On June 1, on a Saturday night at midnight, 25 students gathered at Orchardville Church to make their final preparations for their week long mission trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico. After a two hour drive to St. Louis International Airport, the group boarded their first plane to Atlanta. Soon after their arrival in Georgia, they embarked on their four hour plane ride, which would land them in San Juan, Puerto Rico. While on the trip, the youth group would stay in a local church, whose pastor hospitably welcomed them with open arms. Upon arrival, the students saw all the hurricane damage the area had suffered through the past couple years, and knew they only had one week to do all they could to help the community.
“It was definitely a life changing experience, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” says Travis Dickey, who had his fair share of house painting and powerwashing on the trip. Students who braved the heat and traveled to the island spent a week scraping water damaged paint off buildings, repainting the homes of families, and providing care packages for the community and local nursing homes. Throughout the entire trip, the students were exposed to a whole new culture, and even learned parts of the native language. Another participant of the mission trip, Sydnee Greenwalt, stated, “It was incredibly eye opening. They were all so kind to us, even though they had so little.” According to everyone who embarked on the trip, this was an amazing and eye opening experience for not only the students, but also the locals they served.