What SPRINT’s all about

Hello, friends!

For just a few hours tomorrow afternoon we’ll have only two SPRINT students outside the United States, marking today as a mid-point in SPRINT’s summer.  (For a full list of this summer’s trips, visit the SPRINT webpage).

 

I know you’re primarily interested in reports from teams’ trips, so I’ll keep this post brief.  Quickly, though, I wanted to offer some background information on the SPRINT program and our goals for all of this international travel, learning and service you’ll read about on these pages.

 

University-sponsored short-term missions at Seattle Pacific University date back to the early 1960s; participants in Operation Outreach, later renamed Seattle Pacific Reachout INTernational, have volunteered in countries around the world for many years.  Serving in teams alongside in-country local leadership, the objective of SPRINT trips has always been to provide needed help, a witness to the Gospel and important learning opportunities for college students.

 

Today SPRINT is advised and supported by SPU’s John Perkins Center for Reconciliation, Leadership Training and Community Development. Perkins Center staff (that’s me) and student leaders partner to recruit, train and send the SPRINT teams you’re reading about this summer.

 

It’s important for us to connect students with effective, sustainable, community-developing work that promotes long-term transformation rather than the negative, dependency-creating outcomes sometimes associated with short-term missions.  To that end, our pre-trip training and host-partner selection focus on a set of values outlined by the Christian Community Development Association, emphasizing local leadership development, empowerment and reconciliation that bridges both social and spiritual gaps. Our hope is that students will learn from effective community engagement models and apply these lessons to their future work, wherever God leads them.

 

Another key aspect of the SPRINT process is our emphasis on post-trip reflection and application.  Neat experiences, great photos and fun stories about new foods do not equal life transformation.  However, when students are intentional in reflecting on their experiences, learning take-aways and challenges of the trip they’re more likely to discover God at work throughout the trip experience and beyond.

 

To encourage the reflection process we’ll send each student a copy of the Global Citizen Journal, published by the Krista Foundation for Global Service as he or she returns home.  The journal highlights the importance of incorporating service and mission experiences into one’s life through reflection and application.  You might find this sample article interesting:  In “Staying for Tea” Aaron Ausland reflects on the importance of long-term commitment and listening to community in order to find one’s place of effectiveness as an outsider coming in.

 

Thanks again for your support of students as they participate in SPRINT this summer.  If you’d like more information on the program, ways to give or ways to be involved, please contact me at (206) 281-2932 or owen@spu.edu.

 

Owen Sallee

SPRINT Advisor

Last few hours before we leave…

We’re waiting to be picked up to be taken to the airport and we’re a little melancholy to be leaving. This month flew by and it seems strange to be going home. However we can’t wait to share our stories with everyone about the different ways we encountered God in India.

Saturday morning, we returned to the third school and found out we were leading the AWANA program that day. We made an impromptu skit on the Good Samaritan with Jasmine starring as the donkey and sang many songs with the kids. It was really great to be back at that school and see the students there again. It was a very joyful morning.

Sunday we had our last church service on campus.

Yesterday, Monday, we returned to campus to debrief about our trip with our hosts. We fit in some last minute shopping as well and it was fun to explore the city one last night.

This morning we decided to spend our last day by returning to NTR gardens and rode the park rides again for the last time. It was a nice way to end our morning before we returned to the hotel to pack our belongings.

That wraps up our adventures in India and see you all in the States.

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Team cuddling

PS. At the hotel we met another team from Nebraska that had originally fundraised the money to build the second school we visited. This year they’re making a documentary which will be on http://www.breakingthecyclefilm.com . There’s an introduction video about the Dalits and the second school that we enjoyed watching and wanted to share with you guys as well.

Only four days left….

We can’t believe our trip is coming to an end soon! It seems strange to know that we’re done teaching and will be back in the States. We’re praying for a smooth transition!

Our visit to the fourth school was unexpectedly cut short when it was decided that school would be canceled on Friday due to a village festival. We were sad to lose a day with the children that we had grown fond of. Expect more pictures soon…

Since we had today, Friday, off, the team went and visited the Qutub Shahi tombs, the only place in the world where a whole dynasty of royalty is buried. The tombs were beautiful and we thoroughly enjoyed exploring the area.

Afterwards, we went to visit the NTR gardens by the lake that we visited last weekend. We had expected open gardens and colorful flowers but instead found a haunted house, an illusion hall, and more slightly shady amusement park rides. We enjoyed our time there as well though and also got mehndi, or henna tattoos, on our hands.

Tomorrow we’ll be spending our morning back at our third school in the slums to help with their AWANA program. We’re excited to see the students and staff again and be back in the neighborhood. We’ll blog with more
updates soon!

Home soon

Hello, friends!

After a month in India, the team will return to the States next week. As you prepare to receive them, here are some things I hope you’ll think about to help the team make the most of this trip.

For those of you meeting students at the airport, here’s flight information:

Julia, Jasmine and Youngjoo return to Seattle on August 1 at 11:15 am on Lufthansa 490.

Kelsey returns to San Francisco on August 1 at 4:08 pm on Alaska 316.

