Being a member of Core Team, I know I should be one of the biggest advocates of our Service & Justice Trips. However, after reading articles like “To Hell with Good Intentions” or others related to the cost of short-term missions, I was feeling more than skeptical if we were doing more good than harm. I could justify many aspects of our short-term service & justice trips, but I couldn’t shake one question. How could I justify building connections with people only to leave them after a week? Does anyone even go back? How is it feasible then to build true solidarity?
Well, tonight I went to our local shelter in Omaha, the Siena/Francis House. About 10-12 Creighton students go each Thursday evening to share a meal and conversation with people at Siena/Francis. I’ve been there before many times, but I’ve never gone with the SCSJ during weekly service. Immediately when we walked in, the first question I get asked is, “Is Henry coming?” Henry is another Core Team member who spent Fall Break at the Siena/Francis House. I wasn’t sure if he was coming, but I thought it was cool that this man hoped he would come. Not even five minutes later, a different man approaches us and asks, “Hey! Do you know if Henry is going to be here tonight?” only to be followed by a different guy a few minutes later asking the same question.
I couldn’t help but laugh to myself in a surprised happiness that Henry had left such an impression on this many people. Then, sure enough, in the middle of eating my hamburger, I looked up to find Henry smiling in the back of the room, fully engaged in conversation with a group of people. This wasn’t just a student going somewhere to do service. This wasn’t just a student going somewhere to meet some people. This wasn’t just a student going somewhere to learn for a week. This was a student who became a friend of those there. This was a student who slept right alongside people at the Siena/Francis House. This was a student who then came back tonight because he decided to continue a relationship. It’s bringing that Service & Justice Trip experience to more than just a week, I think, that is the most important thing.
Class of 2017