Students

‘Reaching Hearts for Christ’: Volunteers Share the Mission Behind Spring Thaw

image'There's a lot of family out there'

It's Juan Gonzalez's first year volunteering at Spring Thaw, but the Youth Ministry major knows a thing or two about the event — he attended the retreat with his youth group all four years of high school. "I got saved in eighth grade and was surrounded by a great community and a great youth group," he says. "It made me want to provide the same thing for other kids."

Now a freshman at MU, Gonzalez is excited to contribute to an event that changed his life year after year. "When I was in high school, I'd see only about two other Christians at my school," he says. "But when I came to Spring Thaw, I would get so fired up when I saw how many Christians were here. This event shows people a broader community of believers; it lets them know that there's a lot of family out there."

Gonzalez will wear many hats during the weekend event, and he's eager for each one. "I'll be volunteering in the puppy room and helping out with with junta darts and operation underground," he says. "I want to branch myself out in this community, and I'm excited to get to know more youth groups."

IMG_1316'It's quality fun'

Katie MacDonald is busy turning Roger's Café into a Disney-themed karaoke hot spot: New lights glisten from the ceiling, clouds billow from a fog machine and a disco ball winks over the stage. It's the psychology major's second year volunteering at the event, and she's glowing with enthusiasm. "Disney karaoke is going to be super magical," she says. "My friend and I are going to MC and dress up like princesses; it's going to be awesome."

The junior hopes the karaoke lounge — and all of Spring Thaw for that matter — will be a place where students can relax and have a good time." So often high schoolers get so involved in what other people think about them," she says. "I want them to remember that they're still kids and can have fun. They can be real with each other and let God work. We want them to find their identity in Christ and not anywhere else."

DSCN0930'I want to be a role model'

Rodney DeJager, a Youth Ministry major, agrees. "MU is a safe environment for these students," he says. "We've been praying that the Holy Spirit will be working in them."

The senior has a big heart for high schoolers.  "It's a really crucial time in peoples' lives," he says "I appreciated the support and encouragement I got from my youth pastor. Now I want to be a role model."

This will be DeJager's third year  as a volunteer and his second year as an intern. He and a group of five other interns have taken months to dream, brainstorm, budget and plan for the 44-hour retreat. "It's a valuable experience," he says. "We've talked about all  this stuff in freshman and sophomore classes, and now I'm putting it into practice."

DeJager will continue to hone his leadership skills this weekend as he joins the more than 200 Multnomah volunteers that make the retreat successful. "Spring Thaw is great for marketing and publicity, but it really shows our school's heart for people," he says. "MU genuinely cares for these high school students. It wants to give them this gift — and reach hearts for Christ."

Registration is full, but visit the Spring Thaw website for more information about this retreat.

‘A Labor of Love’: Dr. Hildebrand Reflects on the Ultimate Youth Event

hildebrand_mainWhat do Disney karaoke, theology seminars, laser tag, MU’s campus and 825 high schools students have in common? You guessed it: Spring Thaw. The weekend retreat, open to youth groups and individuals, will kick off this Friday at 7 p.m. Every year brings a unique theme, and 2014 is all about medieval knights, fairy tales and Disney.

Youth Ministries Department Chair Dr. Rob Hildebrand has been running the event since its debut five years ago. "MU was awarded a large grant so it could offer theological training to high school students," he says. For years, the University hosted a leadership program called CREDO, which benefited hundreds of high school students. But when CREDO began to decline, MU needed to reimagine the event. That's when Spring Thaw was born.

Although many other Christian universities offer retreats for high school students, Spring Thaw stands out. "Our event is more community-based because everyone who’s volunteering already lives here," says Hildebrand. More than 200 volunteers — composed of MU students and staff — plan, build and facilitate the retreat each year. A small group of students majoring in Youth Ministry take on larger leadership roles and serve as interns. "Our students do well at getting hired after they intern at this event," Hildebrand says. "A lot of people do ministry lazily, but I want our volunteers to develop a good work ethic. I want them to see that when you do hard work, you really can make things better."

