Taking a mission


Jessica Enriquez

Courtney Deavours (12) encounters her first meet with one of the children in the orphanage, bonding and making a friendship. On her first day there, the girl started to braid her hair.

Jessica Enriquez and lakecentralnews

During this winter, students took their own time to participate in St. John Evangelist’s annual mission trip in the Dominican Republic. The four students that decided to come on this trip were Emily Birlson (11), Eric Shrader (12), Courtney Deavours (12) and Jessica Ciadella (12).

The trip gave the students an insight of a different culture while helping the less fortunate. Looking back on their journey, all of the students have a different story to tell about their experience. They were also given a challenge by being around people who only knew Creole and Spanish when they only knew English.

“I learned a lot about relating to people just as people and loving them simply for being human. It was interesting to make friends without knowing the same language, but somehow we made it work. I felt like those friendships were just as, or even more genuine than friendships I made the English speakers that we went with on the trip,” Courtney Deavours (12) said.

Day by day, the students took advantage of the values that they have learned and keep hold of the memories they made.

“Life was slower there, our only obligations was to be there for lunch and dinner. I miss everything about [Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos] and I definitely left my heart there. Next year, I’m going back to find it, my heart, again,” Courtney Deavours (12) said.

They encountered three jobs: building a house, painting a special needs house, and most importantly, playing with the children during their two weeks there.

“I miss sharing everything with each other and not having a strict schedule with all of the jobs we had to do. Things got done when they got done and everyone was laid back about it,” Courtney Deavours (12) said.

Throughout all of the struggles it took to get to and from the Dominican Republic, the students still looked at this more than just a little vacation trip.

“I miss how simple life is in the Dominican and the kids and friends I made at NPH. Overall it was a really amazing experience to immerse myself in a completely different culture and do so many different things I could never do in the U.S.,” Jessica Ciadella (12) said.

With more than 18,000 children, NPH is an international organization that cares for orphaned and abandoned children who live in conditions of extreme poverty in Latin America and the Caribbean. For more information you can visit nph.org.