DuBois student fellowship takes part in spring break service trip to Kentucky

Penn State DuBois students Tayler Rafferty, left, and Hannah Thompson, right, pause for a moment for a picture during their service trip to Kentucky as part of a group from Christian Student Fellowship at Penn State DuBois.

Penn State DuBois students Tayler Rafferty, left, and Hannah Thompson, right, pause for a moment for a picture during their service trip to Kentucky as part of a group from Christian Student Fellowship at Penn State DuBois.

Credit: Penn State

DuBOIS, Pa. — During spring break, when many students are enjoying time off or a vacation, several students from Penn State DuBois who are part of the Christian Student Fellowship (CSF) organization traveled to Kentucky to take part in a service trip to benefit those in need.

Seven students form Penn State DuBois, along with several students from Penn State Berks, journeyed to Kentucky to complete their service trip. Working with Big Creek Missions, students worked hard to complete numerous tasks over a six-day period. The students from Penn State DuBois who took part in the trip were:

  • Isaac Anthony
  • Remington Crawford
  • Jacob Gerhard
  • Noah Gibble
  • Tayler Rafferty
  • Adam Rea
  • Hannah Thompson

Big Creek Missions began in 2003 when students in an association of churches in East Tennessee recognized the need to help serve the people in Appalachia. The ultimate desire was to offer a heart-changing, eye-opening mission trip, at a low cost, to local students while offering real, heart-touching ministries to people in one of the neediest areas of the country. Since then, students from many different regions have work with Big Creek to continue the mission that was started many years ago.

Throughout the week, students took part in several projects. This included some construction work, demolition work, landscaping, household chores, assisted with operations at a food pantry that the mission helps operate and other projects.

“While all service trips are fruitful for good works, this trip allowed us to meet people in their needs, physically, emotionally and spiritually,” Hannah Thompson, student at Penn State DuBois, said. “Beyond physical necessities, we were able to make real connections with people we never would've met apart from this trip.”

This year marked the fourth year that CSF at Penn State DuBois has worked with Big Creek Missions for their spring break service trip. Advisor Tharren Thompson, financial aid coordinator at Penn State DuBois, also noted that the organization has taken part in trips to other locations in the past, often assisting with clean up and recovery efforts after natural disasters around the country.

For the trip this year, the overwhelming message shared by students who participated is positive and a great feeling of fulfilment.

“I really enjoyed my time at Big Creek Missions,” Tayler Rafferty, Penn State DuBois student, said. “I was able to serve the local community, by fixing leaking roofs, tearing out old porches, helping at a nursing home, and going into homes to create relationships. The individuals that we were able to serve genuinely appreciated our help. I loved being able to strengthen relationships with people I already knew and create new relationships with the locals. I learned a lot about loving God and people through service.”

“The spring break service trip with CSF was an amazing experience,” Remington Crawford, student at Penn State DuBois, said. “I had a blast serving the community of Big Creek Kentucky in various ways. Along with the community service we had the opportunity to make friend with other groups from across the country. I was defiantly positively impacted by this trip, and inspired by the really impact that Big Creek Missions is having on their community.”

“By far, my favorite part of the trip was meeting new people,” Thompson added. “I learned about the lives of others who are different from me, often involving shocking tragedy. I got to receive advice from older Christians who faithfully served God, despite their poverty. At a nursing home, I got to sit with a population of people who are often discarded by society and show them Christ's love. It is wonderful to know I brought joy to these people's days, but more so, I am thankful for what they taught me. Each day is a gift, and there is so much joy in life. Being able to humble yourself and serve others for a greater purpose, for the glory of God, brings so much joy.”

Another group of students from Penn State DuBois also completed a service trip during spring break in Puerto Rico.

When the students from CSF were asked what they would say to students who are thinking about taking a service trip like this in the future, Crawford had a very impactful message to share.

“Do It! Hands down this trip was very impactful on my life and really helped reframe my outlook on life!”