Vol­un­teers from Hillsdale College trav­elled to Flint, Michigan, to clean up the grounds near aban­doned homes, during the spring break mission trip. Hans Noyes | Courtesy

While some stu­dents worked on their tans this spring break, others worked through the chilly Michigan weather, serving the Hillsdale com­munity.

For a fourth year, a group of stu­dents orga­nized a week-long mission trip to share the gospel and serve the com­munity in Hillsdale. About 35 people vol­un­teered with various com­munity orga­ni­zation as well as cleaned up neigh­bor­hoods in Flint, Michigan.

Senior Kathryn Lewis, who started the annual trip with Shelley Peters ’15, said the mission trip has two goals.

“The first is to spread the gospel in the Hillsdale com­munity by meeting rela­tional, emo­tional, spir­itual, and physical needs,” Lewis said in an email. “The second is for real and rich dis­ci­pleship to happen in the lives of college stu­dents par­tic­i­pating.”

The group spent Sat­urday in Flint, helping clean up dif­ferent neigh­bor­hoods and areas. It spent the rest of the week in Hillsdale. Vol­un­teers helped A Few Good Men with manual labor projects for Hillsdale res­i­dents, spent time with children at the Com­munity Action Agency preschool, dis­tributed food at Sal­vation Army, and visited people at Hillsdale Hos­pital. They also held a lunch on Tuesday for the cus­todial, main­te­nance, Bon Appètit Man­agement Co., and security staff, to thank them for their work.

For some stu­dents, staying to serve in Hillsdale was a way to refresh and connect with others, they said.

“It’s actually really restful, because at school, there is a lot of focus on yourself, and your grades, and achieving,” said junior Emily Barnum, who went on the trip for the third time this year, “Getting the focus off yourself and toward others is really grounding, and it can actually be really encour­aging.”

Junior Summer Burk­holder, who helped plan the trip, said she enjoyed working with stu­dents with a passion for service.

“I enjoyed meeting stu­dents who care about the Hillsdale com­munity and are aware of the city we inhabit during our college years,” Burk­holder said.

The trip is also a time for spir­itual reju­ve­nation, par­tic­i­pants said. During the week, the group did devo­tionals and held times for worship, and speakers spoke on the devo­tional topics.

“We deeply desire to see tan­gible growth in our own walks with the Lord, and this almost always happens when you are sur­rounded by the Christian com­munity and walking in the way of the cross through emp­tying yourself just as Jesus emptied himself,” Lewis said.

Although the mission trip focuses on Chris­tianity, it is open to all stu­dents, Lewis said.

“This is some­thing that I am so pas­sionate about,” she said. “I really believe that the mission trip can change lives and the com­munity in amazing and tan­gible ways.”