Spring Break Mission Trips

Students, Faculty, and Staff Volunteer in Peru and Belize

By: Hilary Nieland

Volunteers pose in the new orphanage building.

As winter quarter finals came to a close in March, several students were packing their bags for short-term mission trips. Two international mission trips took place during spring break in Peru and Belize where students helped orphans, provided medical care, and distributed medical supplies.

Seven students participated in the Peru trip. Volunteers flew to Pucallpa, a city northeast of Lima, where they worked in medical and dental clinics. They also distributed medications in conjunction with Blessings International, a company that makes medications for the purpose of mission work.


Locals were seen individually by a doctor, Guillermo Gow-Lee, who enlisted the help of student volunteers. Steven Haddad, a junior pre-med student, spent his time shadowing the doctor and helping him diagnose patients. One experience that stands out in his mind was making friends with a small boy in the clinic who was crying because his brother was getting shots. After conversing for several minutes in Spanish, he calmed the boy down and reassured him that the shots were for his brother’s own good.


Another group of WWU faculty, staff, and students traveled to Belize to help with the construction of a new orphanage. Twenty volunteers spent the week just outside Belmopan, where they painted, tiled, landscaped, and installed a roof. Currently, almost 80 orphans are housed in a 4,800-square-foot building. The new building will be approximately four times larger. After working on the construction site in the morning, students were driven to the current orphanage where they spent one-on-one time with the children.


Leoni Herrera-Gillham directs the orphanage and is affectionately called “Mama Leoni” or “Mom” by the children in the home. During her time at King’s Children’s home, “Mama Leoni” has raised more than 650 children. In addition to those who volunteered for the week, there are two long-term WWU student missionaries, Rachel Coon and Carly Fredrickson, currently serving at the orphanage. Kelsey Wheeler, a WWU student also served at the children’s home but has recently returned for spring quarter classes.

Published April 16, 2013

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