HLG students take to the mission field, serve in Jamaica, Mexico, Texas during spring break
By Brandy Campbell
HLG Public Relations
April 5, 2005
Hannibal – During spring break, more than 50 HLG students served all over the world, from the border town of Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, to the booming metropolis of Houston, Texas. In addition to Mexico and Texas, students were on mission in Jamaica and Louisiana, as well as serving in their own communities across the United States. This year HLG teamed with Global Encounter Ministries, Awe Star, Habitat for Humanity, and Won by One Ministries to further spread the gospel of Christ “to Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the Earth.”
Nuevo Laredo, Mexico
For the third year HLG students traveled to Nuevo Laredo, a small refugee town in Mexico. For this trip HLG partnered with Awe Star, an organization formed to provide discipleship and evangelism training opportunities for the local church. Besides offering students an international mission program, the program teaches participants that every believer is a missionary, and everywhere they are is a mission field.
Upon arriving in Mexico, HLG met up with other college groups and learned the drama that they would be performing during their stay. Throughout the week the drama, which told the story of Christ, was performed before hundreds of people in parks, markets, and churches. They also worked with Primera Iglesia Bautista and assisted the church with various ministries taking place in the community.
Fourteen students went to Nuevo Laredo: Patrick Argent, Michelle Baumgardner, Katie Bearce, Rachel Burkholder, Wendi Carter, Sarah Crews, Heather Crum, Michael Elmore, Christina Hubert, Eric Pahlman, Heather Schaper, Cody Smith, Anna Vaughn, and Matthew Wegeschide.
“When we arrived in Mexico, automatically the Lord was revealing His power within the town and culture of the Mexican people,” said Michelle Baumgardner, a sophomore from Monroe City. “The Lord, as always, worked in spite of our sinfulness and mistakes. He showed His glory and love to the people and in spite of us, people committed themselves to the Lord.”
Just over the border, 12 HLG students served with First Baptist Church, Houston, Texas. Those on the Houston team were: Matt Jones, Randy Shepard, Ben Brown, Jeremy Wallace, Hannah Shinkle, Valerie Shuamte, Dana Whitt, Telli Shepard, Sarah Fisher, Heather Donoval, Megan Carruthers, and Raeann Frahm.
Two separate ministry teams were formed from the group, with each team serving at a different church.
One of the churches HLG served was a primarily Spanish-speaking church. Raeann Frahm, a senior from Centennial, Colorado, said that though the language differences were difficult, it also “reiterated the fact that our God is even bigger than language barriers. The whole week we had to attempt to break through those barriers, but God was gracious enough to provide children and youth who could speak enough English to interpret for us.”
Both teams spent a lot of time canvassing neighborhoods and inviting youth and their families to events being held at the church. Most of their effort was put into bringing the lost into their local churches.
“Our team was able to step out of our comfort zones, into faith zones and show others God’s love, God’s grace, and God’s salvation in many different situations. Many seeds were planted, some were planted, and we saw others bloom.”
Five students traveled to Harmon, Jamaica to work with Won by One Ministries. Amanda Jackson, Holly Samborski, Kelly Schnitzmeier, Amanda Watts, and Christine Stevens worked side by side with Jamaicans and other college students and constructed a house and laid foundation for two other buildings.
“The people in Harmon are amazing,” said Amanda Jackson of Lee’s Summit. “Even though we were only there for a few days, it is time for each to make a friend for a lifetime.” The college students were able to spend time with the Jamaicans in the evening, and participated with them in movie nights, talent shows, and game nights.
During the day, though, the work was grueling as students carried large stones, marl (ground-up rock) and laid cement for the foundations. They also dug wells, and spent one afternoon visiting the “poor house.”
“The poor house is where people are sent to live when they can no longer care for themselves and there is nobody willing or able to provide for them,” said Jackson. “All of the people there are either mentally or physically handicapped.”
“Spending time with these people had a huge effect on all of us,” continued Jackson. “The people there have absolutely nothing, but almost all of them love Jesus. They will sing praise songs with you, pray with you, quote scripture, or even preach to you. It’s sad to see the conditions that they are living in, but amazing to see how they still love Jesus and thank him for what they have.”
Jackson, who has been on several trips to Jamaica summed up the effects of the mission trip on the team.
“Every time I go on the trip my life is changed. God is present and doing amazing things in Harmons, and I’m so blessed that God keeps calling me to go back there.”
Phi Beta Delta, a service organization for men at HLG, sent a six-member team to Louisiana where they teamed up with other college groups and worked with Habitat for Humanity to build ten houses.
“This is our second time going to Springhill, and both times have been amazing,” said Jered Taylor, a junior from Hannibal. “We always go thinking that we are going down to minister, but we end up being ministered to.”
Jeff Brockmeir, Andy Thompson, Jered Taylor, Richard Medina, Josh Kerr, and faculty sponsor John Markell made up the group serving in Louisiana. Taylor says that they have already been asked to return next year to assist Habitat for Humanity again.
“It’s been such a great experience, and we’re excited that they’ve asked us to return,” said Taylor.
Four trips. Thirty-seven students. Countless lives touched as HLG students seek to reach those in “Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the Earth.” (Acts 1:8)