A mission trip to Africa is an experience of a lifetime. For the Presbyterian Church of the Big Wood in Ketchum, it's more than just a trip—it's giving back to a struggling community in Ndola, Zambia. It's also a time to visit a part of the world that's growing and changing.
From June 30 through July 14, eight adults and 12 kids will travel in Zambia in partnership with Northrise University in Ndola for Impact Ndola. The group will serve in several capacities as part of a construction team or a medical team. In addition, church member Cindy Kirk will travel to Ndola as part of a women's ministry team, which several participants in the group will also serve on, at the Mapalo school for orphans. Kirk's 14-year-old daughter, Isabel, is also on the mission.
"I want to go because I've never been on a mission trip and I would like to help people," said 19-year-old Sam Schwab, a Wood River Fire & Rescue volunteer. "I want to help provide better medical care."
Other team members include 26-year-old Kevin Jones. Jones said it will be a great opportunity to go to Africa, especially to appreciate what he has here in the U.S.
Members of the Presbyterian Church of the Big Wood have traveled to South Africa, Brazil, India, Mexico and Canada and throughout the U.S. to do mission work.
< "For me it's an opportunity to build a relationship with Northrise University to offer the church the chance to serve another part of the world," said Sean Martin, Presbyterian Church of the Big Wood's director of youth ministries.
The group's trip will also include a visit to Victoria Falls and Botswana to break up work and add some play to the mission.
The cost of the trip per person is $4,500, which members raised on their own through bake sales, car washes and a Super Bowl raffle. In addition, donations toward the mission have allowed the trip to occur.
Adult leader Jerry Mitchell is a retired dentist who is going to volunteer his time, as are retired builder Elmar Grabher, who is trip participant Trent Avery's grandfather, retired pediatrician Bart Adrian and Chris Peck, head of radiology at St. Luke's Wood River. Peck will be joined by his daughter Alex. Martin's son Joey is also traveling on the mission.
Other members going to Ndola include Tori Emerick, 15, Nathan Landino, 17, Paige Landino, 15, James Petzke, 17, J.T. Sutton, 18, and Sean Sutton, 18.
"I'm going with my dad," said Alex Peck. "He's going to help out at the hospital. It's my last hurrah before going to college at Seattle University."
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