Archive for January, 2011

Claire Hawkins

Posted: January 27, 2011 in Uncategorized

Watch as sophomore student Claire Hawkins describes her view on interfaith.

Molly Zhang

Posted: January 27, 2011 in Uncategorized

Watch as Chinese student Molly Zhang describes her perspective on interfaith at UIndy.

Interfaith in Appalachia

Posted: January 18, 2011 in Uncategorized

When I traveled to Jonesville, Virginia with the University of Indianapolis to work with a Christian organization named Appalachia Service Project (ASP) in 2010, I thoroughly enjoyed myself.  We met amazing families that we were able to assist in making their homes “warmer, safer, and dryer.”  We participated in colloquial activities that left a lasting impression.  We grew closer together as a community of students.  When I traveled to Jonesville in 2011, UIndy had named the trip to be “interfaith.”  As a result, our 2011 experience was even better.

We started our trip at 7:00 am on a chilly Sunday morning.  Very few of the excursion’s attendees had ever communicated before, so connections needed to be made to achieve success.  Over the course of week, I personally remember many encounters of building friendship.  During travel to Virginia, I better acquainted myself with Anu, a Hindu student, by discussing our passions for non-profit humanitarian work from our different cultural perspectives and Derick, a Chinese student, by conversing about Chinese and American cultural differences.  Once at the ASP center, I started learning more about the members of my work team and gained more fellowship as a result.  When coming home from the mountains of Appalachia, I felt that I had gained meaningful relationships with many people.

There was many times where team-building fellowship grew away from the home repair work.  On a few nights, one work crew would offer ice breakers and reflection to better process our work days and have fun.  We also played “Megatron Drawfest,” which is the best game of Pictionary one could ever play.  When dining came to mind, we “made Oreos better” (M.O.B.) with icing, peanut butter, chocolate syrup, and other goodies.  By interacting with a Louisiana church group that also lived with the university group for the week, we learned authentic Lousiana dance moves.  When the weather caused unexpected delays, we talked (often while knitting) together and found creative ways to spend our time.  Overall, we participated in many activities that brought everyone closer together.

We became unified through our sweat, too.  While some of our work team members had greater strengths than others, everyone contributed to the project.  From our limited time at our worksite due to snow, we managed to deconstruct the original flooring in the house, place insulation, lay down sub-flooring, and start the process of installing luann, (the material placed before tiling.)  Sometimes we were using power tools; other times, we were using common ingenuity.  From working together as a team, we came to know each other better and could claim that we had achieved our goals together.

While I obtained more friends from the university, I also spent important time with the homeowners that we helped.  Our students were split into three work teams, and the family that my team helped was friendly in the midst of need.  Gary and Misty are a young couple with a three-year old daughter and two-year old son, and their hospitality was boundless.  After spending one full day on the worksite, Misty insisted on giving a keepsake to each of us to show her gratitude.  Furthermore, Gary contributed to our work efforts by providing construction expertise.  Even though the kids often hindered our progress, they were incredibly fun-loving and offered a great diversion when home repair became difficult.  My work team developed a close bond with the family, and we were sad to leave them.

Looking in retrospect upon the week I spent in Virginia, the diversity of motivations for service still remains with me.  While I expressed the importance that service has to my Christian faith through the example of Jesus on the trip, others had different reasons for their attendance.  A Hindu student discussed her willingness to serve people that was influenced less by her faith and more by the morals instilled by her parents.  A Chinese student explained the mutual benefit of serving others while refining his English communication skills for personal development.  Even for those of a similar Christian faith to mine, everyone had a unique motive for serving at ASP.  Therefore, I witnessed many students from different backgrounds come together in order to practice service in community.  I may perhaps never know the entirety of the positive consequences to result from the trip.

Mark Wolfe

Interfaith Youth Core Fellow 2010-2011

President of the Interfaith Forum