Wait, so you didn’t go on a mission trip? What did you do while you were down there? You guys just had fun the whole time? 

Those are a few of the questions we get asked about our spring break trip every year. This is the 3rd time we’ve sent a group of students to South Carolina from St. Cloud. Each year, the number of students interested in the trip has grown. We brought 15 students with on the trip this year including both believing and unbelieving students. During the first morning of the trip, I shared 3 goals with the group that I was praying for out of the trip. 

  1. That they would have a lot of fun
  2. That they would be surprised by Jesus
  3. That they would consider spending a summer there

The whole trip was a blast! There were numerous days where I had to slap myself because I couldn’t believe that I was working. Elisa (my staff partner) and I planned something fun for the group each day.

Day 1 included a lot of beach volleyball and catching up on sleep from the 24hr+ drive. That night we went to Nacho Hippo for dinner (everyone’s favorite place to eat in Myrtle Beach) and went to a movie at the cinema in Market Commons.

Day 2 we visited Charleston which is a couple of hours away from Myrtle Beach. The students loved seeing the historic architecture of the city.

Day 3 we worked on some projects on the hotel which had been hit by Hurricane Matthew in September. Later that night we went out to dinner at Myabi’s. All was going well until one of the students had an allergic reaction. Elisa and I spent the rest of the evening in the E.R. Thankfully all is well and that student learned to never eat shrimp again!

Day 4 we enjoyed beautiful weather. Most of the day was spent playing volleyball, ultimate frisbee, and swimming. A few students even tried their luck at surfing! That night we planned a photo scavenger hunt at Broadway at the Beach. We have a lot of competitive students involved, some of them even took the competition a little overboard. but overall it was a good time. 

After a fun filled week, we began the long trek home on Thursday and were thankful to be safely back in Minnesota by Friday night. Prayer #1 was most definitely answered!

While the trip isn’t exactly a mission trip per say, we use it as an intentional time to study the bible with students. As I mentioned earlier, a few of the students who came on the trip aren’t believers. Every morning we would have a Bible study with the group. We read through Mark in small groups and discussed what stood out to us and what questions we had. After reading in small groups we would discuss in the large group. One of the passages we read was Mark 10:25-27 which says:

 “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God. And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, “then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God."

After reading that passage, one of the students said “What I’m learning is that its not about a checklist of things you can do, but that it is accepting God’s grace.” Another student said that over the trip she had learned more about Jesus than she had in her entire life before that!

After those responses to Jesus and the Bible, I would say that prayer #2 was also most definitely answered! 

One of the most encouraging things about this trip was seeing our student leaders take initiation and have conversations with the younger students. From the first day on, students were asking each other about their lives and more specifically about their summers. A few of our students are coming to project as room leaders this summer and intentionally challenged younger students to come this summer. After numerous conversations and getting a feel for what it would be like, several students have expressed interest in coming this summer. Two students in particular went from considering it as an option to making decisions to go! I felt so humbled by the fact that most of these conversations were happening apart from me. God was using our students to speak into the lives of other students! Prayer #3 was answered as well.

Spring Break 2017 was such an encouragement and I look forward to seeing how God will continue to use trips like these in the lives of our students!

Berto Ramos
Campus Outreach Minneapolis
St. Cloud State University Staff