Church: Neillsville – Living Hope Youth Mission Trip to Guatemala (July 2019)

Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon

Surnames: Wilke, Kapusta, Glaze, Gingerich, Rhode, Drinka, Smagacz, Ratsch

----Source: Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark Co., WI) 4/24/2019

Neillsville Youth to go on Mission Trip to Guatemala (July 2019)

People from Living Hope Church in Neillsville plan to go on a mission trip to Guatemala in July, including some high school students. Those going on the trip include (front, l-r) Jay Wilke, Penny Wilke, 12th grader Isabella Kapusta, Carol Glaze, Janalee Kapusta, Annie Gingerich, (back) Kevin Rhode, 10th grader Skylar Drinka, Dean Glaze, Amanda Smagacz and 10th grader Kayla Ratsch. Tayler Rhode (not pictured) will also go on the trip. Submitted photo

By Valorie Brecht

Three Neillsville youth will have the opportunity to serve others while engaging with another culture.

This July, the young people plan to travel with a group from Living Hope Evangelical Free Church in Neillsville on a mission trip to Sumpango, Guatemala. During the weeklong trip, they will be working with an existing ministry to develop a property that will be used as a training and retreat center for pastors.

Although this is the eighth year the church is sending a group to Guatemala, it is the first time in a few years that several young people are going on the trip. Twelve people total are going on the trip.

“I enjoyed helping out with Serve Clark County and so I wanted to help out in this way,” said Skylar Drinka, a 10th grader who will go.

Serve Clark County is an outreach done by Living Hope Student Ministries every year in which the students spend a week completing various service projects throughout the county.

The Guatemala trip will be Drinka’s first time outside of the country.

“I heard from the people that came back [from Guatemala] every year and wanted to be a part of what they were doing,” he added.

The team from Living Hope will work with a ministry called Impacting Guatemala Network (IGN), started by Oscar and Karla Chiquito. According to its website, it is “an interdenominational movement of Evangelical churches committed to developing disciples of Christ that impact the whole country of Guatemala.”

IGN has three objectives. The first is to help with strategic planning for the local church. The second is to provide leadership development, biblically equipping leaders to accomplish the church’s mission and vision. The third is to help churches partner and network with each other.. IGN serves more than a hundred evangelical churches from different denominations throughout the country of Guatemala.

During the time that the group from Living Hope will be there, they will be doing manual labor like moving rocks to prepare the building site for the pastor’s training center. They will also assist with Vacation Bible School at Grace of God Church in Chimaltenango in the mornings.

Amanda Smagacz, who has gone on the trip in previous years and is going again this year, said that as much as it’s been a blessing to serve others on the trips, she has also learned a lot herself.

“It is a very different mindset there,” she said. “It’s taught me about living within my means. The people there are happy with very little. They’re not as materialistic, yet very happy.

I carry some Guatemalan coins in my wallet to remind me when I’m thinking about spending six dollars on a sandwich, for example, how the money could go that much farther there.”

She said that Guatemala has a much more relaxed view of time than the U.S.’s schedule-driven culture.

“It helps me slow down [going to Guatemala],” she said. “I’m a teacher [and] a graduate student; I help out at church, I’m constantly going. So, when I get there it’s like I can actually stop and ‘Oh I have an hour, what should I do?’”

She also said it’s a more relational culture than the U.S. and that people aren’t as distracted by technology. She said people there spend a lot of time in conversation with each other; for example, the women all talk to one another as they gather around a pool to wash clothes.

Drinka is looking forward to seeing what he will learn from the trip.

“I hope it will help me understand more of a different culture,” he said.

Kevin Rhode, Student Ministries pastor at Living Hope, said he is excited for the teens who are going on the trip and how it will impact them.

“A lot of the kids here haven’t been outside Wisconsin, so it’s a great opportunity for them to get out and see more of the world and see God work in a new way or maybe hear Gog speak to them in a way they wouldn’t have heard here in the U.S.,” he said.

The trip members have been meeting regularly in preparation for the trip. They appreciate prayer support leading up to and during the trip.

The team is also seeking financial support. It costs about $1,500 per person to go on the trip.

Those looking to give financially will soon have an opportunity to do so. There will be a spaghetti supper fundraiser Friday, May 3, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at living hope Church, 7 South Fairground Avenue. A freewill offering will be collected. All the donations raised will go towards the students going on the trip.

People may also donate by mailing a check to the church and indicating “Guatemala” in the memo line. For more information on the mission trip, contact the church at 715.743.2471.



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