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Christian Student Fellowship Helps Victims of Hurricane Sandy

Rather than heading south for spring break, the Christian Student Fellowship took a trip up north to a colder beach.

CSF Campus Minister David Hershey, Class of 2002, organized a trip to Jamaica, NY to help rebuild homes for Sandy Relief. Twenty-one students and staff from Penn State worked with Friends of Rockaway to help rebuild two homes that were affected by the hurricane. Not only were the students able to help rebuild, but they were also given the opportunity to form closer relationships with each other and with God.

Hannah McConnell (senior-Nutritional Science) said, “Missions trips tend to bring you closer to both your earthly friends and your Heavenly Friend, as well as closer to the greater community of the world.”

The members of CSF were taught how to install insulation, hang up drywall, and how to spackle over the course of the week. They were able to hear the stories of the families in need and put their skills to the test to help them make one step closer to returning home.

Some of the students felt the trip was a success, they wanted to do more for the community. Jon Bender (junior-information sciences and technology) said. “The trip was an incredible and eye-opening experience. While we made a difference working on the houses, it was saddening to see that there were hundreds of more homes waiting to be rebuilt.”

McConnell also felt it was a successful trip that not only helped the community, but life changing for the group: “All of us considered it an honor to help restore a small piece of normality to two families whose world was turned upside down by circumstances outside their control. Though the winds and waters rage outside human control, we went to represent the One who the winds and waves bow in authority to.”

On top of rebuilding, the team also read Paul’s letters to the Philippians as part of their Bible study. One of the chapters talks about working “without grumbling or arguing”. This was something that was exercised a few times throughout the week.

Since the team was not made up of professional builders, sometimes work became a struggle. Whether the drywall wasn’t fitting properly, or the insulation wasn’t put in correctly, the students encouraged one another got the job done right.  

After a week of working together to do God’s will and to spread His love, the team was able to form a close bond and bring the encouraging atmosphere home to spread throughout their everyday lives. Although returning back reality wasn’t ideal, the trip will certainly give the students a new perspective of it.

Christian Student Fellowship meets Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. in the Penn State Room. All are welcome.

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