Making Spring Thaw better is something Hildebrand is passionate about. "I love being innovative, and I try to make improvements every year," he says. He was ecstatic to secure Dr. Chap Clark as the main speaker. “In my book, he’s one of the top five youth ministry experts in the world," Hildebrand says. Besides the main sessions with Clark, the high school students will attend theology seminars led by MU faculty."This isn't not a shallow, frivolous retreat," says Hildebrand. "I hope the seminars will help students see Christianity as it is and come to grips with who Christ is."

Hildebrand believes that students learn best when they're in a balanced environment, and he injects plenty of activities into the weekend, including comedy skits, a puppy room, bubble soccer, magic shows and a color run. "This really is a labor of love," he says. "Volunteers are going to be tired, it inconveniences staff and students in the dorms are giving up their space. But we’re doing this because we love these high school students. At MU, we're not all about MU — we're about serving and looking beyond ourselves. We care about the Church and the kingdom."

Registration is full, but visit the Spring Thaw website for more information about this retreat.

Visit MU in April

quincy_thumbWhy you should go

Our free visit events are the perfect, no-obligation opportunity you need to learn about our programs.

What to expect

Explore campus. Talk with our program directors, staff and students. Ask them as many questions as you'd like. Join a professor for lunch in our cafeteria. Sit in on a class. Meander through our award-winning grounds. Check out our campus housing options. See if MU is right for you.

community-interactionOur event schedule

Registration is open now. Sign up for as many events as you'd like, and tell your friends about it too!

College

April 7: Mondays @ Multnomah

MUsign_mainDegree Completion Program

April 3: DCP Info Session

Grad School

April 8: MAT Info Session

April 9: MATESOL Info Session

April 9: MAGDJ Info Session

April 10: MAC Info Session

Seminary

April 8: Seminary Info Night

You’re Invited to Respond and Prevent

violence_mainApril is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month, when activists across the country raise awareness about violence and educate communities on how to prevent it. MU is getting involved by hosting a series of special events. Students, staff and faculty are invited to participate.

APRIL 14 DAY OF OUTREACH

A group of students and faculty will volunteer at Door To Grace, a Portland nonprofit providing restorative care and safe shelter for survivors of commercial sexual exploitation. Interested in joining? Email Clarissa Smith at csmith2@my.multnomah.edu.

APRIL 14-22 CLOTHESLINE PROJECT: BEARING WITNESS TO VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

This project gives those in the MU community who have been affected — directly or indirectly — by violence the opportunity to express their emotions by decorating a shirt. The shirts will hang in the JCA hallway to serve as a testimony to the problem of violence against women. This will be one of more than 500 Clothesline Projects being shown around the world.

Want to add a shirt to the clothesline? You can either decorate a shirt on your own or host a shirt-decorating party for a group. Shirts must be submitted to Martha Byrne in the counseling center by April 8.

APRIL 18 BRUNCH CHAT: THE GLOBAL IMPACT OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

Staff and faculty will share how God is using the Church to respond to violence against women around the world.

APRIL 22 CHAPEL: MEN CAN PREVENT VIOLENCE

Chris Cleaver, MU counselor, will speak about the role men should play in preventing abuse. “The problem of violence against women is a men’s issue,” he says. “Although the majority of men do not rape, batter and abuse women, many of us are passive bystanders and do not actively oppose the mistreatment of women. I want to call men to refuse permitting anything that supports a culture of violence against women. Because without their active participation, the violence will persist.”

For more information about any of these events, email Chris Cleaver at ccleaver@multnomah.edu.

Basketball Team Seeks Support for Mission Trip to Taiwan

The MU Lions and their coach, Curt Bickley, will be taking a mission trip to Taiwan May 10-19. Bickley has been coaching men's basketball at Multnomah since 2003. This will be the sixth mission trip he has taken with the Lions and the fourth mission trip to Taiwan.

The team will work with Taiwan Sunshine, a nonprofit that supports special needs children by providing outreach and special events, such as the Hero Games, which is similar to the Special Olympics. During their trip, the Lions will volunteer at the Hero Games and run various basketball clinics around the country. The team members will not only have the chance to teach children the rules of the game; they will also get to share the Gospel with them.

basketballteam_mainEleven team members will be traveling to Taiwan, and each of them needs to raise $2,000 to cover expenses for traveling, food and lodging. The team has shared the following prayer requests with the Multnomah community:

  • Successful fundraisers
  • Spiritual, mental and physical preparation for the trip
  • Safety while traveling
  • Eternal results from their ministry

The Lions are still hard at work raising money for the trip. The cutoff date for donations is April 20.

