Lipscomb has been sending a team to Atlanta since 2000 and this spring will find yet another group serving those in need in the Atlanta area. Partnering with Atlanta Inner City Ministries (AIM), the team will be led by junior Elise Halterman and will undoubtedly be a meaningful Spring Break experience.
Students going on the trip will find themselves spending a week in Fulton County, home to one of the highest poverty rates in the United States. Having been on the Atlanta team before, Elise explains that even though these kids live relatively close to us, “They have very different struggles than I have had. I mean, there are 3rd grade girls who deal with daily neighborhood violence.”
The team will spend their time working for AIM, an organization that focuses on reaching out to the impoverished adults and children in the community. Through Bible studies and various other volunteer efforts, trip goers get to build relationships with those in the area. Halterman describes her experience with the evening Bible study in the past, “We rode a bus into government housing neighborhoods and spent time with the kids.” She also explains that she would like to focus more on that particular activity this spring as she feels that there is much potential within the Bible study context.
There are several other Atlanta organizations that past teams have worked with, including “City of Refuge” where team members served meals. “Sitting down and hearing the stories of the regulars is a really cool experience,” Halterman remembers. When asked why she has a passion for Atlanta, she says, “There’s so much despair in our own country. People think of missions in different countries, but there is so much need here.”
So, what kind of people is she looking for? “I’m searching for those who are looking to serve,” Halterman says simply, “Any talents and abilities are welcome.” She stresses her hope that the team will be one closely knit as she believes that a united front can have a big impact on those who watch, “One meal may not change a life, but seeing how we work together to serve may change how someone views Christians.”
International mission trips may intimidate many students who are only comfortable speaking English, but this one lacks the feared language barrier, something that Halterman thinks may be appealing to students still in search of a Spring Break opportunity. Never been on a mission trip before? Halterman welcomes the inexperienced when she sums up her criteria, “Experience isn’t needed, just the willingness to learn.”