After the 2010 earthquake ravaged the country, missions and volunteer work have been important in the recovery effort.
John Uldrick, the minister to students and missions at First Baptist, saw the importance of helping rebuild in Haiti and was among the adults who attended and organized the trip.
“This was the most intense mission trip I’ve been on to date, but our church community got involved with these students who had to raise money to pay their way for their trip,” he said.
The group worked alongside Conscience International, which requires groups to raise their own money before coming over for a mission.
“Students would get spiritual partners to donate $200 and come to meetings to get to know the kids better,” Uldrick said of the fundraising effort. “They’d take a special interest in these kids. It was a great way to form intergenerational interaction between adults and teenagers who wouldn’t normally cross paths within the church.”
Becky Matthews was the only junior who went on the trip, and she said she found the experience in Haiti rewarding.
“I had a good idea what a third world country was like, and being among it was life changing,” Matthews said. “It was hard. There were times where it was uncomfortable, but there weren’t times where I wanted to leave. It was worth it.”
The mission included numerous building projects and what Uldrick called grunt work.
They got to see and work on houses in each stage of the completion process. Uldrick said many of them cost only $4,000 to build.
“It was hard work but incredibly rewarding, and we were exhausted in the end,” he said.
On the way back many of the kids were using their various social networks to plug in about their time on their mission.
“Some of the kids were tweeting and using Facebook to update their status as soon as they got into a reasonable range to do so as a way to decompress and do what teens do,” he said. “One of the kids was discussing the joy the Haitians have regardless of their different circumstances and told me that it’s time to be more appreciative of what we have because we don’t know how good we have it in America.”