Students give back with Mexico Mission trip


An example of the living conditions that one of the families we worked next to had to live in. Stray dogs were commonplace in the homes visited on the trip. “The families that were living in the worst conditions stood out the most to me, and seeing how happy they were after we helped was very satisfying,” Paulson says.

Emily Lodahl


Over spring break, the students of Trinity Lutheran Church traveled to Chuburna Puerto, Mexico to spend the week having an impact on a community in need. Each year approximately 65 students and 15 adults go to serve Jesus in Mexico by building roofs on homes, leading a bible school for children of the community and building relationships with the Mexican people and one another.

Tom Thiets is the Director of Missions Ministries at Trinity. He has been organizing it for 30 years. Kelsey Mahns is the youth minister who is in charge of the trip. Thiets decided that Chuburna Puerto, Mexico was an important location to make a difference.

“We had partnerships with other local ministries and the need of the people was great in this location. Also the availability of meaningful and significant work for our team instead of busy work was important,” explained Thiets.

Senior Amanda Wolf has been going on the Mexico Mission trip for two years. “One of the primary reasons I chose to go again this year was because of the impact that we have on the families down in Mexico. They are so grateful for everything that we give to them. Families living in surrounding communities and neighborhoods would walk to our worksites and thank us for doing the work we did and I just thought that was so cool,” Wolf said. “It wasn’t even their houses that we were working on, but they still were so grateful of our contributions to their community.”

Life for these families is far from the comfortable lifestyle of Stillwater. “The importance of our mission trip is to give families in need a safe place to live. Often the families of Chuburna and surrounding cities may not have a secure roof. They often times have tar paper roofs which will not hold up in a storm. We give them a safe place to live,” Wolf explained.

The mission group worked hard every day. “We would wake up around 6:30 or 7 a.m. , depending on if it was your groups turn to make breakfast or not. We would then either walk or load the buses to make our way over to the work site. Our large group split up into many smaller ones, and typically we would do three homes in the morning, have lunch, and then do three more homes that afternoon,” junior Christina Bartingale said.

Wolf added, “We built 16 roofs, one of which was a church project that took us nine plus hours on the Saturday of our trip.”

In addition to building churches and rebuilding parts of homes, the mission group enjoyed some camaraderie with the locals, spirituality and teaching. Wolf said, “On Sunday we held a vacation bible school event at our camp sight and invited families from the surrounding community to come. We fed around 200 locals lunch and another senior and I acted out the bible story, Noah’s ark and we also had tons of arts and crafts for the kids to do!” The annual trip is always rewarding and uplifting.

Thiets said, “Missions has provided me an opportunity to utilize both my gifts of management, leadership, trade skills, while connecting my faith to my life. Missions HSS also blessed me with the opportunity to serve alongside the wonderful students of the valley. These future leaders demonstrate that there is a bright future ahead.”

Wolf added, “This trip has changed my life in ways I can’t exactly explain but it definitely has shown me that life isn’t all about material things and that often the happiest people are those who make the most of what they have.”

The mission volunteers have experienced life changing events and encourage others to join. “I would recommend someone to go on this trip because it is honestly such a life changing experience. The stories that you have coming back from Mexico are ones that you’ll never forget and the impact that you have on the families down there is most certainly never forgotten,” Wolf said.

The Mexico Mission trip is truly an experience of a lifetime. The whole time they are experiencing Jesus through hard but rewarding work, amazing times of worship, relevant life teaching, fellowship and community.