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UC Students Spend Spring Break Serving in New York


Williamsburg, Ky. - During University of the Cumberlands (UC) spring break, eight UC students set aside their personal endeavors and used their spare time to reach out to those in dire need of assistance. The students departed on March 8 on their way to New York and served with Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief on Staten Island to help clean up after Super Storm Sandy.

The students spent their spring break doing mud out and relief work alongside volunteers through the SBC Disaster Relief workers. The students that so selflessly made this trip to show God’s existence in them were Christen Dierken (Williamsburg, Ky.), Brian Stills (Fayetteville, GA), Jonathan Ssenkooto (Louisville, Ky.), Ethan Lake (Berea, Ky.), Jessie Mosley (Stanton, Ky.), Angeliccaa Williams (Lancing, Tenn.), David Dierken (Williamsburg, Ky.), and Jacob Ratliff (Amelia, Oh.).

As the week progressed, they met many families in which they grew to love. It was difficult for them to watch these families suffer the aftermath of such a devastating tragedy. Some families had only minor water damage but others had homes that were totally demolished. The severity of the homes varied but no matter how bad the damage, these people’s lives had been shaken. Many of the people who were victimized by Sandy are living on faith alone to help them through their crisis. The UC students were able to share the gospel and show God’s love in numerous ways. It gave the people a sense of hope to know that God was alive and working in these students.

“The people we worked with were amazed that we would want to spend our spring break there helping them,” said team leader Christen Dierken. “I never really thought anything about it. That is exactly where I felt I should have been and I’m glad I did it. I was overwhelmed with their appreciation.”

On top of the UC students lending a hand to repair damage and loss, they were able to deliver gift cards to the families who needed assistance the most. Many of the families cried and hugged the students as they graciously accepted the cards. This reminded the students that they were changing lives and making a difference.

“Something that God had been putting on my heart the last few years was reaffirmed on this trip,” explained Christen Dierken. “As a Christian, your life isn’t your own and you must abandon yourself for Christ. You can’t live your life only for yourself. I hope that these people could see Christ shine through us as we worked with them.”

These students not only helped the Super Storm Sandy victims with their loss but they shared the gospel of God through their kind words and good deeds. This team of UC students is a young group and for the majority of them, this was their first mission trip. New relationships were built and bonds were created as they spread God’s love and gave hope to the victims on Staten Island.

Located in Williamsburg, Ky., University of the Cumberlands is an institution of regional distinction, which currently offers four undergraduate degrees more than 40 major fields of study; nine pre-professional programs; seven graduate degrees, including a doctorate and six master’s degrees; certifications in education; and online programs.