SCA Blog – Senior Mission Trip Expands Students’ Worldview
SCA Guidance Counselor Mike Shank shares how the senior mission trip gives Shalom students an opportunity for service while expanding their worldview.
Service is Part of the Curriculum
Service is a cornerstone of education at Shalom Christian Academy. It is something we build into our curriculum by giving children many different opportunities to help others. As students grow during their time at Shalom, there is a progression to how we work at service. In middle school, our Learn to Serve students work with closely mentoring Shalom elementary students or they help out with maintenance of our school property. In high school this continues but there is the expectation that students are also serving in the broader community. As students move from school to local community, it is a natural step to go beyond Franklin County to serve. As our mission statement says we want our students to “live a life of consequence in the world” and do it in such a way that expands God’s kingdom.
At Shalom Christian Academy, senior mission trips always have service as a goal. We want our students to build relationships with the missionary and the people they serve along with the work of pointing people to Christ. Class unity and team building are also crucial goals. There are many needs in the world that our students have been equipped to meet. Jesus said to whom much is given much is required—our students have been given much and the senior mission trip is an opportunity to give back.
Senior Class Mission Trip
The Class of 2017 arrived in Guatemala ready to work and assist Rob Cahill and his wife in their multi-faceted ministry—Cloud Forest Conservation. Some students worked on pulling logs out of the forest for a new building which will support a processing center where local children learn skills to promote a sustainable livelihood. Other Shalom students worked in a garden where food is grown to feed the many people (including the senior class) that come to the center. Students also filled bags with composted soil so trees can be planted in the bags and then distributed to villages for cloud reforestation to take place. Other students worked directly with a group of young ladies enrolled in a 25-day educational program where they are encouraged to stay in school—many young local Q’eqchi’ women do not go to school beyond 6th grade and become mothers at a very young age. Students also spent two days and two nights with Q’eqchi families, learning first-hand what it is like to live without indoor plumbing and limited or no electricity—this was a difficult but deeply good experience.
This mission trip gave our students an experience that cannot be replicated in the classroom—they were immersed in another culture. For the Class of 2017, the time in Guatemala can be both a reminder that they should be grateful for American comforts and conveniences and at the same time the simplicity of the Guatemalan people can be a caution against materialism. Visiting Guatemala helped our students to begin to see the world from another perspective and challenged their capacity to adapt and be flexible. The skills and virtues learned on this trip will serve them well in family and community life and in the church and workplace. When they graduate, the Class of 2017 will enter a world where they will need to learn to interact with other cultures even if they never leave Franklin County. Our students will leave our campus thinking in a global way and be able to see God at work around the world.
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