If you ask Pacific Union College students about their spring break, 22 of them will have an outstanding answer for you! The students dedicated their break to serving with love by joining Professor Floyd Hayes on a service mission trip to the country of Kenya in Africa.
“Our mission trip to Kenya was unforgettable and eye-opening,” said student Drielly Martins.
One objective for the PUC students was to resume an ongoing building project at the Kensington Hall Oloosinon Girls Secondary School, which serves Maasai girls in a rural area of Kenya. Students from a 2019 PUC service mission trip began the project with the construction of a foundation for the school’s administration building.
Safety concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted plans to return to the country for three years, except for one limited trip, so Hayes and the students were excited to resume the project. This year, they assisted with the construction of a new building by digging trenches and pouring concrete.
In addition, Hayes and the PUC students were able to address some of the school’s technology needs. Before the trip, the group acquired 18 laptop computers that they delivered to the school during their visit, and PUC students helped set up a computer lab and assisted in the training of school faculty.
One of the highlights of the trip came while some of the group, including physician John Hiss and RN Rita Hiss, volunteered at a local healthcare clinic. They helped deliver five babies, and two of those babies were named in honor of members of the volunteer team: Nicolette for PUC nursing professor Nicolette Piaubert and Christie for one of the PUC nursing students!
There was a strong spiritual side to the trip as well as students led Vacation Bible School classes for local children. As a special blessing at the end of the 10-day visit, Pastor Vuong Tran baptized 13 of the 75 children who attended the VBS.
“Teaching the children the various parables of Jesus made me reflect on my own understanding of what it means to live like Christ,” said Martins.
This was the 11th international service mission trip organized by Hayes, a professor of biology at PUC, and his specialty was not forgotten amid all the life-changing activities of the trip. Twelve of Hayes’ Tropical Biology course students were able to explore the Kenyan biology, and everyone enjoyed two days of safari, observing local animals and birds.
“Our students realized more than ever how fortunate they were to be obtaining a Christian education at Pacific Union College,” said Hayes. “This opportunity gave them a chance to experience firsthand the joy of serving others by assisting with development in a rural community in Kenya. In addition to the personal joy and blessings received, these trips make students more sensitive to the needs of others and more willing to commit time and energy for service. We are very proud of our students and inspired by their willingness to serve others instead of pursuing more self-centered interests during spring break.”
By Ashley Eisele