Spring Break Mission Trips PAA Students Travel the World to Serve

June 01, 2006 | Heather Fowler

Weary but excited, 31 Portland Adventist Academy students returned from mission trips all around the world. Spanning from India to Bolivia, Peru to Ethiopia, these students spent spring break helping others and making a difference. Several took part in local church-sponsored trips, while others were involved in the school trip. Four more students organized trips of their own. Regardless of how they reached their destination, each one learned what it means to be a faithful servant to God.

The school-sponsored Peru trip involved 11 students and five adults, including a dentist and a doctor. The team set up makeshift clinics in any available buildings, including a church and a warehouse. While hundreds waited outside seeking medical care, the team worked diligently to help as many as possible. “The people were so patient. They would wait all day in the hot sun and then we would run out of time and have to turn them away,” said student Lizzi Johnson. “They would just accept it with a smile and come back the next day. What a lesson we could learn from them!”

Two groups from the Pleasant Valley Church traveled to Romania and Mexico. Six students went to Romania to help finish a partially completed health clinic. Students painted and installed windows, gave the service at area churches and visited children in a local orphanage. PAA senior Christie Escalante said, “It was amazing how we came together to help these people. You just forget about yourself and think only of how to help!” The Mexico group of six felt similar feelings as they built a house for a needy family. “You put any differences aside and work together for a common purpose. It felt so good to do our best for these people that need it so much,” said junior John Moor.

The Rockwood-sponsored Thailand trip built and dedicated a new church in the town of Klataw. Led by church members Scott Hill and Mike Ciance, the group interacted with the town children, helped with Vacation Bible School, and even spent a Sabbath visiting people in a refugee camp. “It was certainly a change of view for the students,” said Hill. “They adjusted to things quite well though and were fantastic with the children.”

Not all of the mission trips were planned by a church or organization. In fact, four PAA students organized their own trips. “I always wanted to go,” said senior Elena Rohm about her trip to Zambia. “So I just made the arrangements and went!” The needs in the orphanages are great. No running water and very little food makes life difficult for these young children.“ They possess so little but have so much faith in God,” says Rohm. “It was wonderful to share stories of how Jesus is working in our lives.”