Want to contribute to this mission trip? Include the following information with a check made payable to "MU Athletic Tour":

  • Your name and address
  • The amount you're donating
  • The name of the player whom you're supporting (This is optional. You may choose to help a specific player or donate to the general fund.)

Send this information, along with your gift, to the following address:

Multnomah University, Athletic Department
8435 NE Glisan St.
Portland, OR 97220

Remember: Only checks made out to "MU Athletic Tour" can be accepted. Donations over $20 are tax deductible. Your financial gift cannot be refunded. Contributions are solicited with the understanding that MU has complete control and discretion over the use of all donated funds.

The MU Lions are grateful for your support!

For more information about Multnomah Athletics, check out our athletics page.

Davey Walker: Building Relationships

davey_mainDavey Walker had always wanted to attend Multnomah. But once he graduated high school, he opted for a different college. Over the next few years, he switched his major six times. Nothing felt right. Then he came to MU. The transition brought many benefits, including an increased access to faculty members that Walker greatly appreciates.

"MU hires well-educated teachers who invest in their students," he says. "And when you build relationships with them, it adds validity to what they teach. You're not just a face in the crowd to your professors. You're a name and a story."

Read his story.

 

 

 

Quincy Robinson: Preparing the Mind and Spirit

quincy_mainQuincy Robinson is a lot of things: scholar, leader, researcher, president, friend. He has a lot of goals ahead of him: master's degrees, a doctorate degree, a professorship at Stanford or Oxford. And although Multnomah's only a step in his journey, it's a significant step, and it's equipping him to pursue his passions and purpose.

"This school is an amazing place to push you forward," he says. "What lies ahead is going to be easier for me because I'm doing graduate-level work at the undergraduate level. I'm ever indebted to MU. It's like a family. The people here taught me how to love Jesus." Read his story.

You’re Invited to Day of Prayer

karen-fancher

Multnomah University will hold a Day of Prayer on Friday, March 7. This is a day when daytime classes are cancelled, and students are given the opportunity to step back from studies to have a time dedicated to worshiping and seeking God together. The theme of this Day of Prayer is “Reflections of Grace”. This will be a time to reflect upon the amazing grace of God which has been extended to us, and how our hearts are responding to God in receiving His grace and in extending it to others.

Schedule

Students will meet in the JCA student center from 9 to 10:30 for a session of worship in song, reflection and prayer. MU's Chair of Pastoral Ministries Department Dr. Valerie Clemen will guide the time of reflection. Participants will have a short break and then gather in small groups to pray for one another from 10:45 to 12 noon. The small group prayer times will be led by students. The students will meet in affinity groups with their majors and minor, and the seminary and graduate students will meet together for prayer as well. In the afternoon students are invited to participate with at least two other people in prayer walks around the campus. The goal is to cover one another and the ministry of MU in prayer.

Student Feedback

Dr. Val Clemen

MU's Spiritual Life Committee conducted a recent survey which asked students what they would most appreciate on Day of Prayer. At times the spring Day of Prayer has been held at a retreat center off campus. However, 72% of the students in this survey said that they would prefer to stay on campus. Thus, the Day of Prayer will be held at MU, with an invitation to prayer walk over our campus as well. Students also indicated that they wanted intentional time focused on personal reflection and praying for one another. It was encouraging for the Spiritual Life Committee to hear how highly students valued prayer and wanted to grow in the area of personal prayer. It is our prayer that this time together will strengthen us in our relationships with the Lord, strengthen us as a community honor the Lord, and align our hearts even more with the heart of God.

About the author

Dr. Karen Fancher has worked at Multnomah University since 1998. She is the assistant professor of Pastoral Ministry and the dean of seminary students.

 

 

Frank Ocampo: Living Joyfully in the Present

frank_mainFrank Ocampo's goal is to open a community center for at-risk youth in his hometown of London, England. MU's Master of Arts in Counseling program is preparing him with rigorous classes and hands-on experience so he can fulfill his dreams.

