West End Group Takes Mission Trip
West End Presbyterian Church sent 10 youths and seven adults this summer on a "life-changing" mission trip experience to Chetumal, Mexico.
The West End church has a long sister church relationship with the Ichthus Presbyterian Church in Chetumal, which is in the state of Quintana Roo, along the border of Mexico and Belize. The relationship goes back almost a decade.
"Our mission trip to Mexico changed my life by creating a stronger bond between God and myself," said Doug Clark, a recent Pinecrest Senior High School graduate who is now a freshman at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. "It also opened my eyes to how fortunate we are here in America and how much we take for granted. I hope all young people are given the opportunity to partake in this extraordinary event in the future."
The 10 youths and seven adults spent each morning at the church, building a ramp. This involved mixing concrete by hand, pouring a foundation of rock and dirt, and building walls of concrete block and cement filler. The ramp will provide access to a second story sanctuary.
Members of the Ichthus church worked alongside the West End Presbyterian group, which also led a Bible School for approximately 90 children each evening. The WEPC youth group led games, taught handbells, put on a puppet show, and taught arts and crafts during the Bible School.
"Simply put, mission trips are life-changing," said John Wilson, of Seven Lakes West, who was one of the adult participants on the trip. "They give us countless opportunities to see and experience things in a way that we could never have imagined.
"One short week in Mexico equals ramps built, crafts created, lots of wonderful Mexican food, much laughter, many tears, lots of games and worship services," Wilson added. "All of these were amazing, but the relationships formed between the team members and the people of Chetumal -- that's priceless."
The group also visited historical sites in the area, the beach, and marketplaces.
West End Presbyterian Associate Pastor Chip Pope said, "The youth and adults on this mission team worked extremely hard all week, from building the ramp to leading Vacation Bible School each evening. However, just as important as the construction, the teaching and the singing was the amazing relationship our youth built with the youth from Chetumal. Along with the new relationships, was a new understanding of what it means to be brothers and sisters in Christ."
Those who went on the trip prepared for months in advance. Besides preparation meetings and orientation sessions, the WEPC youth held a yard sale and spaghetti dinner and silent auction, which were supported by the church's congregation and the local community.
The young people making the trip were Doug Clark, Wes Huddleston, Emily Kline, Charlotte McDonald, Logan McDonald, Ali Miriello, Michael Pigg, Sienna Shute, Karen Smith and Allie Van Vliet.
The adults included Holton Easter, Sandra Easter, Chip Pope, Noreen Sawyer, Anna Stevens, Archie Stevens and John Wilson.
West End Presbyterian is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The church is located on Knox Lane, one block south of N.C. 211.
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