A week before the Spring season officially kicked in; we had the privilege of meeting some of the humblest of volunteers. The volunteers with Hope International University came to their yearly Project Barnabas program. Among other things, they got help us prepare the camp to receive the groups and assisted Amy Mathis with community outreaches. I spoke with Michele Kleeman.
I work at the University overseeing the activities on campus, and leadership and diversity development.
Our school community represents 20 different countries, and 60 percent of our student body is non-caucasian. We want to create a curriculum taking advantage of that diversity.
My first time with Mexico was with YES (Youth Equipped to Serve). At the time, we worked with a church renovation.
I enjoyed the experience of coming alongside the churches and being able to serve was a beautiful example of how the body of Christ is... And how diverse and big it is.
The following year in eighth grade, I came to Amor with my youth group at First Christian Church, Suisun from Northern California. We had a beautiful experience building side by side with the family. It created a bond that is so beautiful.
The physical aspect of building was really important. I believe the exhaustion gives us a sense of connectivity of what you are doing and when I realized how much physical energy goes into building a house and that we needed to come together for the family. The experience broke down some hierarchies. It doesn’t matter where you are from, we all have them. But through this experience we learned together, we are friends. It’s the true equality that Paul is talking about when he says there is no Jew, nor Gentile we are all equal.
I’ve come on six mission trips. My experience with Amor has given me a passion for showing people that no matter who you are you can connect with people. It doesn’t matter where we come from, it all matters we are here together. We can provide beauty in each other’s lives if we want to and break boundaries. Now matter where we live there is a cast system, and the Amor trip breaks it down.
I didn’t have any expectations about coming as a Project Barnabas volunteer.
What I appreciate about Project Barnabas is that it shows you the beauty of taking care of the small things that need to be done. Like for example building the bathrooms for those who have to come. It’s vital, even. With this simple task, we are equipping those who’ll see the fruit of what they are here to do. Besides, I had fun building the bathrooms and showers with Oswaldo and Fernando. AIt was fun getting to know them and seeing them in their element, doing a lot of the behind the scenes. I like seeing how Amor has blessed them and how they’ve added to Amor in return.
Michele (spelled with one l) feels called to higher education. She has a degree in Biblical Studies, and she would like to do a Masters in education and ministry. Her ultimate, crazy goal would be to become President of the University.
Registration for Project Nexus for this Summer is Now Open!