Mission trips are known for being a lot of hard, physical labor, but the rewards and experience can make them worthwhile. Mission trips are volunteer explorations that normally involve international trips to help people who are in need of shelter, clothing, food and other necessities.
Some, however, do take place in the United States.
“My mission trip was a week-long to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, located in South Dakota,” Alex Nowling, a first year elementary major, said.
She went on the trip with her father and worked with the Oglala Lakota people. While there, the weather was over 100 degrees so she looked forward to the cooler evenings on the reserve.
“I was building bunk beds for children who had previously been sleeping on the floor, and they were overjoyed. I am so blessed to live the life I do. The trip really opened my eyes,” Nowling said.
One of her favorite parts was attending a powwow because it allowed her to partake in a personal cultural experience of the Native Americans. Nowling said she received a lot of gratification from helping others.
“People often overlook the Native Americans. They are a people that have consistently been pushed aside by the government, and it is still happening. I learned that being young does not mean you cannot make a difference,” she said.
Annie Stella, another first year student, has gone on two mission trips and has another one planned for this summer. Each of her trips have been religiously affiliated and her third one will be, too. Stella said the trips are very humbling for her and allow her to see the world from a different perspective.
“I learned about leadership skills and how to handle spontaneous and sometimes dangerous situations. I learned that there is more to this world than myself,” she said.
Stella said she made wonderful friendships on her trips and she would recommend mission trips for anyone.
Senior Alexandra Hendzel will be attending her first mission trip this spring break in Honduras. Her trip is one week long and she’ll be helping set up clinics in villages to help the under-served rural population. Some of the services she and the fellow missionaries will be providing include general doctor’s visits, female wellness examinations, dental exams and hygiene education sessions.
“Honduras is definitely a developing country that struggled with huge setbacks when a huge hurricane hit them about 15 years ago. I am excited to see the villages’ layouts and what they are struggling with,” Hendzel said.
Mission trips allow people to help others in a way that they cannot always help themselves. They require passionate people who want to make a difference in the world.