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Senior twins go on first mission trip in Haiti

Anna Quigley, Fall 2017 J1 student

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For most people in Blue Valley, it’s easy to forget that things like running water, air conditioning, toilets and ice are luxuries. Being in a first world country, we’ve had access to these things since since we were born, but others in the world aren’t so lucky.

Seniors Kate Boerger and Jake Boerger had an eye-opening experience after their first mission trip in Haiti.

Kate and Jake had to prepare mentally and physically to go the third- world country. Mother Beth Boerger said Kate and Jake had to take repercussions before traveling to the third world country.

“They had to get a lot of vaccines and take special pills so they could help in Haiti without worrying about getting a disease,” Beth said.

Kate and Jake landed in Haiti after a long flight, and although they were aware that it would be very different from the “bubble” they lived in, they were shocked by the environment of the Haiti airport. “People were automatically begging and touching and wanting to take your luggage because they know

you’ll tip them” Kate said.

Jake also mentioned feeling a ‘culture shock’ when he first arrived as well.

“I got to the exit of the airport and people were shoving and fighting to take my bags to the bus which was extremely overwhelming.” Jake said. “Not to mention, I could immediately feel how much hotter it was there, and it stayed that way the whole week.”

The mission group then drove to a small community in Haiti. Jake said just looking around at the situation the Haitians lived in changed his perspective about the world.

“We got to the village and there were no houses, no infrastructure.” Jake said. “There were concrete huts the people lived in, and

the only real building was the church.”

Kate said her purpose for going on this mission trip wasn’t just to give the Haitians material help but to provide gifts that would last long after they left.

“We didn’t want to just establish a give-take relationship, but help them build a relationship with God and let them know that God is there for them,” Kate said. “This is especially important for them because of the horrible things they endure.”

An average day for the mission group members consisted of a lot of religious work.

“We get up and eat breakfast, then we have prayer time, then we get on buses and head to the church site where we’ll do VBS (vacation bible school) with the kids,” Kate said. “Then in the afternoon we do bible study with the women and men, and then go back to the hotel and reflect.”

Not only did the Boergers’ mission group encourage and teach about religious faith, they also made personal connections with the people of Haiti. Jake’s most memorable part of the trip involved interacting with the children.

“I’ll never forget when I was playing basketball with the kids,” Jake said. “That moment was very

special because before that we had only communicated through translators because of the language barrier, but we were interacting and connecting playing basketball without even having to speak.”

Kate described the Haitian culture to be different than America’s — it’s a culture that puts others before themselves.

“I was sweating so much during a church session because it was over 100 degrees, and a [Haitian] woman standing next to me was fanning her baby in her arms.” Kate said. “She noticed I was struggling with the heat and she stopped fanning her baby and started fanning me, smiling at me. I have so much respect and love for these people because of the way they look out for each other and even strangers.”

Kate said she will never forget this moment, and it was one of many impactful interactions she had on the trip.

Jake said he and his twin sister will continue going on mission trips in the future because “it’s an amazing experience to see the change we made in [the Haitians’ lives] and the change they made in ours as well” Kate said. “I’ll definitely continue going on mission trips.” Jake said. “In fact, we are going on one this January back to Haiti and this time our mom is coming, too.”

Kate and Jake said their perspective on their own lives and of the rest of her world has changed forever, and they want to keep learning about the world.

“It’s something I think everyone should experience,” Kate said. “There’s no better feeling than helping and making connections and learning from people that are different from you.”

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