Danielle Van Hoepen has never been on a mission trip, but she’s heard a lot about them.
Many of her family members have been to developing countries to lend a hand, whether building houses or feeding children. But in March, it’s her turn.
She’s one of several local youth who are planning a mission to Caiman, Haiti in mid March. Once there, they’ll be working on houses and feeding children, and even helping to upgrade. The entire group is made up of youth who are past and present students at Timothy Christian, and a handful of their parents. The “community” trip is outside of the school’s regular mission trip planning at the school, but quite in line with the school’s eagerness to get students out into the world.
Overall, these kids are no strangers to the concept of giving back to the world. But for many of them, it will be their first time leaving the comforts of Canada.
They’re taking the trip through Hungry For Life International, who are partnered with the United Christians International in Pignon, Haiti.
The country is still rebuilding from the devastation of the 2010 earthquake, and house building is a priority there. The community group will be pouring cement floors in mud huts, installing a pump irrigation system for a group of farmers, building latrines, replacing roofs on homes, and helping out with feeding programs.
They’ll even be bartering for goats to give to families there.
Every participant is paying their own way there, but the costs of the projects are covered by donations from the community. In total, the group is hoping to raise $24,000. They’re now just $10,000 short of their goal.
Tara Beeke has been on a mission trip with her family in the past, and knows what to expect when they arrive. She also knows the valuable lesson these trips offer youth.
“It’s a reminder to see how live so comfortably,” she says. “We take so much for granted. We know we’re going to eat breakfast, lunch and supper. We don’t even think about it. They don’t all know when they’re going to eat, and some don’t even know where they’re going to sleep at night.”
The students involved are fundraising for this trip independently from the school, as the school focuses on collecting donations for their annual mission in Mexico.
To donate to the cause, contact Hungry for Life at 604-703-0223 or drop by their office at 45950 Alexander Ave.