One short year ago, I wandered back onto Northwestern College’s campus in Orange City, IA laden with gratitude, memories, and new friendships from a Spring Break spent in Opelousas. That single week tossed a curveball that landed me in an unexpected spot for the second spring in a row—this time excitedly waiting in Opelousas to play host!
24 college students piled out of giant vans marked with Iowa and Tennessee license plates, piloted by 4 energized student leaders and 3 brave adult mentors. Bright-eyed and eager teams come every year from Northwestern College and Bryan College to support the Opelousas community in service—partnering with HFO to work with the Opelousas Lighthouse Mission, the New Life Center, and Opelousas schools. They bunk in a truly communal fashion, drifting between Hope Presbyterian Church and the adjacent apartments and house. For returning students, a welcome to the Hope House feels like “home.”
This year the work projects focused on renovations of our second property—appropriately deemed ‘The Blue House,’ electrical handiwork at the men’s mission, painting at the women’s shelter, and plenty of classroom support, observation, and LEAP test preparation at South Street Elementary, Westminster Christian Academy, and Opelousas Junior High.
This week was an absolutely incredible show of generosity, grace, hard work, and big laughs. We got to spend early mornings preparing—coffee in hand—for days of sanding, demolishing, and painting. Introducing friends over pots of gumbo and tables piled with crawfish shells always seems to form strong bonds. Precious nights forge our team into a congregation offering prayers, reflections, and encouragement. It is not just the productivity that makes Spring Break a truly sustaining time for HFO!
We look forward to showing you more pieces of this sacred time as we load up pictures and share memories. In the meantime we invite you to check out our friends thoughts from the Bryan College team: http://bfcopelousas.blogspot.com/