Senior Timothy Cook is a man on a mission — quite literally. Cook just returned to campus after spending his Spring Break in Costa Rica, evangelizing to the people there, helping build a chapel for the poor, feeding the homeless, and soaking in the culture of the third world country. Being a man on a mission is nothing new for Cook, however. This trip marked his fourth at Christendom, one for every year of his college career.
“Coming into Christendom as a freshman, I never would have pictured myself going on mission trips. I knew Christendom offered these trips every Spring Break, but they were not for me. But when our chaplain at the time asked me to come with him to Guatemala, I could not come up with any reason not to go, so I did. And I have gone on three more trips since, because I saw so much good in these trips. Jesus always says that we must serve our neighbor, and that in doing so we are serving Him, and this fact became so real on each of the trips I went on. Because I was thrown into environments that I had never seen and which were often far out of my comfort zone, I was able to see Jesus Christ both in the people that we served and in the people I was serving with while on mission,” says Cook.
Cook has been very involved with Christendom since day one at the college. Following in his mother’s footsteps, who graduated from Christendom in 1992, Cook has proven to be a diligent and respected student both in and outside the classroom. Cook was voted by his peers to be the president of his class freshman year, has served as a resident assistant, and has even taken the role of head of transportation for the college’s operations department. In each of these areas, one can find a true spirit of service — a spirit that drove Cook to take his first-ever mission trip his freshman year.
On his first trip, Cook went to Guatemala. He spent a week building a water pipeline for a mountain village, taking care of sick children, and helping others in a world very different from the one he typically sees in America. Helping the poor and walking in the footsteps of Christ was an enthralling experience. Cook was hooked. The following year, Cook went to the Dominican Republic, taking in similar experiences in a very different country, where he helped repair a schoolhouse in a mountain village. With each trip, Cook’s worldview expanded, along with his love for the poor and the needy. His junior year, Cook was unable to take a spring break mission trip due to his semester in Rome, but still made sure to take a mission trip that Winter, this time to Florida. While not a third world country, Cook was able to take his missionary spirit door-to-door, evangelizing to a community in the Sunshine State and helping many to return home to Christ at the nearby Catholic Church. Now, Cook’s final mission trip with Christendom is complete. He is nostalgic about his time now at an end, but believes that his four trips with the college have impacted his life for the better.
“Each of these mission trips has been a truly eye-opening experience for me. When you leave on a mission, you think you are simply going to the poor by giving them your service for a week. In reality, you might be giving much more than physical goods. We can never know what impact our actions and words had on the people we met on these trips, but in the end, we can come to realize what impact these people had on us. These trips have showed me ways to have a better attitude of giving and service, and I will continue to pray for those graces to truly give my heart to those around me, especially the poor,” says Cook.
Cook is one of countless other students who have sacrificed to make these trips every year for the past eighteen years at Christendom. Through their efforts and the generosity of those who donate their money to these trips, Christendom students will be able to change the lives of the poor for years to come.