After praying for the collegiate team from Penn State and Clarion Universities, we were excited to hear how the week went. For most of the college students, it was the first time they went on a trip to serve others who were affected by a disaster. This is our interview with Eric Reiber, campus minister at Penn State University.
Who did you serve during your week in Detroit?
During our week in Michigan, we served 4 families who were hit by a flood in 2014. Each of them had at least a foot and a half of water in their basements during the flood. The Southern Baptist Disaster Relief effort is now rebuilding the basements for these families. The families consisted of widows, single mothers, and a young family.
What kind of Disaster Relief work did your team do?
We spent most of the week putting up drywall, mudding the walls, painting, and finishing the trim. At the same time, some of our team would take time to sit and chat with the home owners about their experience and then pray for them.
How did the students react to what they saw?
To be honest, three of the four homes were worked on extensively before we got there. Therefore, for a while the students questioned how much of an impact they were making. However, we talked about how we are part of a larger body that God is using to provide for these families.
Did the students enjoy being part of a DR team serving others in need?
The students really enjoyed the trip. There were no big mountain top sermons or worship, just consistent fellowship and service. However, as I have debriefed with students they each had moments of spiritual growth in the trip. One student talked boldly about her faith for the first time. Another student, who is not a believer, said this trip moved her to wanting to attend a church this summer with some of our team.
As for the families, after a year and a half of basement issues, they were just relieved to get it done.
What was the greatest lesson learned?
This trip was about serving. For our team that meant working together with some strangers to serve, and then in the morning and evening being served by SBC long term volunteers. I think the trip showed a great example for most of the team on the subject of humility.