All Team Members Returned

After a frantic few days of last minute changes, all team members have now returned.  Although none of us are showing signs of illness, we are taking government recommendations to limit social contact seriously.

Malone University had someone drive a Malone van to the Detroit airport for our use, and he then rented a car to return without having any direct contact with us.  (Thank you, Dr. Miller and Russ Thorn!)  Malone team members returned to campus by late Saturday evening.  Students were allowed to gather belongings and head home if they had transportation.  Two students who plan to leave in a day or two were provided with on campus housing with self-isolation procedures in place.  One student who may be on campus for a longer period of time was provided a self-contained apartment on campus.  Any necessary supplies and food will be delivered to these students and we will work with them on next steps.

Milligan students were met by a parent at the airport and transported to campus.  They were not allowed to enter campus buildings but were allowed to have other people retrieve things from their rooms.  Two students did not have the ability to return home right away and are being housed by Dr. Kristen and Cody Mudrack until next steps can be arranged.

The social contact limitations that we are taking are purely precautionary.

We would like to thank the members of our Universities for their support and guidance.  Malone University has been running Service Learning Teams for years, and our training, protocols, and support network were effectively implemented, and we will also learn from this experience to shape future protocols.  Milligan University was a good partner as we adapted our plans.  Malone's Provost, Dr. Greg Miller, took the lead in coordinating our decisions and communication so we could keep a single, reliable point of emergency contact and information between the team, our travel agent, our universities, and our student emergency contacts.  His help and guidance were invaluable.  Again, we cannot thank our travel agent enough - this was our first time working with Siouxland Travel of Orange City, Iowa.  Not only did our agent, Bethany Schuller, provide exceptional service as we developed our travel plans, but she worked very hard to get us home early in this unprecedented situation.

We would like to express our gratitude to many people.  Polish families contacted Pastor Daniel to volunteer to house us in their homes if we had to stay in Poland.  Team members handled the uncertainties and sudden changes in our plans with grace and understanding.  The prayers and support of friends and family have been much appreciated.

Finally, I want to highlight the value of Service Learning Teams even in these extraordinary circumstances.  On our trip back to campus from Detroit, students were talking about the impact of our experiences on our lives and the highlights that they will take with them.  It is an amazing testament to the power of such experiences that team members were focused on the ways in which they connected with others and came back with new insights about what God is doing in the world far rather than on the stresses of the last few days.  Well done, team!!!

Although we are now back, look for a final post of reflections from Dr. Mudrack in a few days.

With gratitude for our team, our hosts, and everyone who helped us along the way,

Dr. Entwistle

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