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Break with Purpose

Instead of going on leisurely vacations during school breaks, students turn from an inward focus to an outward service.

Photo by Emily Morton

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Spring Break is a time for students to take a break from the stress of school and enjoy time with friends and family lounging on a beach drinking ice cold lemonade, right?

While some students had a chill Spring Break, others spent their time in a foreign country working for a higher purpose.

A number of students at Missouri Baptist University made the decision to go on mission trips over Spring Break instead of typical vacations.

Matthias Lot Church in St. Charles, Missouri, took a team of students to Ecuador over Spring Break, including two students from Missouri Baptist University.

Emily Morton, junior public relations major, and Amanda Thibodeaux, freshman exercise science major, went to Ecuador over Spring Break to Lasso and a village called Santana.

“We are going to work with kids in a village there in the jungle,” Morton said before she left on the trip. “In the village we’re going to there’s just a lot of brokenness and a lot of alcoholism and a lot of sin that goes on there, so we’re going in hopes of just sharing the gospel with them and that the gospel would just capture their hearts and that they would just kind of reverse that generational sin and darkness.”

What would make a college student give up her break to go to a place of brokenness instead of a place of paradise?

“I’ve heard of the Ecuador trip for a long time. I’ve probably wanted to go for two or three years now because I hear about it. Usually I’m not able to go because it doesn’t line up with my Spring Break or our Fall Break. It’s hard to miss a week and a half of classes and so I haven’t been able to go,” Morton said. “I saw that it was over my Spring Break but I had already made plans. I was torn. I wanted to go to Nashville because I already had this planned and that’s kind of the safe option and I’ve had a stressful semester and it will be nice to get away and relax with friends in Nashville. But I kept thinking about Ecuador.”

She prayed to God to see how he would send an English-speaking American woman to share the gospel in a country located on the western coast of South Africa, where 93 percent of the population speaks Spanish.

“I was really hoping that he wouldn’t show me that he wanted me to go to Ecuador even though I’ve wanted to go for so long,” said Morton, who is from St. Louis.

Considering her options, she went to a meeting for the Ecuador trip.

The speaker mentioned a book about a woman who God called to Ecuador.

“It said, ‘Are you avoiding a trip because you would rather spend time on yourself? Is there a trip that your church is taking that you’re avoiding because you would rather do something that’s more fun?’”

Sitting in her folding chair at the Ecuador meeting, Morton knew she was being called to Ecuador like the woman in the book was.

“That night I filled out the application, the night before it was due, and two days later I found out I was going,” she said. “It was definitely a big thing of laying down what I wanted and just following what God wanted me to do over Spring Break, which isn’t hard, but it pays off.”

Thibodeaux, from Defiance, Missouri, said she decided to go on the Ecuador trip after a church service.

“I just felt God telling me to go. So that night on the way home I filled out the application and bought my passport,” Thibodeaux said.

When Thibodeaux applied, she thought all she had to do was sign up.

“I thought it was just a sign-up and thought I was going … I immediately bought and expedited my passport for the trip,” she said.

In order to go on this trip, a person had to fill out an application and a select team would be chosen to go.

When Thibodeaux found out she was chosen, she became even more excited.

She had been on mission trips to different places within the United States, but this was her first trip outside the country.

“I have never been out of the country and never with a group of complete strangers,” she said. “But that is what I was most excited about because I get to make relationships with those in Ecuador as well as those within my team.”

Going out of the country, especially for the first time, can be intimidating, but Thibodeaux did not feel fear.

“I’ve been hearing God’s voice a lot the past few months and I have seen Him work in my life in areas I never thought needed to change,” she said. “I am also a very impulsive person so not knowing what will happen when we arrive and things of that sort don’t bother me.”

She is driven by her faith in God and his plan.

“God is good and everything is already set in place. I am just excited to see what He has been planning for so long.”

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Gillian Burroughs

Gillian Burroughs

Gillian Burroughs is a staff journalist for MBU Timeline. She is a public relations major. Burroughs is the Executive Vice President of Student Government and sings with Chamber Singers and Chorale. After graduation, she hopes to pursue a career in non-profit public relations. She has a passion for music ministry and missions.

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