Students Build Kindergarten Classrooms on Spring Break

By Jonathan Watts on September 17, 2007

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A group from Pacific Union College spent their spring break building kindergarten classrooms for the Adventist school in Guamuchil, Mexico. Participants included nine students from Pacific Union College: Katty Fernandez, Leslie Giang, Vonnie Lee, Bryan Loh, Arnold Magbanua, David Self, Joni Self, Debra Teo, and Michael Wong. They were joined by four other young people: Cherish Erickson from Park Rapids, Minnesota, Stephen Kim from Sacramento, Michael Lowe from Ventura County, and Noelle Smith from Kona, Hawaii. With the students were sponsor Beverly Helmer, associate dean of women at Pacific Union College, and contractor Charles Goodwin from Middletown, California.

The purpose of the mission trip was to build two large kindergarten classrooms for the Adventist school in Guamuchil, which had expanded so much since it was built in 1994 that the kindergarten classes had been forced to meet in the Adventist church across the street. During their 10-day trip, which lasted from March 20-30, the group built the cinder block walls for the classrooms and installed steel trusses for the roof. The roofing, plastering, and painting will be completed by Maranatha workers in Mexico.

The mission trip was sponsored by Short-Term Missions, one of Pacific Union College's student-run outreach programs. This is the second trip Short Term Missions has made to Guamuchil; during last year's spring break, twelve Pacific Union College students, their sponsor, and a student from Loma Linda University worked with local Adventist church members to build a church in the city. The church members urged the students to come back to build the new classrooms. "They were really excited, always encouraging us and saying 'you should come back,'" said Deb Teo, a senior biochemistry major who organized both trips.

Guamuchil is a medium-sized city located about five hours northwest of Mazatlan. According to Teo, there are five Adventist churches strategically placed around the city (many of the people do not have cars), and the total membership is roughly 1000. During the trip, some of the lady church members cooked the group's meals and took care of them. "They were like our second moms. They totally took care of us," said Teo.

The Guamuchil Adventist school now enrolls approximately 250 students from both the elementary and secondary levels. Many of the students are non-Adventist. As Teo points out, "It is quite an outreach ministry."