From March 8th-16th, two groups through Ferris called FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) and FCS (Fellowship of Christian Students) traveled to Live Oak, Florida on a mission trip to fix homes that were damaged by floods from tropical storms last summer. They worked on a lot of drywall, and did a lot of mudding and sanding. FCA and FCS also helped prepare a house for demolition. FCS member Jenna Grimm was in charge of taking down all the wiring for the demo house. “The owners of the demo house made us hamburgers for lunch one day. We had a blast,” Jenna told. “The church we visited paid for us to go to a local concert/karaoke restaurant called the Spirit of the Suwannee because they were so grateful we came. Another local church made us dinner one night.”
Besides working hard on rebuilding or demolition, students and athletes enjoyed a day off at the beach. “I enjoyed taking a day off at the beach, playing a lot of card games together, and just hanging out as a group in the evenings,” FCS member Janelle Dykstra said. “Our pastor, Pastor Mike, gave a few messages at night. I’ve never been on a mission trip before, and it was cool to spend so much of my own time during that week to help others… The entire Live Oak community was so thankful for what we did for them, and it only took a week. I am so glad I got to be a part of it.” Janelle stressed how amazing it is to be a part of a community of believers. She benefits from hearing Pastor Mike speak, due to his ways to put things in perspective when an intimidating week is upon students. “Pastor Mike is an amazing man!” she exclaimed. “He is devoted to college kids, and here for us if we need to talk or need a favor. He’s fun to be around and encourages my faith.”
Yet another FCS member, LeAnne Barstow, agrees that the FCS and FCA are extremely beneficial to the lives of the students that participate. “It’s an awesome spiritual experience, teaching new lessons and reminding us of the things we have forgotten we’re blessed with,” she reasoned. “Attending FCS is always uplifting. The people that go are supportive and genuine. FCS also provided me with the opportunity to go on the alternative spring break mission trip.”
The FCA and FCS have a pastor, as mentioned previously. Pastor Mike enjoys working with some of Ferris’ sports teams through the FCA. He works with many teams, but primarily spends time with the men’s football team and the women’s soccer team. Jason VanderLaan, an Honors student on Ferris’ football team, is a part of the FCA because he’s been a Christian his entire life and believes it’s important to be around other Christians and enjoy their fellowship. “Being in Honors and on the football team is definitely a little challenging, primarily when it comes to service hours and cultural events,” Jason said. “During the fall, my time is consumed with football and it’s very hard to fit in service hours.” Even though it can be tough, Jason still believes he benefits from being in the Honors Program and being on a recognized sports team. He loves having his own room to relax and study by himself. Jason can also focus on football in peace. “This past year, [the football team] had a phenomenal year- especially for the first year for this coaching staff. We continued to improve on our record. For instance, winning the Anchor Bone Classic against Grand Valley for the first time in 7 years,” Jason proudly told. “We beat Michigan Tech for the first time in 10 years, along with a big win over the national runner up, Wayne State.” Jason thanks Pastor Mike for helping the team on the road to victory. “Pastor Mike does an excellent job of being involved in the lives of the players. He is always around the sports complex and out at practice, whether he is encouraging us or stopping by to say “Hi!”. He leads the team in a little chapel before every game for whoever wants to attend.”
Many others accompanied Jenna, LeAnne, Jason, and Janelle on the mission trip. There was a total of 34 people that gave up their personal time to provide service, faith, and smiles in Live Oak, Florida.
This article was written by Endeavor editor, Logan Bixman. Pictures from student Jenna Grimm.