Several student members of MCCN Campus Ministry as well as Downtowners Campus Ministry, which encompasses other colleges in the downtown Columbus area, took part in a mission to trip to Washington, D.C. this past May. Participating students included Tess Robson, MacKenzie Chittenden, Katie Cline, Brianna Conkle, Lindsay Goeglein, Kaci Gundin, Olivia Gundin, Harley Hart, Yussuf Ibrow, Erin Polley, Racheal Rine, Haley Robison, Megan Smith and Nicole West. Director of Campus Ministry Ellen O’Shaughnessy, DMin, and her husband, Dr. Bob Padberg, accompanied the students on their trip.
During their trip, the students served the homeless and struggling workers breakfast and dinner at the Capitol Hill Methodist Church’s Our Daily Bread and the Central Union Mission’s Food Ministry.
Students also attended a seminar with the United Methodist Church across from Capitol Hill, next to the Supreme Court. Guest speakers in the seminar included a survivor of sex trafficking, including Barbara Amaya, who was trafficked from the time she was very young. Another guest speaker told of overcoming homelessness and now works with the National Coalition for the Homeless. In addition, students heard from the International Labor Rights Forum on the perils of Labor Trafficking and the Supply Chain of the labor- trafficked. United Workers of DC, Trabajadores Unidos de DC, spoke of the challenges of day laborers.
After these sessions, the students had the opportunity to meet Ohio Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman in their D.C. offices. The small group forum with both senators made conversation up-front and personal.
Erin Polley remarked, “The three-day seminar was very educational and truly opened my eyes to the world around me. Hearing the individuals’ stories about what they had been through literally gave me chills.”
Tess Robson, a student MCCN-FMC, writes in her evaluation of the D.C. mission trip, “I took a chance when I signed up to go to Washington, D.C. with the Downtowners Campus Ministry. I did not know a single person who was attending. I was nervous, but excited to step out of my comfort zone,” but she said it “ended up being one the greatest experiences I have ever had.”
Yussuf Ibrow wrote, “Talkng to Senator Brown about the issues has given me hope. My experience of going to Washington, D.C. was amazing.”
Harley Hart added, “The Washington D.C. trip was absolutely amazing and after meeting and speaking with our Senators, serving the homeless, attending a candlelight vigil for fallen policemen, attending the seminars and exploring the city, I feel more encouraged and informed about what I can do to make the world a better place. This experience is one that I will take with me all throughout my life in order to make other people’s lives better.”
Megan Smith shared that she loved “praying at the homeless shelter and feeling close to God. Words can’t describe it. The mission trip to Washington, D.C. was incredible. For Fairfield students, it’s a great opportunity to be part of the main campus and make new friends, too!”
Katie Cline shared her gratitude for affording her this opportunity and remarked that it had changed her life. “I now have the tools to advocate for not only my patients, but all people so that we might achieve equality and social justice. My favorite Bible verse is 1 Corinthians 16:14. ‘Whatever you do, do it with love.’ I am leaving D.C. with lots of love in my heart and a mission to spread it.”