By Casey Pigg
When someone thinks of a mission trip, much of the time, traveling to a distant and impoverished country is what comes to mind. Walking dirt roads lined with small cottages or huts in a remote location around the world as children play and shout to each other in a language that you may or may not understand.
When someone thinks of a mission trip, they don’t typically envision four lane highways and nicely paved roads. A modern urban landscape filled with people who look, sound, act, and think in very similar ways as you.
However, that is exactly where Quincy University’s Cru went. QU Cru was given the opportunity to spend a week in New Orleans with roughly 70 other Cru members from around the St. Louis area to serve the community.
“Many fellow students on this trip spoke about how their idea of mission work has greatly changed because of the process of our service” Allyson Hoener, on of the leaders of QU’s Cru, said. “We had both physical and relationship-based service. Physical labor is often the easiest to think of, yet that mindset fails to collaborate and build each other in ways which are greater than we are. Sharing our perspectives and hearing so many others, allowed us to build a community with people we would never have naturally met up with otherwise.”
While in New Orleans, the Cru members partnered with the Nola Tree Project to do a variety of service throughout the week. This involved planting trees to replace the ones that died during Hurricane Katrina. New Orleans lost over 100,000 trees to that hurricane alone, which is devastating to the ecosystem. Cru also helped do maintenance at both a charter school in the area and at the New Orleans Covenant House, a homeless shelter for young adults.
Robin Young, the program director for Nola Tree Project, has been working with the students of Cru on their yearly New Orleans mission trip for the last five years.
“I love it so much. My parents helped start Campus Crusade (Cru) in the early ’60s with Bill Bright. So, for me, it’s incredibly special to have the Cru kids come back year after year,” Young said.
It is very clear that while the Cru students are there, they are working hard. The day that they planted trees at the Louisiana Nature Center, they planted over 600 trees.
While this trip was focused on service, another huge element of it was fellowship as well.
“What I got most out of my trip was this awesome sense of community from the different St Louis campuses I had the opportunity to build relationships with over the week,” Emily Novelli, a QU Cru member, said. “It means a lot to know that there is a sense of home in these different people I got to meet.”
No matter where a mission trip may be, the central themes are the same; service, fellowship, and love. This is even true just a few hours away from home.
“My parents always taught me growing up that the best sermons are lived, not preached. That has basically been the tenant of my life. Putting love into action. That, for me, is what you get when you come on a trip like this,” Young said. “You get all kinds of fun and great comradery. But more than anything, you get to put Christ’s love into action.”