Wesley Foundation students to travel to Guatemala

April 30, 2008

by Katherine Fuller

Three groups of students from The Wesley Foundation will participate in three different trips this summer, beginning May 18.

The groups will travel to New York City, Peru or Guatemala, as part of Wesley’s summer missions program.

Meleah Jensen, an intern at The Wesley and a graduate student of family and child studies, said the students have been planning their trips since January.

“So far we have raised $25,000 for the Guatemala trip through different fundraisers,” Jensen said.

Jensen said the students and leaders wanted to be good stewards of the money they raised together.

“We wanted to go somewhere close,” she said. “We also had to look at the price of airline tickets.”

Jensen said she will be traveling with 11 students and Wesley staff to meet physical and emotional needs of children in Guatemala.

“There is just as much need there, as there is in Africa or anywhere else,” she said.

Jensen said the students will be hosting activities and conducting minor building repairs while they are in Guatemala.

“We will be working at an orphanage run by the United Methodist Church and doing minor repairs to [it],” she said.

Jensen said they expect to be working with 400 to 600 kids during their stay.

“We will hold a Vacation Bible School, but it will be mainly for the kids,” she said.

Becky Clark, assistant director of The Wesley, said the leaders of the group have been looking at VBS appropriate curricula for the Latin American culture.

“We’ll have to adapt [the curriculum] so the kids there will be able to understand,” she said.

Clark said they have only one person going from Tech who speaks Spanish.

Will Rolfe, a member of The Wesley and a senior Spanish and history major, said he is looking forward to his responsibility of translating for the group.

“I’ve been to Costa Rica a couple of times, so I’m familiar with the culture of Central America,” he said.

Rolfe said speaking Spanish is the only way members of The Wesley will be able to communicate with the locals.

“I will be translating for everyone,” he said. “But I am very excited.”

Jim Walker, local author of the bilingual children’s book, Kat’s Journey, said he has donated books to students who have gone on mission trips before and is also donating 90 books to The Wesley for its trip to Guatemala.

“This book has traveled to Guatemala before, as well as Mexico and the Dakotas,” Walker said.
“All the kids seem to really like it.”

Walker said because the book is written in both English and Spanish, it is a great gift to give the children in Guatemala.

Ryan Moore, a senior history and political science major, said he is looking forward to working with the kids in Guatemala.

“I have experience with missions, but no one going on this trip has any experience with foreign missions,” he said.

Moore said the language barrier could be a potential problem.

“I only know some Spanish I learned in high school and some from college courses,” he said.
“It will be a shock to the system, but we’ll have to make it work.”

Another student accompanying the Guatemala team for this year’s summer mission trip is Amy Baldwin, a leadership ministry team member at The Wesley and a junior family and child studies major.

Baldwin said she is also looking forward to working with the kids.

“I’m interested to see how we interact with the orphans,” she said.

Baldwin said she has another important reason why she is going on this trip to Latin America.

“My grandfather was from Mexico City, but I’ve never been there,” she said.

Clark said there are two teams traveling to Guatemala that will stay for a different amount of days: one team will be there for 14 and the other team will be there for 30.