Auburn Students Leave Classrooms to Learn on Global Missions

June 01, 2004 | Amber Serns

Sweat, cinder blocks, mortar, grout, rebar, sweat, bugs, cold showers, great food, big smiles, close friends, sweat, smelly mosquito nets, hard cement-floor "beds," long days, sweat, old hammocks, fresh fruit, late night talks, quiet worship songs, memories that change your life and last throughout your lifetime—this is what mission work is all about. This is what more than 80 students from Auburn Adventist Academy (AAA) experience every year.

It’s not the last day at the beach to rest tired muscles and aching limbs that these kids remember when they return to their wealthy country of paved roads and air conditioned grocery stores. It’s those huge brown eyes peering through metal bars in the windows as the finishing touches are put on the baptistry at the newly constructed church. Or those tiny hands connected to brilliant smiles that proudly display the craft of Jonah and the whale at the Vacation Bible School they helped organiz. Or the grateful smile of a mother as she leaves the clinic where her child was just treated.

As AAA students have traveled across the world, through cultures and often what seems like time, they have learned that God’s love has no boundaries, that His people know no race or language or temperature (yeah, they still wear long sleeves at the equator. Don’t they know about heat stroke down there?), and that God’s family is spread throughout the world.

As the students dedicated their spring breaks to mission projects in Puerto Rico, the Philippines and Korea this year, some of them realized for the first time what is truly important in life. They looked into those eyes: blue, green, gold, grey or rich coffee-brown that followed their every movement. While they stacked blocks or waited for the translator at Sabbath School, those trusting faces were imprinted on their hearts. And they felt the satisfaction that comes from giving a part of their life to help another's.

They learned what life is about. They recognized that it’s much more than they may have thought before. It’s about sharing, giving, teaching and forgiving. It’s about dirty river water washing over a new friend in Christ and your best friend laughing as fresh papaya drips off your chin. And it’s about sweat. Lots and lots of sweat.

To find out more about mission opportunities for high school and college students, please contact Jay Coon of the Auburn Adventist Academy Church or visit