Lessons learned in far-off places

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Every year, students and faculty at Waynesburg University embark on mission trips during spring and winter breaks, taking many to far-off places and some to their own backyards in Waynesburg to help those less fortunate.


We understand Waynesburg University touts itself as a service-oriented institution, and we think that is quite commendable.


But what is even more commendable is that this week in January, these 40 students choose to put others ahead of themselves and to commit to a week of focusing on “Mustard Seed Communities” in Jamaica; a medical mission trip to the Bahamas; Trans World Radio, a Christian radio network, in Venezuela; and a mission work camp in Hampton, Ga.


Of course, there are worse places to go in January than the Bahamas or Jamaica. But making the commitment to help others, no matter the climate, should be applauded.


We often wonder why these students give up their winter and spring breaks, considering that the expenses are usually borne by the students. So, why do they do it?


Some may get academic credit if they are in the Bonner Scholarship program, but more than likely they do it because they have a strong sense of service and a selfless drive to help others.


And, sure, the Bahamas is a lot more inviting than Pennsylvania in January.


This is far more than just a trip to the beach. The 10 students and their trip leader, Dr. Terri Small, a professor of nursing at Waynesburg University, will sponsor a health clinic. Most Haitian refugees have little or no access to health care.


By partnering with Mission Academy, a student ministries, short-term mission trip organization, university nursing students will have the opportunity to serve this population.


As Small noted prior to the trip, “I anticipate it will be very rewarding, as in the past, and I expect all to be blessed by the people we serve.”


The Jamaica trip includes 12 students will work with disabled and abandoned children in Montego Bay. The service team will provide manual labor and work with children in the children’s homes. The 10 students making the trip to Georgia will make home repairs in the community and establish connections with the people they will be serving.


Those at the university who put this and the other mission trips together should be applauded.


The lessons these and all the other students who give of their time could never be taught in a classroom.


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