The Difference a Week Can Make: Students Use Fall Break for Missions in Clarkston
Chad Burchett | November 10, 2023
On Sept. 30 through Oct. 6, a group of students from The College at Southeastern spent their fall break in Clarkston, Georgia, serving unreached people groups and refugees alongside SEND Relief.
Known as the most diverse square mile in the U.S., Clarkston is home to a massive refugee population, representing more than 100 people groups — many of whom are still unreached. With devotees to all the major world religions, Clarkston is a strategic hub for cross-cultural engagement and refugee ministry.
With a heart for every student to engage cross-culturally in missions, The College sent a team of 20 house system students to Clarkston to learn from missionaries with the North American Mission Board and to engage spiritual lostness through a variety of local ministries. Each of these experiences offered students opportunities to learn and to share the gospel with those who did not know Christ.
“Every opportunity we participated in in Clarkston was geared toward the Great Commission,” shared Chloe Rutherford, Southeastern’s student mobilizer and one of the Clarkston team leaders. “Whether that was worshiping with a multi-ethnic congregation, learning about how to care for refugees, or sharing Christ with families from South America, the gospel was at the heart of every experience.”
Chloe, who served in Clarkston with GenSend over the summer, was eager to return to Clarkston with a team of students from The College because she knew their heart for the nations would be encouraged, just as hers was during the summer.
“It was encouraging to go back this fall break with the house system to see the students joyfully embrace and serve the people in Clarkston,” commented Chloe. “I had a similar experience the first time I went to Clarkston, so it was a joy to share it with others from our school. Our team was willing to get uncomfortable for the gospel, so that’s always encouraging.”
During the week, students helped with after-school programs, taught ESL in several homes, served in refugee ministries, and visited local temples, sharing the gospel and their testimonies with people who did not know Christ. As students leveraged their fall break to serve the nations, God blessed their willingness to go and gave them opportunities to see him draw people to himself.
Reflecting on highlights from the week, students walked away encouraged and excited — eager for other house system students to also experience the blessing of ministry in Clarkston.
“One of my favorite things about this trip was that I got to go to the home of a Venezuelan family and have dinner with them, and they were kind enough to allow me to share my testimony in Spanish. You should come to Clarkston because it will stretch you and help you grow for Christ.” — Abby Miller
“My favorite part of this trip was living life with these people, and I think you should come because God is worthy, the gospel is worthy, and Christ is worthy.” — Samuel Diaz.
“My favorite thing about Clarkston, Georgia, was getting to meet people from all over the world and to see the power of God change lives, and you should come and experience it too.” — Jake Palczewski
“My favorite part was that I got to share the gospel with a fifteen-year-old girl this week, and by God’s grace, she gave her life to Christ! Why you should come on this trip is that you will learn so much more than you think you would.” — Julia Tate