SPRINT Dominican Republic 2013

Seattle Pacific University students learning and serving alongside local leaders in the Dominican Republic.

Archive for the month “July, 2013”

What SPRINT’s All About

Hello, friends!

With today’s return of the Vietnam SPRINT team and the departure of the Brazil team, we’re pretty close to SPRINT’s halfway point this summer.  (For a full list of this summer’s trips, visit the SPRINT webpage).

I know you’re primarily interested in reports from teams’ trips, so I’ll keep this post brief.  Quickly, though, I wanted to offer some background information on the SPRINT program and our goals for all of this international travel, learning and service you’ll read about on these pages.

University-sponsored short-term missions at Seattle Pacific University date back to the early 1960s; participants in Operation Outreach, later renamed Seattle Pacific Reachout INTernational, have volunteered in countries around the world for many years.  Serving in teams alongside in-country local leadership, the objective of SPRINT trips has always been to provide needed help, a witness to the Gospel and important learning opportunities for college students.

Today SPRINT is advised and supported by SPU’s John Perkins Center for Reconciliation, Leadership Training and Community Development. Perkins Center staff (that’s me) and student leaders partner to recruit, train and send the SPRINT teams you’re reading about this summer.

It’s important for us to engage students with effective, sustainable, community-developing work that promotes long-term transformation rather than the negative, dependency-creating outcomes sometimes associated with short-term missions.  To that end, our pre-trip training and host-partner selection focus on a set of values outlined by the Christian Community Development Association, emphasizing local leadership development, empowerment and reconciliation that bridges both social and spiritual gaps. Our hope is that students will learn from effective community engagement models and apply these lessons to their future work, wherever God leads them.

Another key aspect of the SPRINT process is our emphasis on post-trip reflection and application.  Neat experiences, great photos and fun stories about new foods do not equal life transformation.  However, when students are intentional in reflecting on their experiences, learning take-aways and challenges of the trip they’re more likely to discover God at work throughout the trip experience and beyond.

To encourage the reflection process we’ll send each student a copy of the Global Citizen Journal, published by the Krista Foundation for Global Service as he or she returns home.  The journal highlights the importance of incorporating service and mission experiences into one’s life through reflection and application.  You might find this sample article interesting:  In “Staying for Tea” Aaron Ausland reflects on the importance of long-term commitment and listening to community in order to find one’s place of effectiveness as an outsider coming in.

Thanks again for your support of students as they participate in SPRINT this summer.  If you’d like more information on the program, ways to give or ways to be involved, please contact me at (206) 281-2932 or owen@spu.edu.

Owen Sallee, SPRINT Advisor



ProVector Success!

Hello Friends and Family,

We just wanted to let you all know that yesterday we went to Los Robles where we placed the ProVectors and did the two week check up. We went to each home where we placed one and asked if they have noticed less or more mosquitos in their home since they have received a ProVector. We were pleasantly surprised that almost every house said they have seen very few mosquitoes, if not no mosquitoes in their home in the last two weeks. We are so thankful that the ProVectors are being efficient in getting rid and killing mosquitoes to reduce the amount of Dengue and Malaria in these villages. We have helped the community health members understand the importance of keeping up with the families every two weeks, asking the amount of mosquitoes they see in their home. This way, a different team is not coming in every two weeks checking up but the community health members themselves. They seem very excited about coming along side one another to improving the health of their community. Keep Los Robles and the members of this village in your prayers. We pray that they are willing to follow through and be active with this project. 

As we head for the airport tomorrow, we ask for prayers for safe travels. We are all excited to enjoy our last day here in Barahona but are feeling sad knowing we are going to have to say bye to the staff and all the wonderful people we have met here. We look forward to seeing everyone at home and being able to talk to you all about our amazing experience here in the Dominican Republic! 



Millie, Andrea, Natalie, Nichole and Lily 

They’ll be home soon!

Hello, friends!

After three weeks in the Dominican Republic, the team will return to the States this Saturday.  As you prepare to receive them, here are some things I hope you’ll think about to help the team make the most of this trip.

For those of you meeting students at the airport, here’s flight information:

  • Lily and Nichole return to Seattle on July 6 at 10:47 PM on United #675
  • Andrea and Millie return to Portland on July 6 at 8:49 PM on United 1103
  • Natalie returns to Miami on July 6 at 3:30 PM on American 1398

As the group returns, they’ll continue to think through this experience and its implications for their lives.  It’s likely that this mental processing will involve at least some of these elements:

  • Relief upon returning to familiar surroundings,
  • Frustration with aspects of home culture that appear less desirable than the cultural values experienced during the SPRINT experience,
  • Sadness and joy over relationships and memories developed during the trip,
  • And hopefully, Resolve to incorporate the learning from this trip into daily life as life moves on.

It’s our hope that SPRINT participants will return to “life as usual” with expanded worldviews and a clearer sense of God’s work in their lives.  The learning process continues after the trip experience; students will participate in a debriefing gathering in October, and will be encouraged to continue meeting with their SPRINT team to share the story of their host’s work and encourage future generations of SPRINT participants to serve.

I encourage you to give your student time to catch up on sleep, then set aside an extended period of time to share pictures and stories.  Don’t expect completely-formed opinions immediately; the reflection process takes time.  We remind returning SPRINTers that not everyone will have time to hear the whole story, but that they should find a few people with whom to share the longer, more in-depth account. 

I’ve mailed team members some discussion questions and a copy of the Global Citizen Journal, published by the Krista Foundation for Global Citizenship (www.kristafoundation.org), to help them think through their experience as they move forward.  If you’ve got time, I’d encourage you to talk though some of these materials with your student.

Thanks for your support of students on this team!   Please let me know if you have questions.


Last Moments in the DR

photo 1photo 2

Hey Guys!

The past week has been spent updating sponsorship information for COTN. We were able to get to know the principles at each school in the bateys and interact with the children one on one. We have estimated that we’ve interviewed about 300 kids! At times it was very chaotic but also very rewarding.

Andrea decided to sponsor a child and got the opportunity to meet her and tell her that she has been sponsored! Her name Greici, she’s 16 and wants to be a pediatrician.

In other news, we have developed an addiction to an ice cream store called Bon, where we went for the fifth time last week 🙂 The last 4 days we are  here, we are going back to Los Robles where we placed the ProVectors to do a two week check up. We will ask the families if they have noticed a smaller population of mosquitoes in their home in the last few weeks. We are excited to see the results of this, hoping that the ProVectors have already started doing their job, infecting and killing mosquitoes.

It will be difficult to say goodbye to some of the staff members here – especially our translator Pepe and our bodyguards Oval, Willy, and Renzo.

We return on Saturday and would love to talk more about our trip and share more stories and photos with you!! Thanks for all your prayers and support!

Andrea, Lily, Millie, Natalie, Nichole ❤

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