On November 4, 2022, a CU Serves team of 30 students, staff, and faculty were commissioned to a five day short-term mission experience to provide much-needed support to those living on Prince Edward Island, struggling with damage in the aftermath of September’s devastating Hurricane Fiona.
Gathered around a U-Haul trailer filled with sleeping bags, tools, and other necessities, Dr. John Stackhouse prayed with and over the departing group for safety, success, and opportunities to serve communities of people in need. Over the coming days, that prayer was seen come to fruition again and again through a variety of work projects. With a diverse team of students both undergraduate and graduate, domestic and international, first-year and those on the cusp of convocation, the team assembled was equipped for the tasks ahead!
The team partnered with the work of Samaritan’s Purse Canada’s Disaster Relief Unit based at Cornerstone Baptist Church in Stratford, PEI. They went out to accomplish approximately 15 work orders over their time on the Island, working in partnership with and under the leadership of the Samaritan’s Purse team leaders, chaplains, and other volunteers, including a strong contingent from Canadian Baptists of Atlantic Canada churches! With dozens of hazardous and obstructive trees removed, thousands of pounds of brush and refuse cleared, and even post-flooding mould mitigation done by the CU Serves team, homeowners were beyond thankful.
“Again and again, we heard the same thing from residents – they couldn’t believe how much we were able to accomplish in a short period,” said Tim Carruthers, Manager of CU Serves. “One resident commented on how much fun our students had while they worked – there was a level of joy as they served that represented Crandall so well! Seeing such big smiles on students wearing CU Serves shirts covered in bits of tree bark, pine needles, and pitch was a great example of being the hands and feet of Jesus!”
More than landscaping work, Carruthers noted: “We saw both lawns and lives transformed through our service. One lady showed our students her ancient, well-worn Bible – and through tears, she thanked us for the work and even prayed for our team. And our CU students had a front row seat to it all.”
Perhaps a highlight that will be long cherished for the CU Serves team came on Sunday when Samaritan’s Purse released their crews to worship and rest. After joining with a few CBAC churches for worship across the island, the team rallied at Camp Seggie, a summer camping ministry with many ties to Crandall’s student body. Throughout the afternoon, the team worked as an incredible force to clear the downed trees surrounding several camper cabins and mitigated a significant hazard that would have plagued the ministry for months. Carruthers noted: “When Crandall students show up to get things done, incredible work happens. I’ll never forget the mountains of trees and brush neatly lining the edge of the property after we finished the work!”
This trip was made possible through the incredible volunteerism work of the CrandallU community, the leadership of Dr. Dale Stairs (Associate Vice President for Student Life and Transformation), and the generous support of the Atlantic Baptist Foundation who provided a grant to cover the student fees incurred on the trip.