Portland Adventist Academy (PAA) in Portland, Oregon, students participated in five different mission trips during spring break. One of the trips brought 17 students, parents and staff on a unique service adventure to the Bahama Islands.
PAA’s young travelers joined American missionaries stationed in the Bahamas for a “Sail and Serve” mission trip. They lived on the mission boat and sailed between several islands to work on a variety of service projects.
Projects included cooking and cleaning at an AIDS and terminal-patient center, taking a group of disabled orphans on a field trip, pouring concrete for a community basketball court, making signs for villages, beach cleanup at the Bahamas National Park, roofing work, and leading ministry programs for orphans.
Students enjoyed meeting locals, learning the culture, and discovering what it takes to live on and navigate a sailboat. But in the end, it was the joy of service and friendship that students brought home to PAA.
“I met a sweet little girl who became one of my new friends," says Charli Jo Davis, PAA freshman, “and a couple of women who taught me how to plait, and another woman who braided cornrows in my hair. It was beautiful. That was my first but definitely not my last mission trip.”
PAA senior Lanessa Long became fast friends with a young girl. “She didn't talk very much, but she loved to sing,” explains Long. “We played lots together, and I got to see how caring she was for the other kids and she was obedient to the teachers. I got to see her take everything in and just listen to what everyone was saying, while she herself would simply smile and respond with her actions and with very few words.”
“There was a phrase the group leader told us before we went to work,” said Long. “It’s to ‘be a mission wherever you go and when necessary use words.’ That's definitely what happened to me. Sail and Serve was the greatest experience and best adventure of my life,” said Long.