SOUTH ABINGTON TWP. — Excited chatter filled a small room off the cafeteria at the Summit University of Pennsylvania on Wednesday, Jan. 13, as a small group of high school and college students, along with a few parents, met to practice a lineup of songs and skits the students plan to perform during a mission trip to Ecuador.
The trip, set for March 4 through 14, will replace the traditional senior trip for some of the students, most of whom are high school seniors in the dual enrollment program at the university.
While visiting the South American country, the team of 11 students and three chaperons plans to share their faith with the Ecuadorean people and run a children’s program much like vacation Bible schools in the United States, complete with music, puppets, crafts and sports.
For Eden Brock, of Clarks Summit, a high school senior dual enrolled at Summit University, this will be her second foreign mission trip. She said it ties in well with her college plans to major in elementary education and minor in missions.
“I took a mission trip last summer to Guatemala and I fell in love with missions and all it entails,” she said. “I think it (a mission trip) is so much more worthwhile (than a traditional senior trip).”
She said she looks forward to being immersed in the culture of Ecuador and getting to know the people and their traditions and culture.
Levi Alfred, of North Abington Township, another of the high school seniors in the dual enrollment program at Summit University, said one reason he chose to sign up for the trip is because he “wanted to go outside the U.S. and actually be able to remember it.” His family went on a similar journey to Peru when he was just an infant.
But his main reason is his faith.
“I wanted to be able to teach people about God in an area where it’s not the norm,” he said, adding he looks forward to interacting with people who are complete strangers to him and who don’t know anything about the Christian faith.
In addition to Brock and Alfred, the rest of the team is comprised of Matt Butts, Rebecca Butts, Molli Campbell, Brianna Clark, Chris Clark, Chase Janus, Isaiah May, Jessy Paull and Elizabeth Treat.
Each student is faced with raising $1,200 in order to attend. A GoFundMe web page is set up to collect funds to help offset some of the costs. Those who wish to donate may do so at gofundme.com/8pagnsak. Or, to make a tax-deductible donation, checks may be made out to the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism and mailed to Ecuador Mission Trip, c/o James May, 137 Kimberly Circle, Clarks Summit, PA, 18411.
In addition to receiving a personal thank-you note from one of the students, each donor will get an invitation to a Facebook group page, where they will be able to see how the funds are being used.