2011 Spring Break Reports

God is working in and through our spring break opportunities.

College students around the nation redefine Spring Break as mission, not mayhem. Photo courtesy Amy Saunders

Urban Project Columbus Spring Break 2011

By Barbie Bilko

For Spring Break 2011, several student-athletes from Ohio State, Wright State, Virginia Tech, Marshall, Cincinnati, Ohio University, and Southern California embarked on a typical adventurous break.

Our destination was merely 3 blocks from a college campus—but we could have traveled three worlds away in those 3 blocks to Thompson Rec Center. In those 3 blocks our eyes and hearts were opened to see a glimpse of what God sees and what breaks His heart.

For this Spring Break mission trip, sponsored by Athletes in Action, these other student-athletes and myself are living at Thompson Rec Center in the city of Columbus.

We’re serving at 3 different ministry sites throughout the city: elementary schools on the east side, Franklinton Gardens where a group is serving by manual labor, and serving at our home-base at Thompson Rec.

The theme of this project was to see God’s heart and dialogue about issues of race, poverty, and injustice in the world. We did not just dialogue about these issues and see what God’s word says about them, but we experienced them firsthand.

We learned of the three R’s of Urban Ministry: Relocation, Reconciliation, and Redistribution, and were able to apply them by relocating into the communities we were serving to really get to know people, the areas, and their respective needs, with the gospel as the centerpoint.

We experienced a broken world firsthand by encountering theft of laptops in the Rec Center while we were praying outside for our food at a cookout. We were able to talk with the young man and apply reconciliation to love him after a wrongdoing because we have hope in a Savior who has conquered sin.

We have had to deal with deaths of friends’ loved ones this week, poverty, injustice, race, and see the need in a world aching for a coming Savior.

If anything, this week has opened my eyes and heart to yearn for Christ’s return, rejoice in the hope of the cross, and pour out that love on the entire kingdom of God, especially those on the fringes of society, because of the Father’s deep love and compassion.

It motivates me to stop, feel, and have compassion on all of human kind to yearn for that community with the Lord that was, is, and yet to come.


Big Break – Campus Ministry

By Chassity Matlick

As I stepped out of my car, I smelled the familiar scent of salt water mixed with the unfamiliar stench of alcohol. I had officially arrived in Panama City Beach, Fla.

Every year students from all over the U.S. come to this popular spot to “let loose” for a week free from exams, papers and professors. It was similar to what I used to catch a glimpse of on MTV or what I see today on The Jersey Shore.

However, in the midst of the partying, alcohol and sun block there is one group that seems to set an off-balance to this familiar picture.

A thousand college students with a different purpose hit the beach with one question in mind: “Do you want to know God personally?”

Brooke Conner, a junior at University North Carolina Wilmington, came to Big Break with this question. She is ready to influence people with her love for Jesus Christ.

Brooke grew up knowing about Christ, but began to walk away from her relationship with Him while she was in high school. This was a pattern that continued into college where she became very involved on campus, becoming a leader of organizations, mentor and sorority sister.

Her life was shaping up the way she planned, but God had even bigger plans for her.

The idea of spring break wasn’t new to Brooke. She said it was normal for her to go somewhere for spring break, drink and have a good time.

This spring break is different; Brooke is different. This year she wants to see the party-driven spring breakers come to know her Savior.

“It really does touch my heart to want to talk to people about Him,” she said.

Brooke brought along a sorority sister who, through Big Break, is challenged to go back to campus to reach their sorority for Christ.

Her passion for wanting to tell others about Jesus was contagious and I wanted to catch it. She wants to reach not only people here but everywhere.

“I don’t want to go through life making my own plans,” says Brooke. “I want to be able to live my life for Him now, not later, and give Him all of the glory everyday.”


Urban Immersion Detroit – Here's Life Inner City

By Charlie Clausen

The Here's Life Inner City Urban Immersion Detroit Spring Break trip for me was amazing!  

Growing up in Grand Rapids, MI, I knew that Detroit needed help in so many ways. When I heard Ball State Cru was sending a group there for spring break I was really excited and signed up right away. 

I expected to have fun, help out here and there, and share the gospel.

I didn’t expect to have my view of the city rocked and my heart broken for it and see the way the God is working in Detroit.

The first day we met people from IUP, which was the other school we served with. Sunday we spent all afternoon getting to know each other while exploring downtown.

Throughout the trip we heard from local pastors about God’s heart for the city, the poor, the unity of the body, and for the lost.

The message about the city really had an impact on me when it was pointed out how the Bible is full stories of God’s heart for cities.

We were also given a devotional for the week. One day we studied Jonah which painted a very clear picture for me of God’s heart for even the most wicked of cities.

We were also able to serve in many different ways on the trip.

We all witnessed at a homeless shelter and at Wayne State University which is in downtown Detroit.

We also had several options for our outreaches during the day. They included helping out at churches, local elementary/middle schools, and an outreach center.

I chose to serve at the middle school helping out seventh graders with math. Experiencing an inner city school was like nothing else. Over the last few years, I have developed a passion for urban kids and I’ve always liked math. After helping out there, I am considering becoming a middle school math teacher.

God did amazing work on this trip, not only through all of us students who went, but on us as well. Many of us had our eyes truly opened to God’s view of the city.

It was so encouraging to see what God is doing in a place that some people in America have forgotten about or given a bad reputation.

If the sign up for next spring break was tomorrow I would definitely sign up again and encourage anyone who wants to see God at work to do the same!