Local students travel to Guatemala for mission
Former Hills-Beaver Creek graduates Brent Kramer and Heather Esselink traveled on a mission trip to Guatemala with a group of like-minded friends. The team helped build a church in a Mayan village near Semuc Champey. The photo above shows the group on the first day of building. The photo below shows the building progress on their final day in the village. They are pictured with church and community members who helped them during the project.

In November the community came together to help fund a mission trip for two former Hills-Beaver Creek graduates.

The students, 2010 graduate Heather Esselink and 2009 graduate Brent Kramer, traveled to Semuc, Guatemala, for 10 days in December.

During their time in a rural Mayan village in the northern part of Guatemala they helped build a church and visited an HIV orphanage.

 They traveled with four friends from college and two translators before meeting up with Pastor Emmanuel.

Pastor Emmanuel was leading a church plant in the community, and the group from South Dakota State University was there to help.

They spent five days building the church, along with help from local community and church members.

On their final night in the village the new church held its first service. One of the travel companions, Andrew Carmary, a nephew of former FCA adviser and H-BC teacher Tom Goehle, gave the message during the service.

After traveling back to Guatemala City, the group met a missionary named Betty who teaches English at an HIV orphanage.

At the orphanage they spent the afternoon and evening playing with the children.

For their final outing they attended the church of their translators, Davis and Sara.

For Heather Esselink it was an experience of a lifetime.

“Some of my biggest highlights were the first church service in the newly built church, all the community kids we came to love and know, and our touching experience at the orphanage,” she said.

She also was inspired by getting to watch a TOMS shoe giveaway.

TOMS is an American-based shoe company that vows to give a pair of shoes away for every pair of shoes they sell.

“On Sunday afternoon they happened to be giving TOMS shoes to all the community kids right where we were building the church,” Esselink said. “We were able to witness many of these children get shoes for the first time.”

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