Amanda returns to Los Angeles on August 1 at 7:33 on Alaska 476.

As the group returns, they’ll continue to think through this experience and its implications for their lives. It’s likely that this mental processing will involve at least some of these elements:

· Relief upon returning to familiar surroundings,

· Frustration with aspects of home culture that appear less desirable than the cultural values experienced during the SPRINT experience,

· Sadness and joy over relationships and memories developed during the trip,

· And hopefully, Resolve to incorporate the learning from this trip into daily life as life moves on.

It’s our hope that SPRINT participants will return to “life as usual” with expanded worldviews and a clearer sense of God’s work in their lives. The learning process continues after the trip experience; students will participate in a debriefing gathering in October, and will be encouraged to continue meeting with their SPRINT team to share the story of their host’s work and encourage future generations of SPRINT participants to serve.

I encourage you to give your student time to catch up on sleep, then set aside an extended period of time to share pictures and stories. Don’t expect completely-formed opinions immediately; the reflection process takes time. We remind returning SPRINTers that not everyone will have time to hear the whole story, but that they should find a few people with whom to share the longer, more in-depth account.

I’ve mailed team members some discussion questions and a copy of the Global Citizen Journal, published by the Krista Foundation for Global Citizenship (www.kristafoundation.org), to help them think through their experience as they move forward. If you’ve got time, I’d encourage you to talk though some of these materials with your student.

Thanks for your support of students on this team! Please let me know if you have questions.

Owen.

Weekend and start of the 4th week!

This weekend, we were very adventurous in the city of Hyderabad! First, we went to a mall which was very Americanized; we felt pretty awkward there but it was definitely an experience. Then we went to Lumbini Park which is on the lake near our hotel. From this park, we caught a boat to the Buddha statue that sits in the middle of the lake. That was also an experience, seeing the dark green water and giant Buddha statue consecrated by the Dalai lama on a rainy day. Afterwards, we walked around the park, went on the Revolving Tower and a kiddie car ride, two of the sketchy rides at the park. They were basically awesome! After that we went to a laser show which played Indian music and told the story of the city of Hyderabad. We enjoyed being out in the city and seeing the nightlife for a little bit.
We just started our 4th and final school. It is an hour and a half drive to get there so it is very scenic and lots of bonding happens in the car. The school is in a farming community and very small since it is only kindergarten to 5th grade. The kids are adorable as always and very smart. We are very excited to see what God will show us here. Please keep us in your prayers that we do His will. Thanks for following our blog and more updates to come!
PS YJ and Jasmine want all our viewers at home to know about the animals around here. Today we witnessed a butterfly migration and a chameleon crossing the road. That a bad joke waiting to happen. Hope you enjoy the animal update!

School three

Hello again,
These last few days have been eventful for Team India. We started this week at our third school which we were surprised to find out is in the heart of the slums. It was a rough adjustment for all of us seeing the stark difference from the countryside last week. We’re faced with poverty every moment of the day. But we also find encouragement from the joy we see in the students and teachers.

Yesterday, Tuesday, we had the opportunity to visit some other slum villages due to a strike in the city that had school canceled. It was a blessing to be able to worship and fellowship with the village believers. They were extremely hospitable and welcomed us graciously. They told us their stories and their day to day struggles for security, food, and stability. We were surprised to find out that many of the children we met there attend the first school we visited.

After visiting the slums, we decided to visit a beauty parlor run by women rescued from trafficking. In the spirit of adventure, Jasmine, YJ, and Julia got impromptu haircuts which turned out differently than anticipated for some of them. We were glad to be able to support their ministry though.

We have two more days at the third school and we are seeing God at work in the lives of the students and ourselves. Some specific prayer requests we have are for clarity and discernment for the team and for the physical and spiritual needs of the students. Thank you for your prayers!

Second school and adventures!

Hello all from India! We cannot believe our last day at our second school is tomorrow. We have fallen in love with the kids and staff, even though it has been hard getting the kids to settle down and listen to us. They love our songs and games especially the song boom chicka boom boom and the game Scattegories. This school is an hour drive away from the city but we love the scenery and community the whole way. It is mostly farmland with lots of animals and flora. We daily run into goat traffic when we are close to the school. At the school they have geese, turkey, and guinea hens as guards. They watch out for cobras around the school boundary and make loud noises when they see them so the watchman can come and kill the cobras. Sometimes the turkey just shows up to classes on occasion. Sadly the turkey is two feet from the grave. The manager has been extremely welcoming along with the whole staff who ensure we have a fair amount of breaks. One of our favorite staff members is the PE teacher. The children tend to fear him while we envy his authority and control over them. He is the only one who can walk into a classroom and the children automatically get silent. The children have been teaching us their favorite games and a few Telugu words. Their favorite game is kabbaddi which we are asked to play multiple times a day. It involves some form of tagging, grabbing, and running but we still do not really understand it. Although at the end of the day we are tired it is easy to see Gods face in the children’s joy and enthusiasm. We are excited to see what lies ahead but it will be sad to say goodbye to this school. Keep us in your prayers and thoughts. More updates to come!