This past spring break, many Wesleyan students had the opportunity to serve on mission trips. From Ecuador to Atlanta, students were able to break out of their comfort zone and truly experience a life of humility and service to others.
Gabi Grogan and Kerri Dobo led students on the Atlanta-Urban Plunge Trip. This team experienced a more rustic week as they slept in sleeping bags, partnered with local ministries to serve Atlanta’s homeless, and were immersed in a Clarkston refugee experience. Team Leader Gabi Grogan said, “the most powerful part of the trip was receiving a text message from a student saying that they went the following weekend to go hang out with the kids that they met; it’s definitely the most powerful and beautiful part of the Atlanta mission trip, that we can continue to go back even when we’re done with the week.”
Dominican Republic Makarios (Girls):
Led by Corrie Nash, the Dominican Republic girls trip partnered with the Makarios School in Montellano. During their time there, students were able to lead chapels, invest in the young children there, and share their personal faith journeys. Madison McKemie recalled a powerful part of the trip. “We went into a village called Chichewa and prayed with many of the families living there. We didn’t even speak the same language as them. This showed me how God breaks down language barriers and brings people together,” said McKemie.
The co-ed Ecuador mission team, led by Alex Bufton and Glenn Archer, partnered with Jousha Expeditions and had the opportunity to travel to different villages and share the gospel, making personal connections with the people there and sharing their own faith journey. Rachel Morgan said, “the most powerful part of my mission trip was when we went to the old folks home in Riobamba. These people are neglected by their families and left homeless, and it was incredible to see how simply singing and dancing for them and with them brightened their day immensely.”
The Guatemala co-ed trip had an amazing opportunity to partner with Medical Missions Ministries, and serve the people of Guatemala City. Led by Meg Brooks and Dawson Zimmerman, the team was able to assist in basic wellness checks, provide healthcare needs, and operate a Vacation Bible School. Kelsey Rappe said, “some of the most powerful parts of our trip occurred in the counseling stations, areas where one to two of us could sit with the patient and a translator to hear stories and pray over people. I loved getting to hear about people’s faith journeys and lives, to share Jesus with those who had yet to know Him, and to pray over their lives and the lives of their families. I saw and heard amazing things, and I truly felt the Holy Spirit’s presence in our little group, which I just thought was so powerful.” According to Rappe, other memorable moments of the trip included, “jamming out to some Spanish tunes during long bus rides (dance moves and all), having late night conversations that allowed me to grow closer with my team members, and probably the long and strenuous, but beautiful trek up the Pacaya volcano.”
During their time in Jamaica, the co-ed team, led by Lacy Gilbert and Kevin Kadzis, was able to build a new playground in partnership with Kids Around the World. They were able to create new friendships with the people there, and work with schools, churches and orphanages to take care of the children there. Gracie Mitchell said her favorite part was when they finished building the playground and got to watch the kids run and play on it for the first time.
Led by Jeff and Jennifer Plunk, the co-ed Nicaragua trip partnered with HOI-Nicaragua and Comunidad Connect to assist in various construction projects, VBS activities, and the operation of a local clinic. Junior Emma Surber said, “the most powerful part of my trip was watching the interactions between the people of the village and my team. It was so cool to see the genuine joy that everyone had. Another powerful part was when I got to go to three different homes and hear about the lives of three different women and get to know them and pray for them. It was cool because they had a lot of pain in their lives but they were so happy and thankful for everything God has given them.”
Nathan Emmelhainz and Matthew Means led the all boys trip to Nicaragua. During their time there, they were able to work with the Nehemiah Center to support the local church and local school. Matthew Plunk said the most powerful part of the trip was, “worship together on Thursday night. It was so cool to worship and pray together knowing that the love we felt in Nicaragua would continue here in the ATL.”
Dominican Republic SCORE (Girls):
Partnering with Score International, Amelia Davis and Megan Trotter led the girls only Dominican Republic trip. During their time there, they had a more rustic experience sleeping in tents and serving the local church in the small town of San Jose. Team leader Megan Trotter recalled a memorable moment from the trip. “One of the most powerful parts of this trips for me was seeing Mrs. Davis give away her only pair of Chacos to a mother of four in need of shoes. We were fitting the children for shoes and she noticed this mom was walking around barefoot. Without hesitation, she handed off her shoes with a warm smile and hug. The mom then lead Mrs. Davis to her small tin home where they spent the next few hours talking! I loved Mrs. Davis generosity, ability to see others in need, and easy in giving what she has,” said Trotter.
A select group of high schoolers had the opportunity to lead the 8th grade mission trip to serve widows in Chattanooga Tennessee. Partnering with Widow Harvest Ministries, Andy Free and Kali Sessions led the team in various construction and yard work projects. Student leader Sid Brendel said, “the most powerful part of the trip was when a group of us went over to take part in widows bible study. After the sermon they went into an open mic time, and anyone in the room could ask for the mic to share, sing, or pray. It ended up being about an hour of widows and some students praising God. It was extremely powerful, and I will never forget that time.”