By Ellin Youse
Although they may have been primarily focused on the guacamole, the students gathered in Benes Room C last Wednesday were supporting the Love and Hope Ministries’ efforts to assist dispossessed children of El Salvadore.
The Love and Hope Ministries hosted its “Taco Fiesta” luncheon Nov.28 to raise money for their annual mission trip to El Salvadore as part of a Chaplin’s Office Spring Break Mission Trip.
Six students will travel with David Eastman, assistant professor of religion, and Lisa Jackson, assistant to the president/secretary to the Board of Trustees, the advisors for the trip.
Each year the group travels to the Love and Hope Children’s Home, founded by Cleveland native Rachel Sanson in 2003 after visiting Nejapa, El Salvadore with her church in 2001. The home houses around 20-30 children.
In past years, students visited the original home in Nejapa, but in September 2012 the home relocated to Los Planes de Renderos to better serve the needs of the children.
Once in El Salvadore, the mission team will work around the house attending to everything from painting the home to building chicken coops.
Senior Katie Jacob is the team leader for next semester’s trip.
An active participant in the Love and Hope Mission Trip since her freshman year, Jacob said the Children’s Home is dear to her heart.
“The home provides a loving environment for kids who would probably be living on the street without it,” Jacob said.
“The kids call the woman who founded the home ‘Mamacita’ which in Spanish means little mother. I think this is a testament of the environment of the home. The kids love Rachel so much and she loves them so much that the children really view her as a mother.
“Rachel has given these children the life and love they deserve, a life and love that all children deserve.
“I truly admire Rachel and all of the people who work in the Home and I feel blessed to have been able to take part in the ministry of Love and Hope Children’s Home.”
Junior Laurel Fuller has participated in two mission trips in the past, but will be traveling to El Salvadore for the first time this spring.
“I was very excited to be selected to be a part of this incredible group,” Fuller said.
“I think that this cause is very important because I believe we are all global citizens and have a responsibility to help when we are able.”
Jacob said because the opportunity to participate in the mission trip program is part of the reason she decided to come to OWU, they are the most important and influential experience of her college years.
“Meeting kids and playing with them is easily the most rewarding part (of the trip),” Jacob said.
“They have taught me a great deal about myself and the world.”
Fuller also said the children are the most exciting aspect of the trip.
“I love to see the enduring impact of service in a person’s life,” she said.
“We are going to be working closely with the children of the home and I am excited to see the positive change that will result in their life from being given the opportunity to succeed.”