The City Down the Street
For Gordon students, going abroad is the likelihood of going to another country. Students go on missions in places such as India, Guatemala, and even Ireland. The more local trips include Detroit, Portland and Mississippi. But, who knew Gordon would send students on a missions trip right down the street from the school. This year, students received the opportunity to go on a missions trip in Boston. Why Boston? When we think of Boston, it is considered the educational capital of the world. A place where plenty carry the role of the server and not the served. So what brought a a group of Gordon students to the city down the street?
Led by Christina Waller and Alex Saintcyr, both were able to give reason to why missions was important in Boston. “Coming from a suburban area in Colorado and being at Gordon I didn’t have much exposure to the inner city. When I thought of Boston, I only thought of Fenway Park, Faneuil Hall, and the multiple colleges on every street corner. However, I learned that there were parts of the city that weren’t advertised”. said Waller. Places such as Dorchester, Mattapan, and Hyde Park experience high levels of homelessness. This was the goal of the missions group. To serve the homeless in Boston. The team partnered with Starlight Ministries to serve and build relationships with those in Boston. What was the guiding light for these students were Bill and Paulea Mooney McCoy. Paulea is the Director of the office of Multicultural Initiatives and Bill is the Director of Worship at Gordon College. Both are natives of Dorchester and led the team as faculty advisors for the trip.
Claire Hinkel, a member of the Boston Missions Trip talked about her encounter with the homeless of Boston. “People have this perception and stereotypes of homeless people. They are seen as lazy and needy but I saw different when I met up with them. These are people who are doing whatever they can to make it out of their circumstances and make sacrifices for themselves if they have children.” Alex Saintcyr, another native of Boston had his doubts of leading his group into the inner city. “ Some people were never exposed to having the liquor store down the street from their house, gangs violence being a threat to their community, or sirens going on at night. The city is filled with many endeavors but it also conveys a beauty about it that goes unnoticed. This trip really took people into the roots of Boston, my home, and many developed a love and care for places such as Dorchester, Mattapan, Jamaica Plain, and Hyde Park. In the end it wasn’t the homeless who needed us but it was us who needed them. Exposure is what allows us to be open minded and I’m glad that the Gordon team experienced this?
So why Boston? Cities are places filled with different types people, cultures, and experiences. Boston is a place of diversity and everyone in the city works as one to keep it functioning. For the typical Gordon student who is comfortable in Wenham, MA, a trip such as this provides perspective and variety for Gordon students. As Saintcyr said, in the end it was the students who needed the homeless. Students needed to hear their stories and learn of the brokeness of God’s kingdom. However at the same time, embracing the many things the city brings, good and bad, is what Gordon wants to broaden the education of these students.