SPRINT Brazil 2013

Seattle Pacific University students learning and serving alongside local leaders in Brazil.

What SPRINT’s All About

Hello, friends!

With today’s return of the Vietnam SPRINT team and the departure of the Brazil team, we’re pretty close to SPRINT’s halfway point this summer.  (For a full list of this summer’s trips, visit the SPRINT webpage).

I know you’re primarily interested in reports from teams’ trips, so I’ll keep this post brief.  Quickly, though, I wanted to offer some background information on the SPRINT program and our goals for all of this international travel, learning and service you’ll read about on these pages.

University-sponsored short-term missions at Seattle Pacific University date back to the early 1960s; participants in Operation Outreach, later renamed Seattle Pacific Reachout INTernational, have volunteered in countries around the world for many years.  Serving in teams alongside in-country local leadership, the objective of SPRINT trips has always been to provide needed help, a witness to the Gospel and important learning opportunities for college students.

Today SPRINT is advised and supported by SPU’s John Perkins Center for Reconciliation, Leadership Training and Community Development. Perkins Center staff (that’s me) and student leaders partner to recruit, train and send the SPRINT teams you’re reading about this summer.

It’s important for us to engage students with effective, sustainable, community-developing work that promotes long-term transformation rather than the negative, dependency-creating outcomes sometimes associated with short-term missions.  To that end, our pre-trip training and host-partner selection focus on a set of values outlined by the Christian Community Development Association, emphasizing local leadership development, empowerment and reconciliation that bridges both social and spiritual gaps. Our hope is that students will learn from effective community engagement models and apply these lessons to their future work, wherever God leads them.

Another key aspect of the SPRINT process is our emphasis on post-trip reflection and application.  Neat experiences, great photos and fun stories about new foods do not equal life transformation.  However, when students are intentional in reflecting on their experiences, learning take-aways and challenges of the trip they’re more likely to discover God at work throughout the trip experience and beyond.

To encourage the reflection process we’ll send each student a copy of the Global Citizen Journal, published by the Krista Foundation for Global Service as he or she returns home.  The journal highlights the importance of incorporating service and mission experiences into one’s life through reflection and application.  You might find this sample article interesting:  In “Staying for Tea” Aaron Ausland reflects on the importance of long-term commitment and listening to community in order to find one’s place of effectiveness as an outsider coming in.

Thanks again for your support of students as they participate in SPRINT this summer.  If you’d like more information on the program, ways to give or ways to be involved, please contact me at (206) 281-2932 or owen@spu.edu.

Owen Sallee, SPRINT Advisor



On a plane!

This morning Rebekah, Emmanuel, Brian and Kevin met at SeaTac Airport to begin their adventure. They’ll meet Mary Claire and Heather in Atlanta.

Over the next six weeks this team will learn and serve alongside local church leadership in Recife and neighboring communities. They’ll keep us updated at least weekly through this blog.

If you have questions at any point please let me know. You can reach me at owen@spu.edu or 206-427-1296.

Thanks for your support of this team!

Owen Sallee
SPRINT Advisor


Learn More!

Team Brazil Presentation

Here’s a snapshot of Brazil SPRINT’s trip, outlined in the group’s final presentation.

Training Class Final Presentations!

SPRINT Class Final

At last night’s SPRINT training class each team presented a final report on their trips and the work of their host partners.  This group of 30 students is looking forward to exciting and mutually-enriching experiences around the world this summer!

SPRINT Prayer Calendar

This summer SPRINT will send 7 teams to learn and serve alongside local hosts around the globe.  Use this prayer calendar to remember each team as they travel.  Learn more at www.spu.edu/sprint.


