“When it comes to service, you start out thinking that it’s for those you’re serving but come away realizing that you benefit, too.”
When Andy Asbury, a student in Pfeiffer’s Master of Arts in Practical Theology (MAPT) program, traveled this summer with five undergraduate sports chaplains to the Dominican Republic to deliver more than 800 pairs of shoes to orphans and refugee children, he knew they’d be addressing an overwhelming need.
“We returned with our spirits renewed and bonds strengthened,” he said. “We are especially grateful for all that life in the U.S. provides.”
Andy was introduced as a leader last fall to Pfeiffer’s sports chaplains, a group of student-athlete leaders, through an internship with the MAPT program. In addition to weekly Bible study and fellowship activities, they worked together to raise funds for the Dominican Republic mission trip, for which they partnered with Samaritan’s Feet, a nonprofit organization that “provides shoes as the foundation to a spiritual and healthy life, resulting in the advancement of education and economic opportunities.”
Making the trip possible were fundraisers and donations from professors, family and friends, coaches and the Office of Student Development. Especially helpful was a grant from Above and Beyond, a foundation that donated funds for volunteer hours performed by the student-athletes and coordinated by Pfeiffer’s Francis Center for Servant Leadership.
“It was a true university effort,” said Andy. “Everyone was tremendously supportive through their financial contributions and prayers.”
In the Dominican Republic, the group visited orphanages, church camps and a Haitian refugee camp, where in addition to distributing shoes, they organized basketball and soccer camps, participated in worship services and prayed for each child. The kids were measured for sneakers, Crocs or other footwear, and their feet were washed by members of the volunteer group before new shoes were presented.
“A pair of shoes is very important to a person’s overall health and, in the Dominican Republic, necessary for attending school and participating in sports and other extracurricular activities,” said Andy. “The opportunity to be a part of this effort made a life-changing impact on everyone involved.”