May 29, 2024

Students Studying and Serving Over Winter Break

New York missions trip team poses for photo. Courtesy of Anna Lewis.

By Makayela Isbell ’20
Staff Reporter

This winter break, Gordon offered a number of study and service opportunities across the country and the world. 

Anna Lewis (‘18) spent her Christmas break in New York City through a Gordon missions trip program. The aim of the Relief Bus is to “give hope to people that are on the streets.”

The Relief Bus is a mobile resource center that is based out of New Jersey and goes into New York City, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Chelsea Park, and more.

Lewis said she “grew a lot as a person and the team was fantastic.”

Lewis also said she learned “how to have joy amidst hard things… [because] joy isn’t always smiling and laughter. Sometimes it’s just sitting with someone amidst whatever they’re going through and being with them.”

One of the reasons given for her going on the trip was that she wanted to change her attitude towards homeless people, and that she “couldn’t really do that unless [she] acted on it.”

One man, named Mike, impacted Lewis in particular. Lewis said his “big thing was just getting a pair of shoes that fit his feet right.”

Lewis explained that this particular moment was “really hard for me because if I had the money I could go out the door get a pair of shoes and come back, and give it to him.”

The trip was led by Jenna Crosbie (‘18) and alumna Sarah Min. Eleven students attended the trip where they learned about how Canadian and Chinese creative cooperation works.

Courtney Olbrich (‘18), however, went on the Natural History of Belize trip through a Gordon program.

Olbrich said this trip had been on her radar since she was a freshman at Gordon and that it allowed her to “have a more holistic picture of biology.”

She also mentioned that while on the trip the group participated in “cave floating,” where one climbs up into a cave against a current, then, once at the top, you float back down.

Along with this, there was also history and culture incorporated into the trip. Olbrich said they “spent a day exploring a cave that used to be inhabited by the Mayan people” and was able to see remains and broken pottery in the cave.

While the trip was full of adventures, there was also coursework involved. Olbrich explained that there were 2 to 3 hours of coursework a day and that they mainly studied the conservation of endangered species of animals and plants.

The trip was led by Dr. Gregory Keller of the Biology department and included 17 total students.

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