Spring Break spent in service

This spring break, some students from Cedar Falls High School decided to make a difference. They hit the road for two different mission trips. One trip went to God’s Mountain Ministries in Missouri. The other traveled to Nuevo Progresso, Mexico. These students and leaders had many life changing experiences over Spring Break this year.

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Both mission trips did all kinds of work. The students got to help provide people with food, clothes and more. Senior Ellen Jones is no stranger to mission work. Jones has gone on five mission trips. The past three years, Jones decided to go on the mission trip to Nuevo Progresso, Mexico.

Many students also went to God’s Mountain Ministries in Missouri to serve. Senior Jackson Nichols went on the trip for the first time this year. “My first mission trip was in Nuevo Progresso, Mexico, and it was super impacting and humbling to see how happy the locals were even though they lived in such poor circumstances. That’s something that I try to keep that in mind when I’m taking things for granted,” Nichols said.

Nichols choses to go on mission trips during spring breaks for many reasons. “I go on these trips to grow in my faith while interacting with people and getting to know them better. It’s also a great way to serve the Lord and get away from everyday life for a week. I’ve gotten to know a lot of awesome leaders, and they have really connected with me and taught me a ton of things,” Nichols said.

Jones also loves getting to do mission work each year. “I go on these trips because I want to do something meaningful with my vacation. While going on trips with family and friends is fun, I believe I have built so many relationships and grown so much by helping people with my time,” Jones said.

In Mexico, the students and leaders try to help the community and people in every way they can. “We mostly do different construction on houses. One year we built an entire house in two days. I mean the house is about the size of a shed in your backyard, but it is the greatest thing ever to them. Other years we have just done little projects to a church and other houses around the town. This year I was able to replace a rotten roof and re-tar a tin roof so that it didn’t leak every time it rains,” Jones said.

Jones met so many people in Mexico, but she became especially close to one young boy. “I have met a lot of people over the years, but one kid I met has totally changed my life. Two years ago on my first trip I met a kid named Roberto and he was 11 at the time. He and I played soccer and just hung out the whole time we were there. I came home and just was absolutely heartbroken that there was nothing I could do for him,” Jones said.

Her second year in Mexico, Jones met up with Roberto again. “The next year I went back and saw him. He took me to his house, and I was able to meet his parents and see how they live. He sleeps on a super thin matt on a cement floor, yet he is one of the happiest kids I have ever met,” Jones said.

This last year, Jones was reunited with Roberto once again. “This year when I went he found me and almost tackled me. He was so excited to see me. I brought him a baseball glove and ball. We stood in the road and played catch for about an hour and a half. Roberto and I aren’t really able to talk to each other very much, but we have an amazing bond. I miss that kid every day. He has so little but is always smiling and just finds joy in the little things. He has totally changed my life and how I look at what I have,” Jones said.

The mission trips have truly changed Jones’ life. “There are so many life changing things that happen on these trips. We learn so much about God and our relationships with him. One of the biggest things that has changed my life is just seeing how happy the people of Mexico are with the little that they have. It has really made me realize how much I have and really humbled me and how I live my life,” Jones said.

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