For Spring Break 2017, students involved with the Reformed University Fellowship went on a trip to Acapulco, Mexico with First Presbyterian Church of Macon. Fifteen Mercer students and four adult supervisors went to Casa Hogar del Niño de Alculpoca, an orphanage that is housed in Acapulco. This trip has been made in previous years often with returning Mercer students.
Students spent six days at the orphanage. While there, Mercer students worked on tearing down a building as well as getting to know the kids at the orphanage.
The foundation was the only thing left of the building that the team worked to tear down all week. With a smaller staff and a busy schedule, the efforts put forth by the team were helpful to the staff at the orphanage.
During the trip, a Vacation Bible School was held for the kids, plus time was given for play and sports. A devotion was led for the team everyday as they prepared to start their days.The team prepared themselves spiritually, emotionally and physically to work with the kids and staff.
As a mission team, the ability to go nonstop for the entirety of a trip is an important piece of the job. The Mercer students had a plan and executed it thoroughly throughout the week, getting the majority of the demolition finished and spending the appropriate amount of time with the kids.
The orphanage welcomes mission teams year round from First Presbyterian Church, so it is safe to say that the kids are used to the company of new people. This is particularly interesting because the kids are exposed to fresh faces and experiences all the time.
Each team is different and helps in an original way. The trip was successful at bringing Mercer’s RUF students closer to each other and to the kids. In many ways, this impacts the lives of the team and the children in a good way.
During one of the activities Rachel Copeland, a sophomore who went on the trip, was painting faces when one of the kids came up to her and pointed to Rachel’s face. Confused at first, Copeland asked what the young girl wanted. Finally Copeland realized that the child wanted to paint her face, so she let her.
These experiences were the ones that touched the team members the most. Many of the kids were passionate and involved with the Mercer students. This was the second trip to Acapulco for Copeland and she plans to go back.
By gaining experience out of the country, students faced the reality of what it would be like to travel and work under different conditions. This is especially useful for students who are looking to take more mission trips in the future.
The downside to mission trips such as this one is that the team is only there for six days. While they got a very large portion of the work done, the allotted time given was not enough. It is important to remember that any help received is appreciated; however, there is always more to be done.
Also, the connection made with the kids and the group of Mercer students is something that will always be remembered. Given such a short time to interact makes the relationship more casual.
The mission trip overall seemed to be beneficial for all who were involved. Mercer students reaching out to all corners of the world is not only good for their own experience, but it says a lot about the people who are being accepted into the university.