Lending more than just a helping hand

First Presbyterian Church of Naples youth group helps build houses in Mexico during their summer break

For most high school students, this past summer break was spent away on vacations, working or hanging out at the beach. However, this past summer, Amor Ministries — an organization that brings students out of the country on a mission trip to build multiple homes for families — took high school and young college students on a trip that forever changed their lives.

A group of 45 people from Naples arrived in Rosarito, Mexico, on June 12, 2011.

“We stay at what they call a campsite. It’s a flat piece of land out in the middle of nowhere in dirt and we sleep in tents and pretty much rough it the whole time we’re there,” Monty Richards, director of youth ministries at First Presbyterian Church of Naples, said about the temporary living area the group stayed at.

Amor Ministries’ focus on the trips for those who attend is to show participants the conditions of poverty in different countries and to build houses for families who live in shacks, which are typically just scraps that are put together to make some kind of shelter. Amor Ministries finds the families that will receive the newly-built homes and then the teams filled with students and leaders go and build the houses. Pastors from churches all over the area in the countries where the Amor teams travel to interview, select and refer the families in need of a home to Amor.

“All the people who get a house must own the land or be paying on the land; they can’t be squatters,” Richards said.

Nathan Jones, a senior at Naples High School, described the trip as a once-in-a-lifetime trip that changes anyone’s life. On the trip, Jones found himself appreciating everything he had back at home because so many people have absolutely nothing in Rosarito.

“Kids play with stones and sticks and they are happier than most kids here and we can just turn on a faucet and water comes out,” Jones said.

“We built three houses; one of them was a double, so it was like building four,” Richards said about the team’s accomplishment on this past trip.

The reward of finishing the houses in four days and seeing the families’ faces is something Jones will never forget about his trip. Jones has been on a total of three trips with Amor Ministries and without hesitation said he would “of course” go on another trip.

Clayton Weigel, a student at Edison State College, who is 20 years old, has been going on trips with Amor Ministries since he was 15 years old.

“The motivation every year to get the houses done is seeing the look on these people’s face when you’re done,” Weigel said. “On the last day that we’re there, we’re in the house with them (the families) in a circle, we’re holding hands and we pray for them in Spanish and in English and we give them the keys to the house and usually there is a lot of tears.”

Throughout the trip, giving and sharing with others doesn’t stop after a hard day’s work of building houses.

“Each one of the kids does a journal every day; they are writing about their day or experience,” Richards said.

Most of the students who go on the trip had sponsors from First Presbyterian Church of Naples who contributed $600 toward the trip's expense. Each student put together a journal with pictures from each day of their trip and after they returned, they surprised their sponsor with a day-by-day booklet from their trip.

© 2011 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Comments » 0

Be the first to post a comment!

Share your thoughts

Comments are the sole responsibility of the person posting them. You agree not to post comments that are off topic, defamatory, obscene, abusive, threatening or an invasion of privacy. Violators may be banned. Click here for our full user agreement.

Comments can be shared on Facebook and Yahoo!. Add both options by connecting your profiles.

Features