RVAS Students Choose Mission Experience as Class Trip

This year the 10th-grade class from Rogue Valley Adventist School (RVAS) chose to go on a mission trip to Fiji rather than to the traditional theme park for their class trip.

Each student raised two-thirds of his or her trip expenses, with the remaining funds coming from sponsors.

Vatuvonu Adventist School, an elementary school serving 80 students in Fiji, needed painting and construction repairs. RVAS students painted and worked on the buildings. They also worked in the medical clinic taking blood pressures, temperatures and respirations of the patients prior to their seeing the doctor.

The students also provided tutoring in the classrooms. Kayla Haugen got to experience firsthand being a substitute teacher. "I found that the students are just as mischievous as here in America," she said.

"You think you’re going to bless the Fijians while you are there, and then you come home 10 times as blessed," said Jessica Wold, an RVAS student. "The people have almost nothing, but they are so happy. It really teaches you to be happy for what you have." Along with working at the school and enjoying the snorkeling opportunities in the nearby bay, the students enjoyed a wealth of culture-sharing experiences that included singing, a traditional Fijian festival and a special spear-dance program. The Fijians also had handmade souvenirs like woven baskets, mats and shells.

"You think you’re going to bless the Fijians while you are there, and then you come home 10 times as blessed," said Jessica Wold, an RVAS student. "The people have almost nothing, but they are so happy. It really teaches you to be happy for what you have."

Along with working at the school and enjoying the snorkeling opportunities in the nearby bay, the students enjoyed a wealth of culture-sharing experiences that included singing, a traditional Fijian festival and a special spear-dance program. The Fijians also had handmade souvenirs like woven baskets, mats and shells.

The mission trip ended with a farewell feast at which the visitors were presented with leis and wrapped in sulus, the traditional Fijian dress. The Fijian hosts circled the outside of the room and sang "We'll Never Say Good-bye Again."

The 10th-graders have taken on the sponsorship of a branch Sabbath School that they visited while in Fiji. They are collecting Bibles, felts for the children's classes, outreach literature and other materials used in Sabbath School. They are also working to raise money for the Sabbath School.

Michael Wilms got more of a gift from the Fijians than just experiencing their love. "Fiji changed my life in several different ways. I was raised in Germany and believed in evolution. When I came to RVAS, I wanted to learn about American culture and improve my English skills," he said. "I started to question my belief system and began to pray. I prayed that God would send me a sign. In Fiji I met a special person who shared her own experience with me about how special God was to her. I felt this was the sign I needed to show me that God was real and the great impact that He makes on peoples’ lives."

We do not always know why God opens the doors He does, but it is important to not let the doors close before we go through them.

September 01, 2004 / Oregon Conference
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