Virginia Tech freshman and Louisa native Sarah Seay had no idea what a profound impact her recent trip to Honduras would have on her.
“I’ve never had the opportunity to go on a mission trip,” she said. “So when the opportunity was presented to me, I just felt really called by the Lord to participate.”
The Louisa County High School graduate is one of over 200 college students who participate in New Life Christ Fellowship at Virginia Tech.
Every year, students in the campus ministry are able to visit unique places for mission trips, although most places are a lot closer to home. When Seay heard there was an opportunity to go to Honduras, she was eager to learn more.
Like a lot of college students, she didn’t have $1,500 sitting in her savings account to pay for her trip. She had to make her call to action clear to family, friends and her congregation at Journey Church Central Virginia in Gordonsville.
“I didn’t end up having to pay a penny out of pocket,” she said. “The community blessed me.”
Seay was one of 13 students from the campus ministry who traveled to Danli, a city of about 200,000 people in Honduras in early March.
While there, the students spent much of their time helping an association of churches, Great Commission Latin America, which has strong ties with many churches in the United States. Among the students’ projects was to help people find the association by putting up signs and
other wayfinding information in the local community.
Another activity was working with middle-school age children in the local secondary schools. Seay and her peers split up in teams and entertained the children with skits, crafts and games as a way to offer fellowship to their new friends. The students also visited hospitals and an orphanage to spread the message of faith, even when communicating was a challenge. Local translators helped bridge the language barrier.
“Before going, I never really thought about the impact the trip would have on me and the rest of the team,” said Seay. “We all went with the mindset that we were going there to do things for others. But what the community did for us was so much more than I could ever imagine. “I experienced joy and peace on a level I didn’t expect. It was very humbling.
“There were no distractions there. The culture is so different, where everyone welcomes you with open arms and you’re just surrounded by this community that’s faith-based or not, with people who are intrigued and ready to listen to whatever you have to say and genuinely care about you. It was just totally different than what I thought I was going to experience,” she said.
The campus ministry is planning to go back to Honduras next year, but Seay doesn’t know yet if she’s going to be able to return, given the cost.
Seay’s mother was worried about her daughter traveling out of the country, especially amid the coronavirus pandemic. But the trip went smoothly.
“Honestly, I think it was a blessing,” said Seay. “One day I woke up and the power in the whole city was out. We were like, ‘What? How are we going to do anything?’ But life in the city didn’t skip a beat. Schools opened and everything. Coming back and seeing everything in America was kind of like a slap in the face. We take so much for granted.”