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Be a Light in This World

Senior Ben Ferris acting out a play with other teens from his group.
Ben Ferris
Senior Ben Ferris acting out a play with other teens from his group.

A mission trip can be a terrific way for youth and teens to develop genuine relationships and create insightful learning connections. Mission trips will allow individuals to travel to foreign countries during a brief sabbatical from school or work and leave a lasting impression. 

It may be surprising that a few weeks of time can make a huge difference in the lives of those in need while allowing people to experience a new culture.

This past summer, one of our own, senior Ben Ferris, embarked on a mission trip to El Salvador. Ferris told one story that stuck out to him saying he met a man who “was walking down the road and passed out due to an overdose. He was run over multiple times, breaking multiple bones.” He then went on to say that, “the only reason he is alive is because of God’s mercy and love.”

Ferris also spoke of an autistic boy from El Salvador. Due to the lack of resources or education, people don’t know how to support those with autism properly. This boy’s parents would tie him to a tree during the day, so he couldn’t hit anyone.

Ferris also met a lady in a little town called “The Tracks” who had lost everyone in her life other than one of her two sons. She had trash all throughout her house and could barely move around, but Ferris says she was one of the happiest people he has ever met. She showed him “that even in bad situations, it isn’t hard to happy, grateful, and kind.” These mission trips show that through any hardship, joy can be found.

Alumni Janel Galvanek, former cross country member and vice president of the theater club, said, mission trips have “taught me hard work.” Her experiences with mission trips influenced her work ethic and also future endeavors. In Galvanek’s senior year of high school, she met a German foreign exchange student who came to the high school. They became best friends., and Galvanek jokingly says she “blames” her for convincing her to move to Germany.

After teaching in Austria for two years, she moved back to Germany to attend college and get her masters in Peace Research and Security Policy. Galvanek calls her work “peacebuilding work” instead of humanitarian, and her main focus is Africa. Galvanek’s work has essentially changed her life, and she wouldn’t change it for the world.

No matter where a person goes, acting as a light in the world by giving of themselves through missions is bound to be a unique and life changing experience. 

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About the Contributor
Laci Nease, Editor
Born in Latrobe but raised in Greensburg, Laci Nease is the Public Relations Officer for Hempfields' National English Honors Society, Secretary for Project 18, Editor for Journalism, and is apart of a youth mentor program involved through Wendover Middle School. She fills her life with work, friends, and family. When she is not taking photos for the Hempfield football team, Journalism, and Mini-THON, Laci enjoys hiking with her friends and family at Ohiopyle, playing dominos with her grandparents, and working two jobs- so she can start saving for college. If Laci is not working one of her two jobs and is not at school, then she is most likely at the gym learning about her mental and physical health, or she is digging through her closet to find clothes, shoes, and other accessories to sell and donate. In future years, she hopes to go to college to get her bachelors degree in accounting and finance and her associates degree in communications.