Nine students from Concordia University, Nebraska served on a mission trip in Amatilan, Guatemala, May 10–17, 2016, in association with the Central American Lutheran Mission Society. The students were accompanied by President Rev. Dr. Brian Friedrich and Director of Global Opportunities Julie Johnston Hermann.
“Our lives and perspectives have been changed in significant ways through our mission experience as we served among some of the ‘least of these’ who live joyful and abundant lives in the midst of poverty we can only begin to understand or imagine,” said Friedrich. “God is at work in Amatilan, and we were blessed to be a small part of the work He is doing there.”
Each morning the students and leaders went to an elementary school and taught Bible story lessons, crafts and music. In the afternoon, they led a Vacation Bible School program at La Santa Cruz Lutheran Mission, teaching Bible stories and skits; music; crafts; and activities such as soccer, the card game UNO and tag. The group also planted trees at the homes of the students to help curb the effects of deforestation in the nation.
“The visits to the schools were very encouraging, largely due to the fact that the teachers, students and school administrators seemed genuinely delighted to welcome us into their schools. It was amazing to be able to share the Gospel in such an open and public setting,” said student Zachary Barz. “There's nothing like standing in front of a classroom full of children, staring into eyes shining with focus and joy while singing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to make you fully aware of the power of the Holy Spirit! It was a true blessing to worship with fellow believers in Guatemala, where not even a language barrier can diminish the body of Christ.”
Concordia students who participated in the mission trip to Guatemala include (alphabetical by state, city, last name; classes listed are accurate as of spring semester 2016):
- Laura-Li Gaide, sophomore, Lakewood, Colo.
- Christine Young, junior, Lisle, Ill.
- Malinda Standerfer, senior, Noblesville, Ind.
- Zachary Barz, sophomore, Dubuque, Iowa
- Angela Steinbacher, junior, St. Charles, Mo.
- Thomas Hinrichs, senior, Auburn, Neb.
- Cassie Boeka, junior, North Platte, Neb.
- Sophie Simonsen, junior, Omaha, Neb.
- Jordyn Knight, junior, Ord, Neb.