On a Mission for God (revised)

by Tiffany B. Talley

  Frank, 70-year-old Acorn Trace Senior Housing resident was unable to do simple tasks in his home as his health took a toll on him. A group of USF student volunteers saw a need, gathered some tools and got to work. 

Steven Mayock was one of these students. A resident in the USF Leadership House, Mayock studies servant leadership and finds volunteering a cherished experience.  

It starts with a love of God, and people. Mission trips provide a variety of unique opportunities to respectfully serve and experience other cultures. A commitment to any one of our mission projects yields a myriad of opportunities to be challenged to grow, be of service, be humbled, and be forever changed. 

Here at USF, these student-led organizational advised projects provide grounds for amazing and often life-changing experiences.  They also require extensive preparation and fundraising.  Each project is carefully designed to facilitate growth in spirituality, servant leadership, intercultural understanding, social justice, and the connection between service and learning.   

“It definitely stimulates personal growth. Mission trips take you out of your comfort zone when you are serving other people”, said Kylie McCracken of USF Christian Challenge Baptist Collegiate Ministries.  

McCracken, along with 50-60 students participate in mission trips to England, Peru, Africa, Australia, Mexico and most recently New Orleans to participate in the Hurricane Katrina clean up.  

“Our soul passion is to love God and our neighbor with all we have,” reads the banner that hangs in the lobby of the organization. Students raise funding and receive support from local churches to finance mission trips taken.  

It could happen to anyone,” said Mayock as he reflected on an alternate spring-break trip sponsored by the non-religious affiliated USF Center for Civic Engagement and Volunteerism. Mayock and other students traveled to Washington D.C. to work in a homeless shelter alongside Creative for Community Non-Violence (CFCNV) 

Jennifer Smith, Director of USF Crosswinds Wesley Foundation agrees with Mayock. 

“Mission trips give you a sense of love for all people. God loves you, you should love others,” she said. 

Crosswinds of USF recently re-opened as a ministry in January of this year. Already off to a fast start, the servant –minded organization provides services to local homeless shelters and domestic violence shelters including food give-aways.

They will participate in an AIDS Awareness “Walk-through South Africa” experience in connection with the Van Dyke Church on November 16, 2007. In addition to its service in local communities, USF Crosswinds supports and sponsors two South African children. Njabuliso Gwebu, ages 3, of Swaziland and Memory Tembo, age 2, of Zambia are children of AIDS ridden families that receive care from Crosswinds every month through fundraising from concerts and donations.  

USF Crosswinds along with other service organizations will participate in “One Voice,” a Thanksgiving service held on November 19, 2007 at 8:00pm in ENA 105. 

USF provides several opportunities to get involved in serving the community through its Center for Civic Engagement and Volunteerism located in the basement of the Marshall Center. Though it is not religiously affiliated, the Center offers different resources to get involved and provide memorable and valuable experiences of a lifetime, not to mention boost your resume.  

Gaelle Pierre, USF student and Volunteer Service Coordinator participated in a Stampede of Service where she along with other USF students helped clean the yard of a 90-year-old Tampa resident. 

 “You’re just unaware of people in the community and their needs until you’ve experienced it”, she said. 

All and all, USF provides different venues for volunteerism in accordance to religious or non-religious values, so suit up and get on board! 

“We might do little things, but we make big impacts,” said McCracken as she reflected on her mission trip to New Orleans.


One Response to “On a Mission for God (revised)”

  1. Idetrorce Says:

    very interesting, but I don’t agree with you

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