While most Redeemer students spent their mid-term Reading Break heading home, or perhaps off to warmer climes, thirteen students – from across Ontario, Quebec and BC – stayed in Hamilton, learning more about the city and its diverse populations. “Hamilton is an incredibly diverse city,” says Jordan Reinders, a third year health science and music major from Barrie, who went on the trip. “As a student who is spending four years here, I think it’s important to expand my world to include those that I wouldn’t otherwise meet or even associate with. During the trip, I hoped to see some of the intrinsic beauty that God has instilled in the people who work and live in Hamilton, as well as meet some of the people make the Hamilton core the place that it is.” To do that, several Hamilton organizations hosted the students during the break. The students visited places such as Living Rock Ministries, Homestead Christian Care, MoveIn, and the Greater Ontario House of Prayer, and they met with representatives of several other organizations. The students learned about the work each group is doing in Hamilton through information sessions, tours and in some cases by participating in service projects or even just sharing meals with the people these groups serve. The team lived downtown that whole time, staying at Barton and Sherman. Hamilton native and third-year political science major John Schuurman was a student leader of the trip. “Redeemer is all about facilitating learning for students. In my time here, I have learned so much about flourishing as a member of God’s kingdom, but only a limited amount of that comes from the classroom, or even the campus. This trip was about allowing Redeemer students to learn what the classroom cannot really teach us about who God is, the world we live in and where we find His calling for us in it.” For these students, Hamilton is a living lab, a place where they can learn not just about the city, but how God is working there, and how He can use them. “I wanted to get to know Hamilton and some of its ministries more,” says Kayla Templeman, a second-year student from Burlington, “and I would like to build relationships with people in Hamilton. My hope and prayer is that I would get more of a heart for God and His work and to love His people even more.” “The team experienced, through the organizations and individuals who hosted us, that God is indeed already making things new,” says Schuurman. “In all of these things, students learned that living out the Christian faith in ways that change the world requires us to intentionally follow the commands of Jesus and live in love of those around us, wherever we have been planted.” The Hamilton trip is one of three Reading Week trips organized by Redeemer’s Community Service Learning Office. Other trips this year are to Philadelphia, PA and Nashville, TN.