Submitted by: Kalie Kelch
Submitted by: Kalie Kelch
Service is at the heart of the mission of Georgia-Cumberland Academy (GCA), and each spring break this becomes evident when students spend their vacation serving others. This year, GCA offered two mission trip options.
Eighteen students headed to Holbrook, Ariz., and Holbrook Indian School with Kalie Kelch, assistant chaplain, and Randy Kelch, IT director. The boarding school is home to approximately 65 students from four tribes, mostly Navajo, in grades 1-12.
“Our goal on the trip was to show God’s love through all we did, whether working or playing,” said Kelch. “The group did such a great job working together, and staying positive in the midst of a number of crazy wind storms, not to mention the friendships they formed with the students. They took the time to talk, play, and tutor them. Our students were Jesus’ hands and feet in Arizona!”
During their stay, the students built two flagstone pathways, dug out three large landscape beds to be filled with lava rock, removed a fence at one of the faculty homes, installed a horse treatment stall, and built a large corral. In addition to the maintenance/landscaping work, the students tutored the Holbrook students in math, and spent time playing with them each day.
“As I heard the stories of some of the children, I was blessed and inspired by their optimism toward life. I’m thankful for the opportunity they have to receive a Christian education. Many friendships were made over the week and a half, and I will never forget them,” said Aleah Clarke, senior.
The second group traveled to Ecuador to assist ADRA Ecuador and ADRA Connections with the construction of homes, in addition to providing medical care. Led by Serge Gariepy, vice principal, and Josh Woods, chaplain, 41 students worked to provide 11 families with new homes. The families had been living in tents or with relatives due to being displaced by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake in 2016.
“It was such a blessing to work with ADRA in the Jama area. I watched our students’ reactions when the families who were recipients of the homes thanked our group with emotion in their voices. We were all moved by the experience,” said Gariepy. “Mission trips like this open up the world to our students. It is incredibly gratifying to watch them grow spiritually, culturally, and socially.”
A number of medical professionals donated their time and services on the trip, setting up two medical clinics and one mobile dental clinic. Together with the students, they served more than 900 patients. In the communities of Tabuga and Jama, students also presented a Vacation Bible School program for the children.
“This trip gave me a better perspective on what my life here is like. It helped me appreciate what I have. We take a lot for granted,” said Aspen Meadows, junior.
Georgia-Cumberland | May 2019