Meet the Team! – Kevin

As a team we decided that it would be fun to introduce each of us here on the blog.  But instead of each of us introducing ourselves, we are each introducing another member of the team.  So this is me, Brian, here to introduce our fearless leader, Dr. Kevin Neuhouser.  Be on the lookout for more introductions in the days and weeks to come!
-Team Brasil (Bekah, Brian, Emmanuel, Heather, Mary Claire, and Kevin)
KevinKevin Neuhouser is the faculty member traveling with and leading our team to Brazil this summer.  This will be Kevin’s seventh Sprint trip to Recife, Brazil, having led a group of SPU students every other year since 2001.  Kevin’s Brazil story does not start with Sprint, though, but with an exchange trip he took in high school.

Kevin grew up in Indiana, and for his junior year of high school decided to take a Rotary exchange opportunity.  He spent that entire year in studying in southern Brazil, but says that his most profound experience took place for a mere fifteen seconds while traveling on a bus.  Taking a night bus into São Paulo, Kevin caught a short glimpse of a favela, a slum.  He says that it was a “glimpse of a world I had not even imagined existed” and that after returning to his school he couldn’t stop thinking about what he had seen.  A week later Kevin traveled back to São Paulo and the favela had been bulldozed.

An entire community, there one week and gone the next.  Kevin continued to wonder about these squatter settlements and felt “drawn to the favelas.”  Returning home to Indiana, Kevin completed his undergraduate education at Taylor University, studying political science and sociology.  Immediately after graduation, Kevin traveled back to Brazil, this time to Recife, the poorest city in the country.  Through the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), Kevin spent the next three years living in a favela.  Kevin says that life in the favela “felt right, but was extremely hard.”  “I was right where God wanted me to be.”

Over the course of his three years in Brazil, Kevin met and married his wife, Marian, who was also working through the MCC.  After returning to the US, Kevin earned his PhD in sociology at Indiana University.  Now a professor of sociology at Seattle Pacific, Kevin says, “teaching is what gives me energy and joy.”  As a teacher to many, Kevin strives to act as a bridge, linking students to worlds and people they wouldn’t otherwise know.

Brazil continues to hold a special place in Kevin’s heart.  Learning in the classroom can be powerful, but “taking students to the thing that they’re studying” offers a much deeper experience.  “I love introducing students to Brazil,” says Kevin, and the bright smile that appears on his face whenever Brazil is brought up shows these words to be very, very true.

A quick hello & prayers

Hello from Team Brazil!  We just wanted to say hi to you all real quick before we all head our separate ways for spring break.  Once the team is back together spring quarter, we will all provide an introduction of another member of the team here on the blog.  Also look forward to hearing about some exciting team fundraisers our team will be doing in the spring. (Which may involve chocolate!  Oh yeah.  Be excited.)  We’ve already had a few team meetings, and God has been evident in the way that our team has begun to grow together.  Each of us is excited to see what God has in store for us in Brazil, as we join in the work that God and His people are already doing there.

That said, our team covets your prayers.  Please be praying for both our time in Brazil and this time beforehand as we prepare and grow as a team.  Pray that God would give us eyes to see and seek Him clearly through this process.  Pray that we would grow to better love each other as a team, and come to enjoy each other’s company more and more.  Pray for the people of Brazil whom we will be joining in ministry this summer, that God would be working in and through them even now.  We are incredibly grateful for any time that you can take to pray for our team and our trip–thank you!

Look forward to lots more blog posts here come spring quarter!  Until then, blessings to you all.

-Team Brasil (Emmanuel, Ria, Mary Claire, Heather, Bekah, Kevin, and Brian)

p.s. To get you all in the Brazilian mood, click here for the Brazilian national anthem!


Here’s how to provide financial support!

Brazil Donation Form

Download this form, write in a SPRINTer’s name, detach and mail the donation slip with your check payable to SPU.  Your donation is tax-deductible and will be a great help as students prepare for their SPRINT trips!

Questions about the donation process?  Email Owen Sallee: owen@spu.edu

Meet the team!


The Church and Community Development

Member of this SPRINT team will experience Brazilian culture through service and home-stays in urban and rural contexts. Students will engage in issues of community development and explore a Christian response to poverty. Includes coursework with Dr. Neuhouser and the option to earn credit for SOC4910 or ANT2250.

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