By Ann Marie, The Circuit.
Hospitality and serving others is a big part of the Benedictine College mission statement. One way the students display this is through the college’s annual mission trips.
The mission trips started in El Salvador through Unbound Ministries ten years ago, said Lauren Hankes, international mission trip coordinator.
Since then, both abroad and local mission trip opportunities have doubled every year. This year there are a total of 21 trips and 282 students participating.
“As a Catholic, school we know the Gospel has a social aspect to it and that we’re called to do these things,” Hankes said. “Being in college is a unique time to be able to do these things because we’re free to, but also it’s a good way to give back.”
“College is such a time for yourself that sometimes it’s hard to get out of yourself and give to other people,” Hankes said. “So we try to create stability with our mission trip program by going back to some of the same places.”
Students enjoy returning to villages and communities they visited before. Some students, however, love to mix things up and change every year.
Jazzmin Wilson, junior, will be going to Ghana, Africa on an educational mission trip. Wilson never had any desire to leave the country, but after being approached by a friend to attend this trip with her, she surprised herself and said yes.
This will be the first mission trip Wilson attends and she “couldn’t be more excited.”
“When I was a freshman and sophomore, I didn’t really see the value in it, especially in leaving the country,” said Wilson. “But now where my heart is, and where my spiritual life has led me, I can really see why people come back with their whole point of view different.”
Each mission trip has about ten people per group. Wilson says it’s a great way to meet Ravens and make more friends.
She knows there are students that hesitate to commit to something so important and life changing.
“Truly, the desire that put you in this position in the first place, was never really your desire,” she said. “It’s the Holy Spirit telling you to do it, so don’t question it. Not everyone gets that desire. Just trust in God.”
Hankes says it’s a great opportunity and everyone should “take the leap.”