From rummaging through the debris of fire damage in Redding, CA, to praying with college students in the Middle East for the glory of God.
Simpson University’s motto is Gateway to World Service. Something very unique about the institution is the determination the administration has to ensure that Simpson carries out its motto to the fullest extent. That being said, here are a couple of awesome ways Simpson strives to be a Gateway to World Service:
In the fall of 2012, groups of students, staff, and faculty went into the Redding community as part of a “Day of Service”, where they served organizations and individuals in areas of need. The groups participated in yard work, painting, clean up, served food, and performed other community service work. One student in particular decided that dedicating one day of the year for this work was not enough, and started what is now known as Strike Teams. Students, staff, and faculty can now sign up to be notified when there is a need in the area. Strike Teams are put together – sometimes planned ahead of time, sometimes on the fly – and the groups venture into the community to help wherever and whoever is in need. Some projects have included working in gardens, helping families and individuals move, building projects, lending a hand at ranches, assisting at fundraisers, and more.
Hannah Dewater (pictured above), the student who started Strike Teams, is now the Coordinator of Community Services at Simpson. When asked why she is so passionate about meeting needs in the community, she responded by saying, “Jesus said that the most important commands are to love God and love our neighbor (Matthew 22:35-40). When asked further who our neighbor is, Jesus told a story about a man who was beaten on a road and passed over by others until finally someone stopped and cared for his physical needs (Paraphrased from Luke 10:25-37). We don't always get to choose our neighbors, and there is something powerful about being committed to serving the next person in love, no matter what is required to do so.
I love serving in Redding because when I decided to come to Simpson as a student and then remain as a staff person, I was also committing to this city. Through the ministry of Strike Teams we have been able to meet a variety of people going through various struggles, and offer them simple, tangible help. I love that we get to come in with a ‘serve first’ approach, and then talk about our faith and why we are offering our service in the first place. We serve because the Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ, came and served us in the most extravagant act of love, dying for us on the cross. What is there left to do, but give all we have to love Him, and love our neighbor for His glory!”
Hannah goes on to describe one of her favorite moments during a strike, “We helped clear ash and debris from a house fire (pictured below). A man had lost everything he owned, and two of his friends worked with us to get the area cleared. We had a great crew that day full of joy, and it was a blast watching these people soften, and be brought to tears as a group of strangers turned neighbors rallied around them. We got to pray with them after, and while work was accomplished, I believe the greater impact was our love for Christ being expressed through action for another.”
Since 2012, hundreds of students, along with staff and faculty, have served more than 6,000 hours on over 230 projects. We are thankful for the time, effort, and love our Simpson community has put into meeting needs and emergencies around the Redding area!
To find out more about Strike Teams, click here!
Simpson also works to fulfill its motto by sending students out on short term missions around the globe in what is known as WorldServe. These teams are typically composed of 4-12 students who dedicate most of their school year to planning, training, and fundraising for their trips. One to two students are interviewed and selected to lead each team, who then interview fellow students for potential team members. The teams are formed and meet weekly to build relationships, learn about which state or country they will be travelling to, learn about the ministry work they will be doing, fundraise throughout the year, connect with their field workers, and prepare for their departure. A couple of teams are sent out in the US during the week of spring break, and the rest are sent out across the world in summer from anywhere between two and six weeks.
Teams provided medical care, taught English, served meals, worked at orphanages, shelters, and community centers. They learned about homelessness and sex trafficking. They invited strangers into conversation; prayed for children and adults; lived with local villagers; wrestled with language barriers; and grew close to staff members of local ministries.
Austin McFadden, a graduate of Simpson, led a team to Taiwan in the summer of 2016. “Students should take advantage of WorldServe while at Simpson,” he said, “Going on a trip enables students to see the mission of the gospel being spread in a different culture. Our team got to know and connect with other people our age and learn about what they had to and continue to sacrifice for their faith. The relationships we built were unique, and it was awesome to see God moving in another country.”
"I dearly hope that I have been able to make as much of an impact on the lives of those I lived, worked, and played with for four weeks as they have made on me. I can humbly say that in order to glorify God, I gave everything I had to those kids, my teammates, and the other staff we worked with. I wouldn’t trade this trip for anything." — a quote from Josh Crawford, Ukraine Team 2013
Teams in the past and in this upcoming year have/will have travelled to Chicago, Albania, the Middle East, El Salvador, Thailand, San Francisco, Laos, Chile, North Africa, Southeast Asia, Mexico, Haiti, Eastern Europe, India, Taiwan, South Korea, Washington State, and many other locations.
To find out more about WorldServe, donate to a team/team member, look at this year’s locations, and more, follow this link!