At the close of the 2022-2023 academic year, three teams of students wrapped up the winter term with a distinctly Crandall experience: serving together on global mission experiences in Central America! This spring, students from the Crandall-Acadia BTh and Claystone programs learned and served in the Dominican Republic, and a CU Serves team of students from various undergraduate programs was commissioned to work in El Salvador.
While each of the three experiences is distinct to the communities served and the projects undertaken, the most important things were consistent among the teams: serving through unique partnerships forged around the globe by Canadian Baptist Ministries (CBM); working in partnership with local churches; and challenging students with opportunities to see and experience life-transformation in action!
Under the leadership of Dr. Dale and Twila Stairs, the first team to land in the Dominican Republic served in the communities of Sosúa and Yaroa as a culmination of the Claystone program. This certificate program combines outdoor adventure, cross-cultural mission experiences, and university courses into one program with an atmosphere of community and discipleship that is like no other. While there, students hauled concrete, painted a house, assisted in worship, and led events for children and youth in partnership with a group of Baptist churches.
While the Claystone students were busy in Sosúa and Yaroa, the students participating in the inaugural CU Serves international trip rolled up their sleeves and got to task in Mandinga, El Salvador. On the ground, CU Serves students worked closely with ENLACE, a non-profit organization that equips local churches in Central America to transform their communities. Undergraduates from various programs tried their hand at masonry and landscaping as part of the Fe Amor Church vision to build 50 composting latrines in their little community to give dignity to residents and prevent water contamination.
“It was clear from our first day on the ground that ENLACE knows what they are doing and our students would have unprecedented opportunities to learn,” noted Manager of CU Serves and Undergraduate Student Life & Transformation, Tim Carruthers. “While some students transported supplies or mixed concrete, others were guided by Salvadorian engineers and ministry leaders. Whatever task the day held, it was clear that students built more than just bathrooms; they built meaningful relationships across cultural and language divides. Setting aside excuses and comfort levels, they stepped into a place of Christlike empathy and compassion, and great work was accomplished!”
Crandall-Acadia BTh Partnership
As the first two teams completed their project work and returned to Atlantic Canada, students completing their freshman year of the Crandall-Acadia Bachelor of Theology program arrived in Villa Altigracia in the Dominican Republic. Under the leadership and guidance of Dale and Twila Stairs as well as CBM Staff Kathryn Scott, the teams worked on a farm owned by churches in the area, led events for youth, and joined in a theological conversation about church ministry in the context of poverty.
“Experiences like these are life-transforming,” shared Dr. Stairs. “I have led over 20 cross-cultural mission trips and every time God has done transformational work in the lives of everyone involved – the team and those that we partner with. I especially appreciate the approach of CBM. They teach a practice a wonderful balance of word and deed.”
As the spring draws to a close, over 30 members of the Crandall University community experienced transformation in a cross-cultural context, churches and communities were blessed by the hard work of students, and those students now begin the exciting challenge of integrating their experiences with their lives here at home.
Learn more about Claystone
Learn more about the Crandall-Acadia Bachelor of Theology Partnership
Learn more about CU Serves
Crandall University is Atlantic Canada’s leading Liberal Arts University rooted in the Christian Faith, offering degree programs in Arts, Science, Business Administration, Education, and Management. To learn more, visit crandallu.ca or call 1‑888-968-6228.