Students Learn the Meaning of Service
It was early morning when 20 high school students from Skagit Adventist Academy (SAA) in Burlington, Wash., and their sponsors met in the school parking lot on March 2, 2018. They loaded the bus that would take them to Sea-Tac Airport, where they embarked on an adventure to San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Once in Puerto Rico, students and sponsors crammed into a bus with their suitcases and set out for Campamento Adventista Elias Burgos, an Adventist summer camp near Utuado, arriving about 3 a.m. local time.
While at the camp, students worked on many projects to improve the local Adventist church and help community members affected by Hurricane Maria. The first project group painted, poured concrete, created storage areas and cleared hurricane debris.
Smaller groups worked on picking up hurricane trash and debris around the camp, pouring new walls for a community member who lost his house, and painting two houses built by Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA).
“The people of Puerto Rico were dealt a bad hand, but they pushed through it,” says J.T. Slockbower, SAA senior. “They are some of the happiest people I have met.”
Probably the most memorable project involved Marguerite. Margie, as her friends call her, lost everything during the hurricane. She and two granddaughters were left with four walls but no roof, proper flooring or supplies. Without a roof on their home, the hurricane had taken everything.
SAA students and parents installed a new roof, poured cement flooring, and painted the inside and outside of Margie's house. Seeing the great need, a collection was taken that allowed SAA students and sponsors to donate money for shelves, bedding, kitchen supplies, table, chairs and a futon to furnish the “new” home.
SAA’s seniors had a lot to share about their final high school mission trip.
“It was moving to see such generosity from people who had so little to give,” says Kallan Richards, SAA senior.
“Seeing firsthand what they went through … they gave us more than we could give them,” SAA students continue to report.