Volunteers Share Tales of Blessing on Belize Mission Trip

A group of students from Colorado, U.S., dedicated to projects to uplift a community.

Agape Hammond, for Rocky Mountain Conference News
Volunteers Share Tales of Blessing on Belize Mission Trip
The time that Mile High Academy students spend in Belize is marked by the joy of participating in activities to uplift the community. [Photo: RD Gallant]

A group of dedicated student volunteers from Mile High Academy (MHA) in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, United States, set out on a mission trip to Belize in March. It was especially impactful for Newday Seventh-day Adventist Church in Parker, Colorado, as six of the students attend the church. For most of this student group, this was their first time traveling abroad, organizers shared.

When Newday church lead pastor Lisa Cardinal first received a sponsorship request from one of the students heading to Belize, she was happy to help; after all, mission work is part of the Newday way. But then five more students decided to take the call to serve.

In typical Newday fashion, Cardinal decided to sponsor any others who asked. In all, five of the six were sponsored. As they say at Newday, “Newday exists to develop passionate Christ-followers who, together, love God and serve people.” That’s how students Gwen Loney, Eden Jaklich, Mady Lasut, Lily Lasut, Austin Huenergardt, and Wyatt Miller ended up at the MOVE Center and Solomon School in Belize.

Loney spoke of her time there. “I love traveling to new places, and Belize is a place I’ve never visited before. I was looking forward to new experiences and adventures. I think it was impactful to see a new culture. I’m also glad I got to know some of the MHA people better.”

From Vacation Bible School (VBS) programs to painting to construction projects, students had plenty of opportunities to help the community. They dedicated themselves to various projects aimed at uplifting the community and fostering sustainable development.

Groups of students got involved in projects designed to serve. Jaklich spoke about the Health Fair, where people were offered health checkups and glasses distribution, among other services. “I got to help give out glasses. People needed something, and I could help them with that. That was a great feeling,” Jaklich recounted with a smile.

If you ask any student what their favorite part of the trip was, however, they say it was the VBS program. “The kids were so cute,” Lasut said.

Loney said of participating in the morning VBS programs, “I helped out a lot with the kids’ program at the Solomon School. I also led a group that acted out nutrition skits for different classrooms at Solomon. I think the most impactful thing was being greeted and loved by the kids.”

While their journey has come to an end, the impact of their work will continue to resonate beyond the borders of the community they served, organizers said. “In answering the call to go on this mission trip, each of these six students not only transformed the lives of others but also found themselves transformed in the process — a testament to the profound power of service,” they said.

Or as Loney put it, “It’s an experience that you won’t forget. You’ll meet new people, work super hard, learn new things, and make everlasting memories.”

The original version of this story was posted on the Rocky Mountain Conference news site. Agape Hammond is the Upper School English teacher at Mile High Academy.

Agape Hammond, for Rocky Mountain Conference News