While journeying on a bus in Zambia from Congo, Brian Becker, director of International Ministries had an idea: the lent season is a good time to create an opportunity for PLNU students, staff and faculty to provide an annual offering helping those in need.
“Lent seemed like the perfect time because it is an annual Christian season of repentance, prayer, fasting and giving,” said Becker via email. “Lenten observance is something that Christians have been doing for millennia but it has faded for many evangelicals, including many Nazarenes.”
For this year’s Lent Giving Campaign, PLNU is joining universities like Mount Vernon Nazarene University and MidAmerica Nazarene University, in partnership with Heart to Heart International, raising funds to support the building of a schoolhouse in Cascade Pichon, Haiti. The school will serve more than 350 students in the community.
“We always think of Lent as a time where we give up something, and we never think of it as a time to give,” said Esteban Trujillo, associate director of International Ministries. “The reason why we give is to create more space for us to pray — to have this deeper, intentional relationship with God. And it’s during this time of prayer and seeking, that God reveals how we can serve and give.”
PLNU got involved with this project through a LoveWorks team. From May 18 to June 8, PLNU will send a group of students to Cascade Pichon, teamed with Heart to Heart International, to provide their services in health clinics.
“What’s really cool is that we’ve had this ongoing relationship with Haiti,” said Trujillo.
“We’ve sent LoveWorks teams to Haiti and it’s really great to be able to grow this relationship with people in that area and kind of help out.”
So far, PLNU has raised about $3,500 of its $10,000 goal. Donations were made through online giving , donation boxes at the front desk of the Spiritual Development office, and through chapel services, which were on April 4 and 16. The online donation site and donation boxes are still accepting donations. According Trujillo, the estimated cost of the building project is more than $40,000.
“Many students at PLNU haven’t practiced lent before, some haven’t been challenged to give sacrificially to help those in need – whether the need is clean water, education, medical care, or other basics that we often take for granted,” said Becker.
“We want LoveWorks to connect with more than those who go (on trips). We want to be deeply committed to giving and compassion through the church.”