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Springville locals spend spring break at work in Jamaica

CHECK OUT THE NEW DIGS — The Anderson family of Jamaica received a new house from Springville volunteers, this Spring break.

SPRINGVILLE — Instead of spending their winter break from school going to the mall or hanging out with friends, Abby Roy, Lauren Manchester, Kayla Haberer and Melissa Haberer, all juniors who attend Springville Griffith-Institute High School, went on a trip to Jamaica and changed one family’s life. In the process, they experienced an entirely different culture than what people have, in America.

With the help of their Springville First United Methodist Church Mission Team, the girls were able to build a house for the eight-member Anderson family, in a matter of one week.

“I went on the Jamaica mission trip to try and help people who are less fortunate than I am. Many people in third-world countries are not blessed with the same luxuries that I have, like electricity and running water,” Roy explained. “I wanted to try and help in the smallest way. So, when I heard that there was a mission team going to Jamaica to build a home for a family of eight, I was thrilled to help with the building of their small home. Our mission team was there for one week, where we built a house around 240 square feet, which is smaller than most peoples’ garages.”

“When I set out on this trip, I had no idea what I was getting myself into,” Melissa Haberer added. “Together, our church and others in the community donated clothing and toys to give to the family. When we got to the site where we were to build the house, we got to work right away. What was amazing was how many teens, adults and children showed up to help paint, build and even just watch in awe.”

IT’S OFF TO WORK WE GO — The Springville First United Methodist Church Mission Team spent Spring break in Jamaica, doing volunteer work.

“The hope of one day going on a mission trip quickly became a reality, when I found out our church was going to Jamaica in February. Our mission team had received a rough agenda of our week, but I never could have planned what was to come,” said Manchester. “Many of the people of Jamaica had such a strong faith, and their dedication and passion towards their family and church was truly inspiring.”

Kayla Haberer spoke of how this trip was different than any other. “To see that strong of faith in adults and children who have so little just fills you with joy, to be able to be around such amazing people.”

In addition to the house they constructed, the girls said the relationships they built with some of the locals is something that will be long-lasting. “My favorite part of this trip was interacting with the people and children. They’re so full of life and happiness,” Roy described. “They tell us how they feel blessed by God and they praise him for all he’s given them. This definitely impacted me greatly, because I have so much and sometimes I forget to thank God for his many blessings, and here these people are praising God for what little they have.”

Melissa Haberer said she had a similar experience. “Even with how little the people in the community had, they gave their whole hearts into praising God. It was inspirational,” she said. “Even if the kids had never met us, they would come up to us and hold our hands, hug us, talk to us and a lot loved to play with our hair.” The S1UMC Mission team dedicated the house to the Anderson family on Feb. 20. They also presented the family with a wooden cross, the Bible on CD and keys to their new home.

“When we dedicated the house, the family was in tears, thanking God and our church for their kindness,” Roy recalled. Kayla Haberer said she was deeply affected by the trip.

“I would go back in a heartbeat, because the feeling of being able to help people through Christ is a feeling unlike any other,” she said. “You can really feel the Holy Spirit all around you. That’s what I love.”

“I will never forget the children whose smiles and hugs showed such genuine happiness. I am confident that God had a plan to bring this group together, to make this mission trip a success for all,” Manchester said. “I have been blessed more than I can express by the people and my experience in Jamaica and I will now always remember to thank Jesus for all the blessings we take for granted, as Americans,” Roy said.

“This trip showed the grace of God in every direction we turned. It was amazing and I hope to go back again,” said Melissa Haberer.

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