Every year the College helps sponsor mission trips so that students can have an opportunity to serve and use their talents and abilities to further God’s kingdom. This past year students had the opportunity to travel to places like Arizona and the Dominican Republic. In order to give you a little glimpse of the ICO Mission Trips, I wanted to briefly touch upon a few that happened over this past year.
During Thanksgiving break, the College sent out students to Rhode Island and New York City. During the New York City ICO they participated in a lot of street ministry. They spent part of everyday dedicated to interviewing people in various parks and train stations around Manhattan. They spent the beginning of their trip working with the Christian Youth Theatre (CYT) and the second half of their trip they spent time at the New York City Rescue Mission (NYCRM) helping with odd jobs around the organization. The trip itself was around $175 per person. In order to raise money for the trip, the group hosted a “Professor Bake-Off,” where some Professors submitted baked goods which were sampled and voted upon by students for $1. There were a total of eight professors that submitted baked goods and they were able to raise a couple hundred dollars in order to lower the overall price per person. And finally, in order to prepare for the trip spiritually, all the team members came together to share their testimonies, have devotions and spend time getting to know each other better before the trip transpired. On one of these nights, they had a Bonfire Worship Night in addition to their regular meetings.
During Christmas break the College sent out students to Jamaica, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic and Honduras. During the Jamaica ICO students worked for Robin’s Nest Children’s Home by building relationships with the kids, teaching in the onsite school, construction work around the building, as well as meeting immediate needs around the home. Each year they participate as a team in a big project for the Children’s Home. This year they built a shelter and a work bench as per the Children’s Home request and because it matched the skill set of the various team members that went. In order to go on the ICO each student had to raise around $1,100-1,400. The main way these students raised financial support for their trip was in the form of support letters. Given the steep financial load of the trip, the students had the entire summer to raise money. However, during the semester leading up to the trip, the team would meet for weekly bible studies, meals and meetings about the details of the trip. They also do something called “Iron Sharpens Iron,” otherwise referred to as ISI, where the team splits into groups of three. Each group then comes up with something fun to do together at some point during the week to help promote team bonding. This could include Sheetz runs, playing cards, coffee trips, Frisbee and more. They also participated in other various team bonding activities throughout the Fall semester like paint Twister, Christmas caroling at Grove City Manor, Christmas movie marathons, milkshake runs, morning yoga and more.
And finally, during Easter break the College sent out students to Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, Ohio, California, Illinois and Arizona. According to leaders Caroline Baker and Evan Gourley, during the Arizona ICO they participated in various work projects on the Life in Christ Church’s property. They also served in the community by painting, replacing ceilings, walls, and floors, as well as staining wooden fences and playgrounds around the area. They also helped serve in the church’s homeless feeding ministry, passed out fliers in the neighborhood for upcoming events and helped with a Palm Sunday service in the park. In order to fund the trip the students teamed up with local businesses like Hoss’s Steak and Sea House where 10% of every patron’s bill, that had a flyer supporting the ICO team, was given to the students to help fund their trip. They also used support letters to ask their friends and family to help them fund the $400-900 trip. They also sold pepperoni rolls to students, faculty and the local community in order to help fund their trip. In addition, the school provided around $150 to help each the students’ expenses. And finally, in order to prepare for the trip the team had weekly meetings that included get-to-know-you games, information about the location and the trip and emotional and spiritual preparation for the team and as individuals.
No matter where you go, or what you do while you are there, these teams always have a different experience than the last. Each ICO team is unique with different struggles and challenges, but all of them have the same desire to use their talents and abilities to serve the Lord.
To learn more about ICO, visit the ICO web page!