Huntington, Ind.—After spending a night in the airport on the way to Peru and a few more on the way back, some might think the stories of airport horrors would be the focus of the Huntington University mission trip team. But the group doesn’t want to focus on the 60-plus hours spent in the airport. They want to focus on what they did and learned.
Dr. Norris Friesen, vice president and dean, along with Dr. Luke Fetters, associate professor of ministry and missions, and student leader, junior Anna Grace Jeter, an English education major from Findlay, Ohio, took a team of 13 students to Peru over spring break.
“I got involved with this trip because of Anna Geivett, a former student and former close student worker with me who had been president of Global Vision for two years, is the short-term teams coordinator in Peru with Food for the Hungry,” said Fetters. “Dr. Friesen and I decided that it would be interesting to have a group from Huntington University be one of her first groups. So in fact, we were the first short-term group that she hosted and led on her own.”
Senior David Nearpass, youth ministries major from Lansing, Ill., pours concrete for a soccer field in Peru.
The team spent five full days working with Food for the Hungry. During their time on the outskirts of the capital Lima, the team worked along Geivett, a 2005 graduate, Food for the Hungry and community leaders to construct a soccer field that will host community meetings as well as the favorite pastime of Peru, soccer.
During their time in Peru, the team was involved with craft time for children during the day and also youth and teen outreach at night. “The kids were great. I couldn’t talk any Spanish, except a little bit I know, but [the children] still kept coming back. We would pull in, and they would be right there. They just really wanted attention and love,” said senior Ben Thompson, an instrumental performance major from Covington, Ind.
During the day the team also visited homes of local Peruvians.
“The generosity and the sacrifice of the people touched me so much. We did home visits while we were there with specific families and brought them bags of gifts. These people make 2 to 4 U.S. dollars a day,” said Jeter. “They would give us one soda that costs 1.50 U.S. dollars, which would be a huge sacrifice for them. It’s not about what they gave but the fact that it costs them so much to do that, and that just really challenged me.”
“I learned a lot about how God works, despite me. The fact that here at Huntington University, I like to talk and make to friends, but down there I couldn’t do anything or any kind of contact, and basically, I was helpless. But I was still ministered to,” said Thompson. “[God] can still work out stuff and work communication without me knowing anything.”
“For me one of the high points was seeing students that I have invested in as a professor watching them accomplish something cool in a cross-cultural context,” said Fetters. “It was really fun watching them do that.”