Spring Break is just days away and the students and faculty/staff involved with the annual March mission trip at Waldorf University are thrilled to be traveling—however, this year is even more exciting as they are headed out of the country!
On Friday, March 6th, ten students and six faculty/staff members will be heading to Belize, a nation-state located on the eastern coast of Central America. The group plans to depart from Forest City at midnight on the 6th and return the following Friday, March 13th.
Group members include students from New York, Minnesota, Iowa, and Illinois: Antione Cummins, Delroy Nichols, La Wanda Garrett, Taylor Cullen, Karissa Vetsch, Shaye Sutherland, Jaci Olson, Kellie Schmidt, Sami Holman, and Katie Wilcox.
Faculty/staff members include Anne Marie Werthmann, LeAnn Smith, Jennifer Steinford, Kristen Paul, Sheila Willms, and Rob Willms.
In preparation for the trip, each member raised $1,100 out of pocket, plus additional costs, such as passports, travel insurance, vaccinations, and personal spending money. The rest of the trip cost was supported by a variety of fundraisers: selling of fleece circle vests and scarves—a product designed by Waldorf Professor of Education, Sheila Willms; a Pancake Breakfast at Immanuel Lutheran Church; selling of Krispie Kreme donuts on campus; a Pampered Chef online event assisted by Waldorf’s Criminal Justice Department Chair Kristin Pickett; and donations from Student Senate and the Waldorf Foundation.
When asked about the fundraising, freshman Karissa Vetsch said, “The last fundraiser we did was the breakfast at Immanuel Lutheran Church. It was a free-will donation held during their fellowship time after the service. That event was the reason we ended up reaching our goal, which was very exciting!”
Anne Marie Werthmann, Waldorf’s Campus Ministry Coordinator, said that the Pancake Breakfast was her favorite fundraiser, “I loved being able to talk to the people of Immanuel Lutheran about what we would be doing during the trip while we all waited in line for pancakes.”
The Krispy Kreme selling, an idea created by the students attending the trip, was another successful fundraiser and a tasty hit for everyone on campus! The Belize group sold ahead of time so that the donuts would be on campus during Valentine’s week. A box of a dozen donuts was sold for $10 with options for either glazed or chocolate glazed.
“Selling the Krispy Kremes was my favorite,” said Waldorf junior, Shaye Sutherland, “Every college student loves donuts and Krispy Kremes are something that we normally can’t get in Forest City.”
The theme of this year’s trip is “Love Your #Selfie,” focused on loving each individual as God has created him or her. The goal, once arriving in Belize, is outreach to the community. The group plans to spend time at the local church working with small and large groups, leading Bible study and discussions with both children and adults, playing games, visiting an orphanage, visiting a nursing home, talking with people, sharing personal testimonies, and building relationships and connections with all ages, thus crossing international differences. The group will also have a free day which will give them time to explore and even go snorkeling! [To see a full itinerary, click here.]
Attendees are very anxious heading into the final days before departure. Werthmann commented, “I am excited to see the relationships that students build with other students that they may not have known well before leaving. I know for myself, I am excited to have the chance to try something new and out of my comfort zone which allows for personal growth.”
Vetsch said that the trip to Belize will be her second international trip, but first mission trip at Waldorf. She is excited, but slightly nervous. When asked to elaborate, she said, “I am most nervous for the international barrier. Even though they speak mostly English, there are still huge cultural differences! I am excited to get to know a different culture, but I am still worried a little about the transition.”
When asked about her feelings on the trip, Sutherland said, “I am most excited to be going outside of the country and experiencing a part of the world I have never been to. I know God is going to work in our lives and all of the lives of the people we meet.”
The group can be tracked online through Praying Pelican Missions, under the tabs ‘Trip Journals,’ ‘Trip In Progress,’ ‘Belize,’ and ‘Waldorf,’ which can all be found at www.prayingpelicanmissions.org/journals. Anyone viewing the website can add a comment using the password ‘SERVE’ and is then able to keep in touch with the group while they travel.
To sum up the trip as a whole, Sutherland said, “This will be such an amazing experience to see the group of us from Waldorf create memories, and a bond we will have forever, as we act as the feet and hands of Jesus Christ.” Sutherland continued, “There is no better feeling than giving back to the beautiful creations God has made.”