‘Men and women for others’ all year long

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

Many college students look forward to spring break as a time of relaxation at home or on the beach, but for many SLU students, this year’s spring break was a chance to travel and serve others through various mission trips.

Campus ministry sponsored nine spring breakout mission trips this year, traveling both domestically and internationally to places such as El Salvador, Appalachia and Navajo Nation. Some trips were open to all SLU students, and some trips were for specific groups, such as Greek Life or the John Cook Business School.

“I chose to go on a breakout trip because I wanted to make the most of my time off this spring,” said sophomore Claire Moll. Moll decided to go abroad to El Salvador for her mission trip.

“I chose to go to El Salvador specifically because I study the politics and educational development of Latin America,” she said. “I was also interested in the El Salvador trip as it was not really a trip of service, but one of immersion.”

The trip to El Salvador trip was one that focused greatly on solidarity.Students were able to immerse themselves in the culture of the country and hear about the Salvadorans’ experiences, including a 12-year war that took place during the 1980s.
“We traveled around the country talking to people who had lived through [the war] and were greatly affected by it,” Moll said.
Junior Maya Rao, who echoed a similar reason for going on a mission trip, chose to stay in the U.S. with the trip to the Navajo Nation in Klagetoh, Ark.

“I wanted to do something special with my spring break. I wanted to get to know a different culture within the U.S.,” she said. “Native Americans are such a huge part of our history, and I wanted to get to know more about that.”
The trip to Navajo Nation was a mixture of both service and solidarity. Students worked at various service sites throughout the week in addition to participating in traditional Navajo rituals.
    Rao worked on a house for the majority of the week.
“They just don’t have very much at all,” Rao said.  
She helped in pulling up flooring and replacing it with new floors, installing a new door, and painting. Cultural immersion activities included a talking circle, a Navajo ritual that Rao stated was a “powerful experience of community and communion.” They also attended Mass and Stations of the Cross.
As a Jesuit University, SLU encourages its students to serve others for the greater glory of God. Mission trips offer a unique way of carrying out that Jesuit ideal.
“I gained a new, more humble view on the world. The realities that people are living in El Salvador are so different from any of the realities in the U.S.,” Moll said.
“I gained a better understanding of my fellow human and the trials that he faces every day.” Rao acquired an “awareness of realizing people have a severe lack of resources in the U.S.,” in addition to the technical skills she got on the trip, such as learning to use a power saw.
The Navajo people were so grateful to the SLU group, but Rao said that she was equally grateful that they were so welcoming to them and gave them such a wonderful spring break experience.
Campus ministry offers breakout mission trips every spring break, as well as an upcoming trip early this summer to Belize.