A group of teens at St. Thomas Anglican Church “jumped at the opportunity” to help needy Kenyans.
The church youth group is organizing a mission trip to Kenya next summer through Compassion International, a Christian-based child development ministry committed to eliminating poverty by partnering with local churches.
The youth group had been researching mission trips, and when the idea of Kenya was presented, they jumped.
“Our youth thought it was a great opportunity to visit with kids in schools,” said youth leader Deb Edwards.
However, it’s also an expensive opportunity.
The cost for each participant is approximately $5,000, which includes flight, accommodations, transportation, and funds to support the locations they visit.
With five youth, between the ages of 14 and 20, and three chaperones, the total mission will cost $40,000. So far, they’ve raised $10,000.
“It’s an ominous figure, but we’re optimistic,” said Edwards.
Through the mission, the youth will visit one school, possibly two, and a medical and dental clinic.
They will assist with construction projects and donate books and school supplies at a school for orphans, and if time permits another school for orphaned children infected with HIV. One of the chaperones, a local dentist, will also perform basic dental procedures at a dental clinic.
“Apparently they are just amazed anybody would want to help them, they don’t recognize that the world even sees they exist,” said Edwards.
The benefits of the mission to the youth are priceless.
“They’re going to be exposed to an environment that is nothing they’ve ever experienced here,” said Edwards. “Even the very basics of getting water from a tap is completely foreign to these areas. They walk for miles just to get a bucket of water and our youth are going to have to do the same thing.
“The idea is to expose them to other things happening on this planet around them, and to give them an opportunity to open themselves up to offering a helping hand anywhere, whether that’s here in Chilliwack or 5,000 miles away.”
The youth group has accounts set up at Chilliwack Bottle Depot and Sardis Bottle Depot under St. Thomas Youth for anyone wishing to donate their bottles to the cause.
People can also donate by contacting St. Thomas Anglican Church at 604-792-8521.