanie Kopenhaver interacts with child;  #3 Kassandra Johnson helping with physical therapy.


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