By Madison Adams
For many students, spring break is a nine-day break from the chaos of midterms and a chance to let off some steam after those long All-University Sing rehearsals have finally ended.
Many Baylor students have had their condos booked and bikinis packed since January for their shot at the perfect college spring break at destinations such as South Padre or Destin, Fla.
It might come as a surprise, however, to know there will be other groups of Baylor students spending their days of freedom serving people through Baylor Missions.
Holly Widick, Baylor’s coordinator for global missions, said these short spring break trips are gaining momentum.
“This is the third year that we have really promoted spring break missions,” Widick said.
“This year we have 26 teams, most of which occur during the May mini-mester. But during spring break, we have six different teams.”
Six teams may seem like a small number but logistically spring break missions are difficult to plan.
“Imagine trying to get spring break flights to anywhere in the world. It makes it really difficult to make the trips cost effective and to where the students do not spend half of their trip on a plane,” Widick said.
This year Baylor Missions is going to South America visiting the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala and two teams serving in Belize.
There will also be one team staying in Texas and serving in the city of Eagle Pass.
Attendance at Baylor over the years for spring break mission trips continues to increase, and Widick said this is partly due to the programs providing specific activities that students can engage with and leave feeling that they have had an impact on the community that goes beyond just construction work or leading a local vacation bible school.
Converse junior Christy Hinz said, “I decided to join the Guatemala trip specifically, because it is a medical mission trip. Being pre-med, I love being able to put my faith, education and passion all into practice, as well as see what life as a missions doctor really looks like.”
In fact, most of the trips are discipline specific and lead by faculty in the student’s specific area of study.
The Belize trip is focused on childhood development so most of the team is composed of family and consumer science or early childhood education majors.
“We are trying to find ways that you can take what you are learning in the classroom and apply it to an international or domestic service context,” Widick said.
The Men’s leadership program is new team that will be sent to the Dominican Republic and will be allowed opportunities to teach the skills and methods they have learned in their Baylor Business classes to the people of the Dominican Republic.
“A lot of the guys are friends and in the same fraternity, so once we realized everyone was business majors we talked with our partners and they found opportunities for the guys to be involved in entrepreneurship lessons, as well as teaching about accounting and finance,” Widick said.
During her time working at Baylor, Widick has found that the toughest part about spring break missions is the small window of time.
“Spring break missions are hard. There is only so much you can do but at the same time being involved for just a short time changes you … It puts you outside of your comfort zone and allows you to see where you can impact you community back home and get involved,” Widick said.
There are multiple ways that a student can spend their spring break, from laying on the beach in Florida to hitting the slopes in Colorado.
For Hinz, however, she could not imagine a better spring break.
“Honestly, I couldn’t see a better time spending my week than being abroad, with my friends, experiencing a new culture, spreading the love of the Lord, and helping those around us learn more about how to stay healthy,” Hinz said.
Spring break mission trips are not for everyone but when thinking about how to spend your vacation, think about dedicating a few days or hours to get what Widick describes as a “quick taste of what it is like to serve.”