Tag Archives: spring break

My Spring Break in Brazil

By Michael Lawrence

For the past five years, Pacific Union College’s Office of Service, Justice, and Missions has sent students to Brazil’s Amazonas to do mission work over the course of their spring break. The trip has since grown and now incorporates students taking Tropical Biology as well as Portuguese for school credit. The purpose of this year’s 10 day trip was to rebuild the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) home in which future student missionaries will stay.

For me, this trip was the lab portion of the Tropical Biology course I took during the previous quarter. My name is Michael Lawrence and I am a third year finance student. Although I was here for a class, the trip was the perfect blend of school, work, and play.

Photo credit: Dr. Floyd Hayes

Photo credit: Dr. Floyd Hayes

Here are some of the highlights of our trip:

Day 2: After a long day of traveling from PUC to Manaus, it was time for the trip to begin. Students were anxious to begin their trip on the Amazon River. What we did not realize was that from Manaus to our final destination was another day of traveling. The day-long boat ride from Manaus to Umari, the village where we held a clinic, was the perfect opportunity for students to bond with one another and get to know people they otherwise would only walk by on campus. I cannot describe the day without mentioning cabin fever. A full day sputtering along on a boat was not the most glamorous of accommodations, however in retrospect, this time spent with the group was key in the building of relationships within the group.

Photo credit: Dr. Floyd Hayes

Photo credit: Dr. Floyd Hayes

Day 3: Our first day on land was spent hosting a clinic put on by a group called Ação dos Estudantes Solidários Adventistas de Manaus (AESAM). The members of AESAM who joined us were medical, dental, and nursing students from various universities in Brazil. The “club” began in 2011 where members would visit villages putting on health clinics like the one held today. Students from PUC had the opportunity to work alongside AESAM in the clinic providing health screenings to members of the village. The club currently has over 80 healthcare students and professionals providing mission work across the Amazon.

Photo credit: Dr. Floyd Hayes

Photo credit: Dr. Floyd Hayes

Day 6: The final day of work was very bittersweet. After three days of back-breaking work, everyone was looking forward to coming home and the relaxation that followed. There were also friendships made at the village, and it was going to be hard to say goodbye. Nonetheless, the time had come for us to begin the long journey home. Over the course of our time at the village Rosa de Saron, we demolished what was left of the old house, dug the foundation for the new home, and just about everything else required in the house building process. Each night, we would participate in the church’s Vacation Bible School. Here, students ran the program from Bible stories to arts and crafts. It was the perfect way to unwind after a long day of hard work and also the time where we connected with the villagers.

Photo credit: Dr. Floyd Hayes

Photo credit: Dr. Floyd Hayes

Day 7: The highlight of the trip in my opinion was witnessing Kelly Siegal give her life to Jesus. Kelly was a PUC student who went on this same trip just one year prior. After her experience on that trip she decided to become a student missionary instead of returning to school for her senior year and has been a part of that village ever since. We all woke up early in the morning and saw Kelly get baptized with the support of the entire village. It was a heartwarming and emotional event and the perfect way to wrap up our time spent at the village.

Photo credit: Dr. Floyd Hayes

Photo credit: Dr. Floyd Hayes

Service and Missions Coordinator Fabio Maia sees the value in creating relationships through mission work. The way Maia operates, he discovers a need somewhere and will continue to return to that location until the need has been fulfilled. The Amazon mission trip has been happening for five years, each year in the same place, and will continue indefinitely. To find out how you can participate in one of the many mission trip opportunities stop by the Office of Service, Justice, and Missions or email worldmissions@puc.edu.

Breaking in Berlin

By Jessica Winters

With graduation in the near future and the hope in my heart of finding a job that has something to do with the skill set I’ve been preparing for, the practical way to spend spring break would have been to stick around, work/job hunt, and maybe do a few reasonably priced things to celebrate the quarter’s end. I mean, I have future rent and other bills to consider, right? But that’s not what I did.

Berlin 1

What I did do was buy a round trip ticket to Berlin for a week. Probably not the most practical “get ready for the future” move, but it’s what I did, and I don’t regret it even a little bit. Once you enter the “adult-ing world,” you have to carefully schedule time off, and until you’ve paid off most of your loans, there’s a slim chance you’ll be able to afford taking a week or more off at a time. This was my last spring break ever. I had no intention of wasting it.

Berlin 2

My younger brother has been studying in Berlin for the past year, so part of the reason for going there was to visit him. Coincidentally, this also meant I had a free place to sleep and access to a kitchen, as well as an adventure companion with a working knowledge of the city and public transportation, and, most importantly to me, where to find* great vegan** food.

Berlin 4

Now when you think about it, a week really isn’t that much time to get to know a place, so, I definitely had to do some prioritizing when it came to major sites I just HAD to see. But I figure anything I missed will go onto my list of things to do when I visit again one day. The sites I did manage to squeeze in were absolutely incredible. A few of my favorites included The Jewish Memorial, The Brandenburg Gate, and (of course) The Berlin Wall/East Side Gallery.

Berlin 5

When it comes right down to it though, my favorite moments spent in Berlin can be summed up thusly: 1) Quality sibling time and 2) Amazing food.

And I’m not just saying that to win*** “big sister brownie points.” I will never forget roaming the streets of Berlin with my brother, devouring**** massive amounts of delicious things, all while taking in the signs of time that still mark the city’s face and the open-hearted vibe it gives off despite all the hardships it has endured.

Berlin 8

Even more than that, I will never, ever regret doing something so big for my final spring break. We learn so many valuable things in our classes, but if you don’t (at least once) strike out and experience places and people far different than those you’re used to, you are shortchanging yourself on one of the most valuable opportunities college affords you.

*Berlin is super vegan friendly!
**Yes, I’m one of those dastardly defiers of dairy.
***A valuable commodity worth hoarding, I assure you.
****Seriously. We ate soooo much! For more on that, check out my Instagram account, Jwin89.

Berlin 9