NEWS & PRESS RELEASES
Josiah Mantz: Spring Break in Haiti
While many college students enjoy spring break relaxing at home or the beach, Josiah Mantz did something completely different with his time off. He spent his break on the mission field, traveling to the earthquake-ravaged nation of Haiti.
His work included serving and ministering to residents of the island nation in the wake of the recent devastation. The two-week trip to Haiti in March involved some building projects as well as working with and teaching children.
Josiah is a junior at BBC in the Health and Physical Education program. He goes to New Life Baptist Church in Scranton and leads worship on Wednesday nights.
Learn more about the Health and Physical Education program here.
Learn more about the Intercultural Youth Ministries program here.
Learn more about the Missions program here
Read more In the Spotlights here.
How did you apply your studies at BBC while serving in Haiti?
My studies helped me greatly when I was there. While I wasn't directly involved in teaching a gym class, I was able to apply my classroom management skills while I was there. The first week I helped teach a preschool class to three young children who were full of life and a sense of adventure.
What prompted you to go?
My story is pretty crazy. Last year, I was involved in a ministry at BBC where a few of us would travel to Connecticut once a month to help with a church plant there. My first time there we visited a church where a man gave his presentation of how he was planning to go to Haiti in two weeks. As he was talking, I knew this was something I wanted to do. So I talked to him afterwards, got his email address, and two weeks later I was in Haiti for the first time. It was amazing to see God work everything out.
What did you do while you were there in March?
I helped out with teaching the first week during the morning hours. When the afternoons rolled around, I joined the rest of my team building a roof over a cooking area, doors for a new school, bookshelves, cubbies, and various other work projects. The second week we went to a different location and converted an old orphanage into a guest house for relief workers to come in and stay in.
What did you do differently this trip?
Well, last time I wasn't involved in teaching at all. So that was a completely new experience for me. It was so much fun though trying to teach the children colors, numbers, and letters.
Do you have plans to return again?
I would love to return again. As of now, I don't have any exact dates I am going to return. I am waiting on God and his perfect timing. He's worked it out perfectly twice so far, I have faith he'll do it again if he wants me there.
How has BBC prepared you for this and future trips?
BBC has given me skills in teaching that I was able to put into use there. Also, at BBC I've had the opportunity to lead worship at Student Missions Fellowship and during class chapel. So, once I got to Haiti, I was able to use those skills by leading worship after dinner at the guest house every other night as well as leading worship for church Sunday morning.
What was your favorite part of the trip?
My all time favorite part of the trip has to be the kids. Their smiles, their laughs, and their hugs. I interacted with this one child, Adriano, many times while I was there. The missionaries there, the Manassero family, had taken him in after his mom refused to care for him. He was a twin and in Haitian culture twins are bad luck so parents choose to take care of the one and neglect the other. As I held him in my arms, a mere five-pound, four-ounce child, it made me realize how much these children go through - Not to mention he was three months old.
What was the most surprising part of the trip?
Seeing everything. I knew it was bad, but there were areas that were completely destroyed. The guest house I stayed at was completely spared, but the building directly behind it (probably only 50 feet away) was completely destroyed. Another surprising part I noticed that was different from my last trip was the amount of churches. Driving around the city, we would hear countless times churches lifting their voices up to God in worship. This earthquake has truly caused a huge turnaround in this country so controlled by Voodooism.
How did the reality compare to America's public impression of Haiti?
I think the reality is pretty close to the America's perception of the country. I mean there is so much need there. Even before the earthquake the country was in trouble. This has just made it that much worse.
What or who helped you prepare most for this trip?
Honestly, I really had no time to prepare for this trip. I was trying to get ahead on everything because I was missing a whole week of school. But, if I was to say one thing, I would say the missionaries down there helped me to prepare. They had a blog they were constantly updating since the earthquake. So I was able to get updates on the kids there, and the latest news about what was going on.
What did you learn and how did you grow during this trip?
What I learned is that God is truly in control. He works in ways that seem crazy to us. He is able to take things that seem awful and make them beautiful. In talking with the missionaries, since the earthquake they've said people are much more receptive to Christianity and the Bible because they have realized in their words, "Voodoo doesn't work." I think this is just so great to hear. Also in a country where there seems to be no hope, these people still find hope somehow. To me it would be extremely depressing, but the Haitian people are still able to find hope in their circumstances. I am just glad I could be a tiny part of showing Christ to the people down there.
The story of Baptist Bible College & Seminary is best told through the lives of students and alumni. Share your story and tell others how God has been leading in your life. Visit www.bbc.edu/yourstory.
Baptist Bible College & Seminary offers an outstanding Christian education through on campus, online, and other distance learning options. Students learn to serve and lead as they gain critical leadership and life skills. To learn more, go to www.bbc.edu or call 570.586.2400.
Posted on: 3/25/2010 11:44:54 AM
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