"I've learned what it means to live joyfully in the present since I've been at Multnomah," he says. "If you have the joy of Christ in you, no one can rob that but yourself." Read his story.

Truly Holistic: MA in Global Development & Justice Flourishes

The inaugural year of Multnomah's MA in Global Development and Justice (MAGDJ) is in full swing. The program, launched last fall, equips students for a lifetime of fruitful service in the vast world of justice initiatives, poverty alleviation, disaster response and compassion projects. I'm happy to highlight this program, especially in light of the two justice-centered events MU hosted last week: the Global Missions Conference and the Justice Conference Portland. The MAGDJ ties in beautifully with Multnomah's holistic approach to the world's toughest problems. I sat down with Intercultural Studies Chair and Director of the MAGDJ, Dr. Greg Burch, to find out more about this dynamic degree.

'A globally-focused graduate program'

imageBurch earned his bachelor's degree at Multnomah in 1994, and then immediately jumped into global development work in Venezuela. He ministered to homeless youth for several years before moving to Costa Rica to teach at a seminary.

One day, he received an email from MU's Intercultural Studies Chair, Dr. Tom Kopp, who asked him what he thought a globally-focused graduate program in humanitarian studies would look like. Many students had been asking about such a degree, and Kopp wanted to turn their hopes into a reality.

Burch sent Kopp his thoughts. The program never got off the ground, but when Kopp retired from Multnomah two years later, Burch applied for his position. He got the job, and moved with his wife and two kids to Portland. As soon as he began working at MU in summer 2012, Burch threw himself into crafting a program proposal for an MA in Global Development and Justice. The board and accreditors approved it, and a new major was born.

'A fabulous place to prepare'

Students received the program with open arms. Karen Sele says she always knew MU was an intentionally Bible-based university, but she wasn't prepared for the personalized care and customized teaching the MAGDJ program gives her: "I'm impressed that the most intensive assignments are flexibly structured to complement each individual’s focus," she says. "The members of our cohort bring a valuable tapestry of backgrounds, experiences and views to our discussions. After only one term of learning and supporting each other, we’ve developed a deep community of friendship which will extend beyond this program as we come alongside God in his work of restoration here and around the world. If God is calling you to this kind of work, Multnomah is a fabulous place to prepare!"

Sele and her classmates will completes 300 hours of internship before graduating. Burch is currently helping students find their ideal internship matches; he's compiled a list of organizations they can work for, and is busy writing several letters of recommendation. His students are applying to International Justice Mission, World ReliefSamaritan's Purse and several other well-respected for-profits and nonprofits. "We do a good job of networking with organizations who can hire our students after they get their degree," he says. "I want my students to go all over the world after they graduate."

Serving in a quality way

Burch says his students are very different from one another, but they're all earning a MAGDJ degree for the same reason — they have a deep desire to help others and to make the world a better place. "These students are amazing," he says. "They're so passionate about reaching out to people on the fringes of society."

But it takes more than passion to work in the field. Early burnout is a common issue. "Many people only last about two years when they work with a group like at-risk youth," says Burch. "But I want our students to be able to serve a lifetime." Burch and his team of professors make it a priority to train students in the art of soul care, self-care and spiritual formation, "so they can serve in a quality way," he says.

Although Burch dreams of growing his program, he's more concerned about making sure his students are equipped to tackle anything that comes their way. "I'm not numbers-focused," Burch says. "I want to mentor my students and walk with them."

'Truly holistic'

There are other global development and justice degrees out there, but Burch recommends MU's program for a few good reasons: "It's faith-based and truly holistic," he says. "We incorporate spirituality into the curriculum. We want the people we help to develop in their relationship with God and grow in their leadership abilities. A lot of programs just focus on the financial aspect, but humans are whole beings, and we have more than economic needs."

Burch says there are more jobs in this field than anywhere else. More than 1.9 billion people live on less than $1 per day. Sixteen thousand children die from curable diseases each day. "If you're looking to get rich, then this type of work isn't for you," Burch says. "But if you're looking to serve people and see lives change — this is it."

To learn more about this program, check out the MAGDJ page and read Dr. Burch's article.

MU will also offer a part-time MAGDJ program at its Reno-Tahoe site beginning fall 2014.