Central students from both Whirlwind (Middle School) and Storm (High School) participated in mission trips this summer. Matt Action, Director of Student Ministries, and other adult volunteers were on the trips.
Ten Storm students spent a week in Nogales, Mexico at Cuirim House in June, 2023. Central Presbyterian Church, friends, and families financially supported the students. Here are some student reflections from the students on the mission trip.
The trip inspired me to be more grateful for the things I owned. Being able to drink cold water, bathe in warm showers, and being able to choose what I wanted to eat everyday and even have food delivered to my house are all privileges that the people of Nogales (and many others) don’t have. Even my dog has the privilege of having cold water to drink. This trip also deepened my passion for helping people, and I’m now very eager to go on more missions trips or even start volunteering locally because it feels great to make a difference in someone’s life.
Some of the most impactful moments of the trip were when I was interacting with the residents of Nogales. Despite our limited experience mixing concrete and the massive language barrier, the locals were extremely understanding and caring. Playing card games with the local teenagers during Siesta, while slightly difficult to get started, was very fun. Lastly, seeing the children, who have lived their lives in such a poverty stricken area, smiling and laughing along with us was especially inspiring.
The biggest way that my faith deepened during this trip is the growth of a conviction that even if I have doubts and don’t completely believe, I still want to stay in the community of other Christians and try to work toward belief. The moment that particularly stuck with me was the night when a local came to Curim house in order to lead worship. He had recently broken his arm so couldn’t play the guitar like he was used to. Throughout the time in Chapel, everyone prayed for him and we all sung together. The feeling of being in a small room full of people worshiping together was really special. After Chapel was done, I sat on the patio for a long time looking over the lights of the city and thinking about faith. That night, I laid with my flashlight and wrote myself a note to not give up on my faith and to always remember that moment. Overall, the trip gave me an appreciation for just how much good one can find in life. It was a good change to see how much joy could be found in circumstances that were very rough compared to what we are used to. One particular thing that I found positive was the constant work with our hands. Since I have gotten back from Curim, I have tried to build something every day. While I have not managed to do something every day, it has been good to get away from everything else and create something.
Honestly, it was really easy to see our work have an impact on the community and the kid’s lives. The Kids Cafe is a really important place in the town of Nogales, especially for the kids. It’s a place to eat, to learn, to connect, to have joy, and to be safe, and the concrete wall we made is protecting it. And the kids knew that too. They were always ready to grab a shovel or a bucket and help us mix, build, whatever it was. They helped us not only because of the place they were protecting, but also because they had so much fun doing it. Whether or not we were working, there was laughter, and everyone was having fun, and this made my time there so fulfilling.
I really liked the flow of our day while we were in Mexico. When we came back to Maryland, I made a note to set multiple alarms on my phone throughout the day to pause and make time for God. I want to try to get more into the pattern of praying often and being grateful for the things I have instead of only focusing on what I don’t have or what isn’t going my way currently.
The kids always had a positive attitude around everyone and they expressed their gratitude all the time to us. and even though we were serving them, they would help mix our concrete, serving us. It was so inspiring to be able to see their kindness and joy, knowing their living conditions and family situations. It all really was a wake-up call to be more grateful for what you have and to never stop spreading God’s love.