Thanksgiving break is a great time to relax and recuperate from school by spending time with family, taking naps, or binging Netflix, but one Bearden student chose to spend her break in a less conventional way.
This fall, junior Lexie Fernandes went on a mission trip to the Central American country of Guatemala. Her mission group, organized through Two Rivers church, went to Guatemala City, Monte Rico, and Antigua to extend their help.
“I liked the concept of the mission trip, which was like working a vacation Bible school camp for kids,” Fernandes said, “and I’ve always heard about other people’s experiences in Guatemala so I was really wanting to go to serve and have my own.”
Throughout the week that they were in Guatemala, everyone in Fernandes’s mission group was pushed far outside of their typical comfort zone to interact with the citizens of Guatemala, navigating around language barriers to build strong relationships with the people there. They became used to introducing themselves to strangers, sharing testimonials, and appreciating new cultures, and were humbled to see how different American culture is and how blessed they are.
“My favorite experience was probably visiting a village and actually getting to see how people live and really understanding how much we have,” Fernandes said. “I also loved working with the younger kids, who ranged from about 9 to 6 years old, because, despite the language barrier, they still showed me so much love and joy just for hanging out with them and giving them hugs constantly.”
Guatemala has made an enormous impact on Fernandes’s life. Without the experience, her life would be missing a huge, newfound passion, and she is looking forward to more mission opportunities in the future.
“[The mission trip] was amazing and a great experience,” she said. “I think everyone should do this trip, or any mission trip in general because it really puts things into perspective and makes you so much more thankful for what you have.
“It has made me so mindful for how much we have. They were so grateful for all that they have and they were so filled with joy by us just coming to visit them and listening to them tell us about their stories.”