Approximately 15% of the students studying at Christendom College’s Front Royal, Va., campus spent their spring break traveling across South America and the Dominican Republic. From ministering to impoverished children in Guatemala to constructing concrete staircases in the foothills of Peru, the students brought the love of Christ to these third-world countries, fulfilling the mission of Christendom College — to “restore all things in Christ” — in the process.
This year marks the seventeenth year that the college has organized spring break mission trips, sending over eight hundred students, thirty faculty and staff, and twenty alumni across the globe in a mission of aid and evangelization. This year, students, faculty, and staff traveled to the Dominican Republic, Peru, and Guatemala, partnering with and helping other organizations in each country. Students who went on the mission trips fundraised most of the proceeds necessary to go on the trips themselves, revealing the generous spirit that runs throughout the student body.
In Peru, students constructed concrete staircases to ease movement within and among the steep hills of the shantytowns of Lima, in order also ease the burden of carrying water in the desert region. The students also participated in the March for Life in Lima, offering a prayerful witness for life in the foreign country, while also uniting with the people there in a new, profound way.
“For the first time, I really felt the universality of the Catholic Church. Passing buckets of concrete, playing soccer and volleyball with the Peruvian men and women — every activity brought us all together in a way I’ve never experienced before. Our activities that week did not require words, but a willingness to work together and get the job done,” says junior Hannah Gordon, who served in Peru.
Some students also traveled to Guatemala, serving at the Orfanato Valle de los Angeles, a school and orphanage run by the Franciscans (OFM) of the Immaculate Conception province. The students ministered to children at the orphanage, participating in their everyday lives, sharing meals, and lending their expertise in particular to ESL and maintenance projects around Valle.
In the Dominican Republic, students worked with the Arlington Diocese’s mission in Banica to install concrete flooring in homes. For sophomore Leah Ross, the experience was eye-opening, and helped her connect better with her faith, her fellow students, and the universal Church.
“The trip was so powerful, because it solidified the Faith I already have while also helping me come out of myself in order to help others. On my last day in Banica, I especially experienced this when I and another student prayed with the little kids in Spanish. While we didn’t know the language very well, it was great realizing that, if nothing else, we could relate in our Faith, and help increase it through our presence there,” says Ross.
The spring break mission trips were a part of the college’s 10,000 Acts of Kindness campaign, which has seen the student body travel across America in a mission of helping the homeless and impoverished in tangible ways. To contribute to the 10,000 Acts of Kindness campaign, please visit here.