Members of Trinity Church fly to El Salvador for volunteer work

img_6868The traditional spring break was approaching and families started planning their trips to the mountains of Colorado, beaches of Mexico, Florida, the Bahamas and other venues warm and cold. Meanwhile, basketball fans started to plan their NCAA brackets, picking the teams they feel are most likely to come together in a tough environment to rise to the top of the NCAA this year.

In the face of these great options, what did Trinity Church do? An unlikely combination of both, with a meaningful twist thrown in, spending a week in a hot, dusty environment building houses for with a team of people, for the benefit of families they had never met.
Members of the church’s congregation hope that you too will think about joining a team for the experience we had at some point in your near future.

The team consisted of 19 members of the Trinity Church congregation. The trip was organized by Trinity Lutheran Church.

The volunteer group was made up by Mike and Betsy Taylor, Jeff and Vicki Brink, Tina and John Gabos, Brayden Cadwallader, Kathi, Bob, Kristie and Amie Tunheim, Resa and Chris Larson, Emily Skogseth, Lauren Hanson and Katrina Rinke and our team leaders Jerry Paulson, Melanie DeLuca and Shawn Cadwallader from Trinity.

Key sponsors for the trip included Thrivent Financial and Habitat for Humanity. A significant portion of the costs were paid by anonymous donors and Thrivent, with the balance paid by participants.

After flying to El Salvador, the team went to Santa Ana. It was a diverse group with many backgrounds; professionals, students, teachers and more. Following orientation, the team went to the two worksites where they were to help build earthquake resistant homes for families in need.

Instead of laying on the beach drinking Pina coladas, the team spent a week hauling cinder blocks, digging septic tanks by hand, painting and pouring concrete. At night, exhausted, hot, dirty and hungry, members returned to their hotel for a couple of beers and dinner, then early bed to recuperate and prepare for another day.

The relationships the team developed and the contributions that they made to those who needed them the most created a kinship that a week on the beach could never accomplish.

In addition to building homes, team members delivered a lot of school supplies contributed from friends at the church, the schools and community that will be changing the lives of dozens of people.

After spending long days, working in a challenging environment the team developed relationships that would not have been otherwise possible with families, workers and peers with shared beliefs. The common purpose and mission created friendships based on a trust impossible in any other environment.

That rapid development of deep, caring relationships with members of the family is something members of the team have rarely experienced in life.

If you are looking for an opportunity to spend time with your teen, who may be going off to college, or an empty nester looking to reestablish friendships with likeminded people, or an individual searching for purpose or adventure, this is worth looking at.

They say reentry from a trip is tough and until you live it and the team agrees.

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