Ashland University has received a $15,000 grant from the Jochum-Moll Foundation, based in Cleveland, to fund a short-term mission scholarship program through the University’s Center of Religious Life.
Dr. Dan Lawson, dean for the Center of Religious Life, said the grant will provide 10 undergraduate students who have financial need with a $1,500 short-term mission scholarship in order to participate in the Isaiah Project’s international mission program.
“The Center of Religious Life has an increasing number of students who wish to go on Isaiah Project mission trips and over the past eight years, the Isaiah Project has increased the number of mission trips from one trip each year to as many as seven,” Lawson said. “Furthermore, with the acquisition of a new College of Nursing in August of 2010, the Isaiah Project now offers at least two medical mission trips each year. Each year, 50 to 70 students participate in one of these trips.”
Lawson said that due to budget restrictions, it is necessary that each student raise the funds necessary to pay for these trips.
“The Isaiah Project makes every effort to keep these trips as inexpensive as possible,” he said. “To date, the average two week international mission trip has cost each student $3,000 or less. However, even though we keep these trips as inexpensive as possible, many students are still prohibited from going because they simply cannot afford the cost.”
Lawson said that over the past eight years, the Isaiah Project has sent more than 500 students on short-term mission trips to New Orleans, San Francisco, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Peru, Ireland, England, Amsterdam, South Africa, the Bahamas, Argentina and many more locations.
“The response has been extremely overwhelming,” he said. “When students participate in these mission trips, it impacts their day-to-day lives long after they return.”
Lawson explained that the Isaiah Project is based upon the Biblical verse from Isaiah 6:9.
“This passage is a call to action for our students, staff and faculty to respond to the call of God through love and service in the name of Jesus Christ,” Lawson said. “Through the Isaiah Project, there are opportunities for students at Ashland University to impact the world on all levels such as the campus and community, the state of Ohio, throughout the United States and to the ends of the earth.”
Lawson said the Isaiah Project provides opportunities to partner with Ashland University's Center for Community Service, the 5 Stones Community Church, Salvation Army, Pump House Ministries and many others.
“Each semester, the Isaiah Project partners with the Center for Community Service to conduct service projects within the state of Ohio and one such project is called Urban Plunge,” he said. “These Saturday day-trips travel to an urban location in the greater Ohio area and work with established ministries in these locations. From serving the homeless to playing with inner city children, students have the opportunity to love and serve those in need beyond the campus and the city of Ashland.”
Lawson said it is important for students to understand that need is something that encompasses the nation as well as the global community, and that philanthropy and altruism are characteristics that everyone should share.
“For this reason, the Isaiah Project plans service, spiritual renewal and outreach trips to places within the United States such as New Orleans, Las Vegas, Colorado Springs and San Francisco, as well as many others. In these locations, students have worked in food pantries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters and prayer stations,” Lawson said.
“Likewise, it is critical that our students understand need is a global threat and compassion toward those in need is something that the global community must share. We encourage our students to have an awareness of the needs of others outside the borders of the Unites States,” he said. “Through the efforts of Isaiah Project International, our students serve orphanages, construction projects, food pantries, milk stations and medical clinics in countries like Jamaica, Peru, Argentina, Dominican Republic, Panama and South Africa.”